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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Susanna Wesley

b. 1669, London; d. 1742, London

The twenty-fifth child of the London preacher Samuel Annesley, Susanna married Samuel Wesley, also a clergyman, in 1688. Samuel was a poor provider and frequently moved his expanding brood—nineteen children in all—until settling at a rectory in Epworth in 1697. Susanna took the children’s religious education in hand, running a school out of the rectory that was attended by many of the locals. She wrote meditations and scriptural commentaries for her own use; these and her correspondence (published in 1997 by Oxford University Press) reveal a woman of remarkable intelligence and theological insight. Two of her sons, John and Charles Wesley, became the founders of Methodism.