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Thompson, Martha (Mrs Whitehead)
c. 1731-1820

A young Preston girl who in 1750 went into domestic service in London. She came under the spell of John Wesley's preaching at Moorfields and found new life in Christ. Her constant singing of Isaac Watts's words, 'And will this sovereign King/Of Glory condescend?' caused her master and doctors to believe she was suffering from religious mania. She was committed to Bedlam, where she wrote to John Wesley. He sent doctors to investigate; she was discharged and cared for at the Foundery. Later she accompanied Wesley on his journey north. She was counted as Preston's 'first Methodist' and was instrumental in forming the first class meeting there. Her story was dramatized in the musical Ride! Ride!


  • John Taylor, The Apostles of Fylde Methodism (1885) pp.8-17
  • Maldwyn L. Edwards in WHS(N. Lancs) Bulletin 1 pp.4-7

Entry written by: EWD
Category: Person

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