Phelps, Mary Jane (nee Maslin) (1852-1912)

Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by T.G.

A little while before dawn on Tuesday, October 15th, Mary Jane Phelps, without anticipation of death, passed into the light. A native of Ramsbury, Wilts, for several years she was a schoolmistress in the locality, and in 1871 married Rev. T. Phelps. She was a woman of remarkable parts. Into the home she breathed a fine feeling, and by her tact, devotion and bright companionship exerted an influence that will scarcely be diluted by her translation. To husband and children alike she was a wise and loving comrade. 

Her character gained strength from her sagacity, high moral sense, and an infectious humour. She loved her God, her Bible and her Church with her whole heart. The mystical side of religion had a powerful attraction. The Bible was a constant companion, together with the devotional poets. To get a little deeper into root meanings in the New Testament she mastered the elements of the Greek language. 

As a minister’s wife she won to an unusual degree the love of the people, especially of the poor, the sick and the aged, among whom she moved in a tender, sympathetic ministry. She believed in winning the children for Christ, and some she led to decision now occupy important posts in the Church. Her passing brought evidence of a rich harvest in this field. A minister’s wife, who has a class of eighty women, wrote:— “It was through her influence that the desire to be of use was first developed in me.” The loss is a heavy one for the husband, son and two daughters. 

The interment took place at Wolverton, on Friday, Oct. 18th. Rev. T. Whitehead conducted the memorial service, in which Revs. W. G. Spencer, G. Cuzner, J.A. Foster, N. Boocock, A. Clarke and S. Cheshire took part. On the following Sunday evening, Rev. W.A. Hammond paid tribute to her gracious disposition and service in the Church.


Mary was born on 3 November 1852 at Ramsbury Wiltshire, to parents William Vickers Maslin, a master cordwainer (1851), and Maria Comport. She was baptised on 12 December 1852 in the  Marlborough Wesleyan Methodist Circuit, Wiltshire.

She married Thomas Phelps (1852-1924), a PM minister, in the summer of 1879 at Hungerford, Berkshire. Census returns identify three of four children.

  • Wilfrid Maslin  (1880-1948) – a chemist’s assistant (1911)
  • Grace Eleanor (b1885) – a certificated teacher (1911)
  • Alice Margaret (b1885) – a schoolteacher (1911)

Mary died on 15 October 1912 at Wolverton, Buckinghamshire.


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1912/993

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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