Anne Dutton: An Eighteenth Century British Evangelical Woman Writer -- By: JoAnn Ford Watson

Journal: Ashland Theological Journal
Volume: ATJ 30:0 (NA 1998)
Article: Anne Dutton: An Eighteenth Century British Evangelical Woman Writer
Author: JoAnn Ford Watson


Anne Dutton:
An Eighteenth Century British Evangelical Woman Writer

JoAnn Ford Watson

Dr. Watson (Ph.D. Northwestern University) holds the Gill Family Chair in Theology at ATS.

This article is presented to Dr. Jerry Flora with deep gratitude and thanksgiving in honor of his affirmation of women in ministry. Specifically significant is his appreciation for the women faculty, staff and students of Ashland Theological Seminary. We appreciate his support of women’s contribution to the service of Christ and his church.

Anne Dutton, whose maiden name was Williams, was born in 1695 at Northampton, England. She was converted at age 15 and joined the Church of Christ in Northampton, under the pastorate of Mr. Hunt. Under his pastorate, she was given training in Bible, religion, and musical hymnody. At the age of 22, she married Mr. Cole. When he died, she then married Mr. Benjamin Dutton, a Baptist pastor. In 1733, they settled at Great Gransden, just west of Cambridge, England.1

In 1743, after about 10 years of marriage, Mr. Dutton went on a trip to America. On the return trip, the ship went down and he drowned. Anne Dutton never remarried and remained at Great Gransden until her death in 1765. In June 1998, I had the opportunity to visit Great Gransden and to see her home and grave site in Great Gransden. She is buried in the garden of the house. Her house was used as a meeting house for the congregation before the present Baptist Church was built. In 1887, a stone to Anne Dutton’s memory was erected in the present church.2 Her gravestone states that she wrote 25 volumes of letters and 38 other published works.

Anne Dutton became well-known throughout England for her letters and correspondence. In 1887, Mr. James Knight of Southport, England, erected the memorial stone in her honor in the present Baptist Church at Great Gransden. He issued a volume of her Letters. At his death it was reported that he gave nearly a complete set of her works to a Baptist Chapel near Southport.3

In her Autobiography, October, 1740, Anne Dutton writes, “The Lord opened a door for me to write many letters to the Methodists and likewise blessed them to many souls.”4 She came in touch with John Wesley, George Whitefield, and William Seward in the early years of Evangelical Renewal in

England. It is estimated that her spiritual letters filled twenty-five printed volumes. Rev. J.A. Jones of London in 1833 states, “Her ...

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