18/07/2020

William Wilkins

Most of this information can be found elsewhere on the blog but we do not appear to have a separate entry for William Wilkins (c 1752-1712), assistant to Beddome, c 1777-1795.
Apparently there is a Beddome letter from January 1778 that remarks that Mr Wilkins (Sen?) was not very well.
We mentioned that his attempt to woo Anne Steele's niece Mary Steele was a failure. In September 1776 William Steele Senior wrote to his his daughter from Broughton to Bradford where she was staying thus:
And now My Dear I have a Piece of intelligence to inform you of concerning my Daughter which is that I have a very genteel Letter from Mr W Wilkins junr of Cirencester expatiating on her amiable Qualities mental & religious & desiring my Approbation in paying his Addresses to her & hopes that on my being acquainted with his Views Connections Character & Circumstances they will not appear to his disadvantage, and that as a Subject of this Importance requires deliberation, I will when duly considered give him encouragement to visit Broughton &c. (Sep 11 1776)
Wilkins appears to have been a son of the manse. He originally trained in medicine but then studied for the ministry at Bristol Baptist Academy (c 1774-1777). Bristol Baptist College holds a letter from Wilkins to Benjamin Francis of Horsley, dated 10th January 1773, and Francis's letter to William Wilkins Snr. of Cirencester dated 9th February 1773. He may also have studied in Scotland.
Wilkins had three sisters, two of whom married sons of Beddome, Boswell and Samuel; the third married the business partner of Samuel Beddome, Hewitt Fysh. All had settled in London by 1797.
Wilkins himself married first Elizabeth (possibly Alice) North in 1779. She was a Presbyterian from Overthorpe near Banbury, Oxfordshire. She died May 8, 1798 in Bourton. He then married a Bourton girl Letitia Field (1778-1844) in 1800. There is a memorial to her in the Bourton on the Water church. Her parents were John Field (1719-196) and Ann Tidman Cromwell (1727-1797).
After his time in Bourton he supplied at Stow and Naunton, 1792-4; was in Cirencester, 1794 and by 1811 was minister in Stow-on-the-Wold.

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