Southcott, Joanna

Born on 25 April 1750, the daughter of William Southcott, farmer, of Gittisham, East Devon. She worked in a shop and in domestic service in Honiton and then in Exeter, where she worshipped both in the cathedral and in Methodist services. In 1792 or 1793 she formally joined WM 'by divine command'. At Easter 1792 she made a confused statement in a class meeting about providential guidance. This was not well received. At her sister's home in Plymtree she wrote rambling prophecies and returning to Exeter broke with the Methodists. But she continued to regard herself as loyal to the Church and continually sought the clergy's approval of her claims. In her role of prophetess she gathered supporters, some of whom formed congregations, with chapels and preachers. In 1801 she began printing her works and wrote at least 65 books. Moving to London in 1802, she claimed to be the mother of the Divine Child 'Shiloh', but died at the time of the expected birth. She died in London on 17 December 1814.

  • E.P. Wright, A Catalog of the Joanna Southcote Collection at the University of Texas (Texas, 1968)
  • J.K. Hopkins, A Woman to Deliver her People (Texas, 1982)
  • Frances Brown, Joanna Southcott: the woman clothed with the sun (Cambridge, 2002)
  • Oxford DNB

See also

Entry written by: RFST
Category: Person
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