Welcome to the Fletcher Page[For links to recently added content to the Fletcher Page, click HERE]
If you have arrived at this page, it is probably because you share an interest in the study of John Fletcher (1729-1785) and/or Mary Bosanquet Fletcher (1739-1815), two prominent leaders of the Evangelical Revival in the eighteenth century.
Despite the significant roles the Fletchers played both individually and jointly, their lives have received little attention compared to their evangelical contemporaries such as John and Charles Wesley (and the Wesley family more generally), George Whitefield, and the later Evangelicals like Hannah More, William Wilberforce, and others. Neglect of scholarly attention to the Fletchers, however, is not due to a paucity of manuscript or other historical sources, and perhaps it is in fact the overwhelming abundance of primary source material that has put some researchers off this area of study for so long. Indeed, the papers written by and about them form the single largest collection in the Methodist Church Archives, composing forty-three boxes of journals, diaries, sermons, spiritual reflections, poetry, correspondence, biography, and documents related to their involvement with the Church of England and its Methodist manifestations in their respective localities (prior to their marriage), and particularly in the Shropshire parish of Madeley, a place of no small importance in the early phases of British industrialisation.
In recent years scholars have shown a renewed interest in the Fletchers and their household, delving into the Fletcher manuscripts in the Methodist Archvies and other repositories, examining a range of themes and topics (often overlapping) including religion, gender studies, social history, theology, and politics, among others. The Fletchers provide particularly fertile soil for such studies for a variety of reasons, not least of which remains the records they left behind which chronicles not only their respective religious experiencs, but their involvement in a network of contexts. Acknowledgement of this culminated in a recent scholalry conference dedicated to the study of the Fletchers centred upon the theme 'Religion, Gender and Industry', and convened in the Fletchers' shared geographical context--the historical parish of Madeley in the Ironbridge Gorge (now three separate ecclesiastical parishes). Many of the papers presented at the conference are to be published in the coming year, bringing together some of the best and most recent Fletcher scholarship, and offering a spring board for further studies.
It is with such a 'spring board' for further developing and encouraging Fletcher studies that this website has been created. While there are numerous fragments of information regarding the Fletchers which have been made available via the internet on websites ranging from family and genalogical studies to disappointingly brief and less-than accurate wiki articles to more academically oriented websites which have made some of the previously out-of-print sources available, there has not until now been a site devoted to providing a resource base for studying the the Fletcher's, their lives, ministries, theologies, and the contexts in which these developed. This site aims to be that resource. A brief explanation of how this page came about more specifically can be found on our About Us page.
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