If John Fletcher, the 18th-century Vicar of Madeley, Shropshire, is known at all today it is usually as the outstanding saint of early Methodism and as John Wesley's presumed successor. The publication of these letters, to John and Charles Wesley, Lady Huntingdon and George Whitefield, challenges existing understandings and points to his considerable importance within the breadth of the English Evangelical Revival. Many of his surviving letters have never been published; those that have were often heavily edited. Many of his letters to Charles Wesley originally in French are given with a translation. This critical edition, with extensive footnotes, will bring significant primary material to its readers and be an indispensable tool for studies in 18th-century religion and the history of Methodism as well as of early industrial Shropshire. An introductory essay by the editor challenges the notion that Fletcher was first and foremost a dogmatic writer. He points to his 'Methodist' reputation being 'spun' by Wesley and others whereas Fletcher saw himself as an Anglican clergyman.
The essay also points to Fletcher's formative Swiss origins and French influences, as well as to his mixed fortunes with women and how his saintly character developed over time.
Peter Forsaith lives and works in Oxford where he is Co-ordinator of the Methodist Studies Unit, Oxford Brookes University.