Murray, Grace (Mrs John Bennet; née Norman)

She was born in Newcastle upon Tyne on 18 January 1715 (or 1716). In 1736 she married Alexander Murray, a sea captain who died at sea six years later. She was converted in 1739, after hearing both John Wesley and George Whitefield preach, and joined theFoundery society in London. After her husband's death in 1742, she returned to Newcastle, became a class leader and in 1745 housekeeper at the Orphan House, where she met John Bennet, one of Wesley's preachers. Both men were nursed by her during periods of illness. In the summer of 1749 she accompanied Wesley on one of his preaching tours in Ireland, where they contracted a marriage de praesenti, a form of betrothal. Bennet had also proposed marriage to her. After a long period of hesitation on Wesley's part and increasing bewilderment on hers, she was finally persuaded by Charles Wesley to marry Bennet in October 1749 and bore him five children. After his death in 1759 she settled at Chapel-en-le-Frith and took an active part in the local Methodist society, continuing to lead meetings for prayer and fellowship. She died at Chapel-en-le-Frith on 23 February 1803 and was buried with her husband in the graveyard at Chinley.

  • W. Bennet, Memoirs of Mrs. Grace Bennet (1803)
  • Methodist Recorder, Winter Number, 1902 pp.21-32
  • Augustin Leger, Wesley's Last Love (1910)
  • Frank Baker in London Quarterly and Holborn Review, Oct. 1967 pp.305-15
  • J.C. Bowmer in WHS Proceedings36 (1967-68) pp.110-11
  • Maldwyn L. Edwards, My Dear Sister (n.d.) pp.33-38
  • Geoffrey E. Milburn, The Travelling Preacher: John Wesley in the North East (1987) pp.47-56
  • S.R. Valentine, John Bennet and the Origins of Methodism and the Evangelical Revival in England (Lanham, MD, 1997)
  • Gary Best, A Tragedy of Errors; the story of Grace Murray (2016)