Wesley, Mehetabel (1697–1750)

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Wesley, Mehetabel (1697–1750)

Sister of John and Charles Wesley . Name variations: Hetty. Born in Epworth, England, in 1697; died in London in 1750; eighth child of Samuel and Susanna Wesley; married William Wright (a plumber), in 1725.

Born in Epworth, England, in 1697, Mehetable Wesley was the eighth child of Samuel Wesley, a curate, and Susanna Wesley . Since Hetty was the most intellectually gifted child, her father took a personal interest in her education. She had a number of suitors, but the authoritarian Samuel found them all wanting and sent her to be a governess in the home of a wealthy landowner in Kelstern village near Louth, Lincolnshire. While there, she fell in love with a lawyer named William Atkins, and once more begged her father for permission to marry. Declaring the man "unprincipled," Samuel again said no. In May 1725, the couple ran away to London to elope, "but the honeymoon began a day too soon," writes Simon Appleyard. After promising to marry Hetty following one night of bliss, Atkins backed out, leaving her a "ruined" woman. Hetty Wesley returned home to the scorn of the town and her father's undying fury. In October, he married her off to the next suitor, a traveling plumber named William Wright. A baby was born four months later, but died before the year was out. The once-promising Hetty, who was now tied to an illiterate and hard-drinking man, was determined to be a good wife. She had three more children, all of whom died young. According to Hetty, the deaths were caused by the lead fumes from her husband's workshop. For the rest of his life, her father forbade the entire family to have any contact with her. When Hetty died at age 53, only Charles Wesley attended the funeral.


Appleyard, Simon. "The Family World of the Wesleys," in This England. Winter 1984.

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Wesley, Mehetabel (1697–1750)

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