Batchelor, Mary (néeTwiddy)

The daughter of the Rev. Thomas Twiddy (c.1778-1838; e.m. 1806), she was born at Bradford-on-Avon on 27 May 1813. She was 'the first recorded single Wesleyan Methodist woman to have gone overseas as a missionary' (Pritchard, p. 148). She went in 1841 as a teacher to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) with the Ladies' Society for Promoting Female Education in China and the East, since the WMMS did not then send single women overseas. In 1842 she married a widower, Peter Batchelor (1809-1881; e.m. 1837) from Dundee, who had been a lay missionary with the CMS Press in Madras before serving as a WM missionary in India (1838-1854 and 1857-1862), in the Crimea (1856-1857) and in South Africa (1862-1875). Mrs Batchelor opened a girls' day school in Negapatam and in 1858 her request for women teachers to start a boarding school prompted what in time became Women's Work. On their return from South Africa, she served on its Committee. She died at Niton, IoW, on 1 February 1892.

  • William Moister, Missionary Worthies 1782-1885 (1885) pp.375-77
  • P.M. Webb, Women of our Company (1958) pp.24-31
  • Methodist Recorder, 24 August 2000
  • John Pritchard, 'Women's Work: Mary Batchelor to Murial Stennett', in Norma Virgoe (ed.), Angels and Impudent Women: Women in Methodism (2007) pp. 147-66