Mallet(t), Sarah (Mrs Boyce)
c. 1764-1846

A native of Loddon, Norfolk, she became a member of the Methodist Society there in her teens. In her early twenties, she began 'preaching' whilst apparently unconscious, suffering from a series of fits. Shortly after this, the fits ceased, but she continued to preach, first in the preaching-house in Long Stratton controlled by her uncle, and then throughout South Norfolk. She met John Wesley three months later; he was convinced of her call to preach and over the closing years of his life they corresponded frequently. In his letters Wesley advised her about her preaching style, and gave her encouragement and support (including an offer of financial help to assist her as she 'travelled up and down'). With his approval and that of the Conference of 1787 she was given written authorization to preach – which no other woman received.

After Wesley's death she married Thomas Boyce, a local preacher, in 1793. She continued preaching after the 1803 Conference prohibition of female preaching, and the death of her husband in 1813. In her latter years she and Martha Grigson were companions, travelling together to preach. She preached widely throughout East Anglia, and also in London and Birmingham. Her last recorded service was in October 1841, representing at least 55 years preaching.

  • John Wesley, Journal, 4th December 1786
  • John Wesley, Letters, vol. 8
  • Arminian Magazine, 1788, pp.91-93, 130-33, 185-88, 238-42
  • Fletcher-Tooth Correspondence (Methodist Archives Centre)
  • Z. Taft, Biographical Sketches of the Lives and Public Ministry of Various Holy Women, vol. 1 (1825)
  • John A. Vickers, 'Long Stratton's Woman Preacher' in Eastern Daily Pess, 21 August 1961
  • David J. East, My Dear Sally:the life of Sarah Mallet, one of John Wesley's Preachers (Emsworth, 2003)
  • David J. East, '"Lightly esteemed by men": the last years of Sarah Mallet…', in Methodist History, vol.42 (2003-04) pp.58-63


See also

Entry written by: EDG
Category: Person
Comment on this entry