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Kirkham family

One of the four earliest members of the 'Holy Club' was Robert Kirkham of Merton College, son of the Rev. Lionel Kirkham of Stanton, Glos. He became his uncle's curate and disappears from the records. He introduced John and Charles Wesley into the family circle, including his oldest sister 'Sally' Kirkham, nicknamed 'Varanese' and she may have been the 'religious friend' whose influence caused him to become more serious in 1725. Through them he also came to know the neighbouring Granville family, including the future Mrs Mary Pendarves ('Aspasia'). The circle of friends indulged in cultural dalliance. If, as seems likely, John Wesley was in love with 'Varanese', then her marriage to the schoolteacher Jack Chapone was the first of his disappointments in love.

Sources

  • Luke Tyerman, The Life and Times of the Rev. John Wesley MA (4th edn., 1878) pp.1-4
  • G. Elsie Harrison, Son to Susanna (1937) pp.55-84
  • V.H.H. Green, The Young Mr. Wesley (1961)

Entry written by: JAV
Category: Person

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