Hannah More to William Wilberforce

The Vicarage of is in the gift of the Dean of Wells; the value nearly /£/50 Pr. Ann: the Incumbent a Mr. Rabone, (I dont know whether I spell his name right.) he has something to do, but I cannot here find out what, in the University of Oxford, where he resides. The Curate lives at Wells 12 Miles distant They have only service once a day, and there is scarce an instance of a poor person being visited or prayed with.

Hannah More to William Wilberforce

The Living of is in the gift of the Prebendary of in the Church of Wells; the Annual Value about /£/50. The name of the Incumbent Gould, about 60 years of age; the Prebend to which this Rectory belongs, is in the Gift of the Bp of Bath and Wells. Mr. Gould is drunk about Six times a Week /has kept a Mistress in his House/ and very frequently /is/ prevented from preaching by the black Eyes got by fighting – Mr. Rabone is a middle aged man of his character they know nothing. The Curate a sober Young Man [letter ends abruptly]

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, 23 August [1815]

But to return for one moment to your Bible Gala – How I should have delighted to have made an unworthy guest at this hallowed festival! What did your Neighbour say to your muster roll of Peers and Peeresses? What honour would he have done himself by joining it! A propos of Bible Meetings – Our excellent Bishop of Gloucester rode over one broiling Morning to invite P. and I to spend the week at Wells and attend a B. Meeting at of which he is President. I should have liked it much but we were to /expecting/ Wilberforce at home, who after all never came till it was over. I regretted it the less as the Assembly met in the Abbot’s Kitchen of that vast and venerable ruin; which was damp and dreary.* What a contrast between the good cheer once proposed on this now deserted spot and the holy purpose to which it was on this day dedicated! Tho my own health has rallied much from the dry Atmosphere of this pleasant Summer, I have declined all visits, but believe I must go next week to the two Bishops at Wells if P. is better. Her health I fear is declining, and she thinks /ill/ of herself. I pray God to avert this blow. In spite of all my endeavours to avoid it by giving no invitations, and returning no visits, we are sadly overdone with company but as every body is gone or going to * I suppose we shall live to pine in Solitude

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, 13 December [1815]

We had a visit lately from my excellent friend the Bp of Gloucester who is raising the tone of religion in as he has done at Wells.

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, 27 March [1817]

Our dear Bishop – need I say of what see? breakfasted with us yesterday in his way to the great Missionary Meeting at , for which he preaches to morrow* and has half promised to take us in his way back to Wells. He talks of not returning thither for a year, which cuts off our hope of meeting! I must not complain however, as he is going to what is more decidedly his post. I fear he will be worked to death. 7 Charity Sermons during the next Month, he is to preach in !

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, 27 August [1816]

The Bishop and Mrs. Ryder have very cordially pressed us to go soon to them, but notwithstanding all my bragging just now, I feel as if I should not [v]isit [tear] any more but be satisfied with seeing my friends at home. For tho I am tolerably well myself, my Sisters are but poorly, and we h[ave] [tear] not slept from home since this time twelvemon[th] [tear] when we were at Wells. George Sandford told me that the Bishop had invited him to meet you there, and that Mrs. R. who knows that her house and beds, have limits said, ‘he has asked ten already.’ Dont mention this. She doubtless wished to keep the party smaller and more select.

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, 25 [September 1816]

Your absence alone from a party which had for sometime been looking forward to you as its principal charm and delight would have been no small cause of regret, but how greatly is that regret aggravated by knowing that vexatious and painful anxiety kept you from us. I cannot express to you how lively an interest I take in every thing that concerns You, more especially if the occurrence is of a nature to give you uneasiness. I do earnestly, and have earnestly prayed that it may not be of a severe or permanent kind. When the excellent Bishop &c &c arrived without you you cannot imagine what a blank we felt; but greatly was the disappointment to me augmented when he put your kind Note into my hand. You may depend on my silence as well as on some that of the Bishop who is a Man of the most delicate feelings added to his other virtues; I hope you have seen his Charge it is a very fine one, quite Apostolical.* He had ugly corners to turn and he turned them with much dexterity. He made his own breakfast and quitted us at seven in the morning in order to preach two Lectures on that day twenty Miles from hence, and seven or eight from Wells to which he was to return at Night. His labours are wonderful, and he bears all the obloquy and reproach which they bring upon him from certain quarters, with great meekness and equanimity. On the other hand he is almost adored by the religious party and I believe has added to that number many converts.