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Persistent preachers, 1807–1907
Author: Jennifer Lloyd

A response to the prominent Methodist historian David Hempton's call to analyse women's experience within Methodism, this book deals with British Methodist women preachers over the entire nineteenth century, with special emphasis on the Primitive Methodists and Bible Christians. The book covers women preachers in Wesley's lifetime, the reason why some Methodist sects allowed women to preach and others did not, and the experience of Bible Christian and Primitive Methodist female evangelists before 1850. It also describes the many other ways in which women supported their chapel communities. The second half of the book includes the careers of mid-century women revivalists, the opportunities, home and foreign missions offered for female evangelism, the emergence of deaconess evangelists and Sisters of the People in late century, and the brief revival of female itinerancy among the Bible Christians.

Abstract only
Jennifer Lloyd

Christians, found that one of their defining characteristics was their unusual number of women preachers, and a new research agenda was born.2 It led me on an adventure that took me back to Cornwall several times, to Exeter (where I went to high school), Bristol, Oxford, Manchester, and Shebbear, the Bible Christian homeland, where Mary O’Bryan Thorne’s gravestone records her birth on the farm and her fifty-six years of ministry. Eventually my research expanded beyond the Bible Christians to include the Primitive Methodists and other Methodist women preachers. My sources

in Women and the shaping of British Methodism
Jennifer Lloyd

suggests that their subordination was not a major factor in the high turnover of women preachers. Nineteen percent of Primitive Methodist women preachers but only 5.5 percent of men dropped out in the year 1831 to 1832. In the years 1837 to 1839 ten Primitive Methodist men and ten women gave up itinerancy; proportionately this represented only 11 percent of men but 53 percent of women.170 Between 1819 and 1829 fifty-four women began preaching in the Bible Christian Connexion but forty-two (78 percent) left, a net gain of twelve. In contrast, over the same period ninety

in Women and the shaping of British Methodism
Jennifer Lloyd

led them to rejoin the Wesleyans in 1837. Betsey continued to preach locally, with the permission of her superintendent, until four years before her death in 1848.6 Betsey Evans’s experience illustrates the opportunities and difficulties facing Methodist women preachers in the period between Wesley’s death in 1791 and the mid-nineteenth century. She began her preaching career when women preachers were still tolerated by Methodist leaders, but soon found her activities criticized, attacked, and eventually curtailed in an increasingly conservative Wesleyan Methodism

in Women and the shaping of British Methodism
Jennifer Lloyd

:2 (1894), 225. APMM 81:4 (1900), 295; 83:3 (1902), 221; 83:6 (1902), 416; 83:7 (1902), 334. PMM 74:7 (1894), 630; APMM 80:8 (1899), 628. E. Dorothy Graham, ‘Two Primitive Methodist women preachers,’ PWHS 55:5 (2007), 50–5. Primitive Methodist Leader, 28 February 1907, 7 March 1907. Lenton, ‘Labouring for the Lord,’ pp. 74–7; Vicinus, Independent Women, p. 81. Graham, Chosen, p. 289. Digest of the Rules, Regulations, and Usages, p. 91. Bible Christian Minutes 1902, president’s circular 1902, 9; Bible Christian Minutes 1903. Currie, Methodism Divided, p. 87. Bible

in Women and the shaping of British Methodism