A transcription of Mary’s obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine is attached. It describes in some detail her conversion and ministerial experience. her role as a female itinerant id described in the following paragraphs.
“View a solitary female travelling town and country through, preaching some five times on work days, and often three times on the Sabbaths, chiefly in the open air, visiting the poor in their dwellings, and sometimes the rich. Her dress is that of a quaker, she is under the middle size, healthy; her countenance beams with meekness and serenity, ruffians who literally tear off the coat laps of the men preachers allow her to pass, her very helplessness and innocency seem to awe their minds.
Another view. It is Sabbath morning, the clock has struck nine; she stands in Abingdon market place, a thousand people are before her, two or three police on each side of her. She makes her way to an adjacent village at half-past one, the gentry follow in their coaches, she preaches in the open air, makes her quarterly collection, at five o’clock preaches in another village, and when done retires with a few females to a distant village to rest.”
Her achievements in maintaining an effective preaching ministry after her marriage whilst bringing up a large family are remarkable.
Mary was born on 13 October 1809 at Motcombe, Dorset, to parents William and Anna. Her brother, John , was also a PM minister.
She married Richard Cordingley (1808-1888), a PM minister, in 1834. Census returns identify eleven children.
- Anna (b1835)
- John Moore (1838-1919) – a gardener
- Alice (b1839)
- Richard (1840-1843)
- Mary (1842-1853)
- Elizabeth (1845-1918)
- Edward Caleb (1846-1931) – a grocer and wine merchant
- Martha (1848-1921) – a dressmaker
- Phoebe Priscilla (1852-1869)
- Emily (1855-1926) – married Isaac Wesley Hadwen, a bootmaker
- Mirah (1857-1920) – a school teacher, married Joseph Sutcliffe, a teacher
Mary died on 7 April 1868 at Lancaster, Lancashire.
- 1831 Hopton Bank
- 1833 Shefford
- 1834 ceased on marriage
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1868/534
W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers