Anne Steele, Broughton, to Mary Bullock Steele, [Yeovil], 26 July 1754.
Your Letter my Dear Sister was a very agreeable favour, and the more kind as I had not wrote to you, which I ought to have done, I beg you will forgive the fault and believe me interested in your welfare and rejoiced at your safety—
I was impatient for the desir’d account to my Brother which did not reach us so soon as expected but the good news was welcome – this Letter I recd the 22. Polly’s Birthday when my thoughts and good wishes had been employ’d about her and her Mamma – may your pleasure increase with her growing years, but you must expect some painful Solicitudes – May we look beyond our Comforts to the Almighty Donour, and find in Him that invariable Felicity which the Creatures can not give – P[igeon]. House is now a solitary place, but I hope Providence will favour us with a happy meeting there again – my thanks are due to M.r Bullock & your self for the invitation but I don’t think I shall go so far from home this Summer – last week we had the pleasure of a visit from our Bath Friends Mr & Mrs Parsons, they are collecting asistance [sic] to build a meeting house, he preach’d here and is thought likely to be a useful Man my Brother was not at home but heard him at Portsmouth their conversation was very agreeable, I wish’d their stay longer, it was but two nights – My Brother was well when I saw him, he went yesterday to White parish we expect him at home to morrow – we all through mercy enjoy a good share of health at present, may this Blessing be continued to you – please to present to your Brother and accept yourself my Fathers & Mothers Compts with mine who am
Your obliged humble Servant and
Broughton 26 July 1754.
Text: STE 3/9/iv, Steele Collection, Angus Library, Regent's Park College, Oxford. No address page. For an annotated version of this letter, see Timothy Whelan, gen. ed., Nonconformist Women Writers, 1720-1840 (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2011), vol. 2, ed. Julia B. Griffin, pp. 283-84. Mary Bullock Steele is visiting her relations at Yeovil; her daughter, Mary Steele, is with her, having just celebrated her first birthday on 22 July. A group of Baptists had been meeting at Bath since 1744, when John Clark, a Baptist from Frome, and Robert Parsons, a member of the Baptist congregation at Broadmead, Bristol, began meeting in a room in Marchant’s Passage, Bath. During AS’s visit to Bath in May of 1751, she probably worshiped with this small group of Baptists. The next year, Parsons and several other members at Broadmead were dismissed to assist in forming a Baptist church in Bath. A few years later, a chapel was built between Southgate Street and Corn Street. Later the church moved to a new chapel in Somerset Street, and eventually to Manvers Street, where it has remained ever since. Robert Parsons was the first pastor and remained in that capacity until his death in 1790. Parsons had his own business, refusing to receive any remuneration during his tenure as pastor.