Collett, Elizabeth (née Tonkin)

She was born on 9 May 1762 in the parish of Gwinear, Cornwall. At an early age a religious outlook was fostered by dreams. At 16 she joined a WM class led by Ann Gilbert. In March 1782 she moved to Feock, where there was no Methodist society; so she arranged for preachers to visit the house in which she was staying. One evening, when the preacher could not come, Elizabeth was persuaded to preach, which she did reluctantly but effectively. The circuit superintendent, told of this responded by telling her, 'Well, Betsy, I did not open your mouth, and I will not shut it.'

She married in December 1785 and moved the following year to Veryan parish. Their home entertained both itinerant and local preachers. In 1800 they moved to St. Erme and when her husband built a chapel there in 1804, she preached at the opening. She corresponded with John Fletcher's widow, Mary Bosanquet. Her happy home life was reflected in her ministry, but in her closing years she suffered from an enlarged heart. She died on 26 July 1825.

  • Zechariah Taft, Biographical Sketches of Holy Women, vol.2 (1828) pp.115-39
  • Leslie F. Church, More about the Early Methodist People (1949) pp. 156-9