Glenorchy, Willielma, Viscountess

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An evangelicalCalvinist, born Willielma Maxwell on 2 September 1741. She married John Campbell, Viscount Glenorchy in 1761, through whom she inherited Taymouth Castle, Perthshire and Great Sugnall House, Staffs. Acquaintance with the Hill family of Hawkstone Park, Salop, introduced her to Methodism. In 1770, with Lady Darcy Maxwell, she rented St Mary's Chapel in Niddry Wynd, Edinburgh in 1770, with the ecumenical intention that services be held outside church hours by Episcopalian and Presbyterian ministers and Methodist itinerants in turn. The scheme predictably foundered on doctrinal grounds.

Following her husband's death in 1771, she devoted herself to promoting evangelicalism, chiefly by restoriing a chapel at Strathfillan, Tayside and building at Edinburgh (1774), Exmouth, Carlisle (1781), Matlock Bath (1783), Workington and Bristol (1786). Her financial affairs were found to be in some disarray, but it proved possible to complete Hope Chapel, Bristol. She died in Edinburgh on 17 July 1786. Most of her chapels became Congregationalist.

  • T. Snell-Jones, The Life of Willielma Viscountess Glenorchy (1822)
  • E.D. Graham, in WHS(S), 3 pp.15-20; 4, pp.13-17
  • Oxford DNB

Entry written by: MB
Category: Person
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