Reference to Beddome by William Steele in 1777

In a letter written from William Steele 1715-1785, brother of Anne, to his 24 year old niece Mary Steele 1753-1813 (who married Thomas Dunscombe but only in 1797) on Tuesday, September 9, 1777, Steele refers to a smallpox epidemic in Bristol that necessitates his returning to Broughton via Amesbury, He hopes to “see Stonehenge”. He mentions a rumour that Beddome's protege Mr [Nathaniel] Rawlings has been asked by Trowbridge Baptists to leave Bristol [or Broughton?] and return to Trowbridge as their preacher, working in the clothing trade with his wife's relations. He says that he met Mr and Mrs Bedome [sic] at Mr Norton's on September 8 and Beddome (by then over 60) preached at Broadmead on the Sunday morning (presumably September 7). He also describes Henry Kent who “has become so great a beau” in second mourning. The letter includes a postscript from “Amanda” [Miss Amanda Froud] to “Sylvia” [Mary Steele].
Robert Norton 1744-1808, was a Bristol clothier, married to Hannah Evans (1746-1807), daughter of Hugh and Sarah Evans. He was also brother-in-law to Thomas Mullett (1745-1818). Like Mullett who removed to London he would leave Bristol and the Broadmead Church for Nailsea to become a successful clothier and tobacconist. He was in business with John Heskins (1778-1838), who was married to a daughter of Benjamin Francis, and a son of Beddome's. His daughter Sarah Evans Norton Biggs (1768-1834) would become a friend of the poet Mary Steele and an acquaintance of the diarist Henry Crabb Robinson (1775-1867).

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