Catherine Leigh: Faithful Coadjutor

By Elizabeth de Réland

Supported by a Create NSW Arts and Cultural Grant – Old Parramattans & St. John’s Wesleyans


Holding tight to the pale, strained hand of the birthing mother in her care, Catherine Leigh, experienced midwife and coadjutor, bowed her head in silent prayer.[1] It had been a long labour and the risk of death for both mother and baby was significant. Maternal mortality was rife in this era, most commonly due to delivery complications or puerperal/childbirth fever; yet it was frequently met with indifference by the medical establishment of the day. In fact, deaths related to childbirth would not be recorded in a ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ registry in the colonies until 1855.[2] Despite being professionally trained in London prior to her departure for the South Seas and well acquainted with the risks at hand, Mrs. Leigh would require ‘grit’ to complete her task. Without the benefit of modern diagnostics or pain relief, and largely reliant on her own mettle and the resilience of the mother, she would need to persevere until a newborn cry signalled a happy ending to a very long day. Only then would she be able to give her fullest thanks to Almighty God and smile down at a new little Wesleyan.

Midwife

Nineteenth-century Midwifery, Midwife, Baby, Woman, Father, Mother, Assistant, Childbirth, Labour, Catherine Leigh, Wesleyan, Missionary, Missionary's Wife, St. John's Cemetery Project, Old Parramattans
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE. Frontispiece in William Salmon (aka Aristotle), The Midwife’s Guide: Being the Complete Works of Aristotle, (New York: Published for the Trade, 1845). Public Domain Mark 1.0. Courtesy of the Wellcome Library, London.

During her time in the colonies and bolstered by her studies in England under Lying-in Hospital matron, Mrs. Widgeon, Catherine Leigh helped many missionaries’ wives and the women of free-settler families to give birth in similarly challenging circumstances.[3] Her training in midwifery was a Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society (WMMS) requirement ahead of her departure to Australia and New Zealand with new husband, Reverend Samuel Leigh, and a small team of fellow Wesleyan Methodist missionaries via the Brixton in 1821.[4] Deemed a necessity by the London-based WMMS due to the remoteness of most overseas mission stations and the likelihood of expectant mothers needing to assist each other in areas devoid of additional care and dominated by atavistic birthing practices, the precautionary education given to Mrs. Leigh and other Wesleyan wives would prove invaluable.

Catherine Leigh was likely the first European-trained midwife to deliver babies in New Zealand, which included assisting at the births of several Church Missionary Society infants while their parents were stationed at the Bay of Islands in the early 1820s.[5] It is reasonable to assume Catherine’s midwifery skills were also employed during her years in Parramatta and Sydney, a period in which she held concurrent roles as a Sunday School teacher, a ‘lay’ (or ‘non-ordained’) leader within local Wesleyan congregations, and a pastoral visitor to the distressed and infirm. These tasks ultimately distinguished Catherine and her fellow mission wives as key contributors to the broader, early history of South Seas Methodism. Wesleyan women were its glue. Living, working, witnessing to their faith and birthing in environments underpinned by convictism, cannibalism and the harsh realities of colonial politics and moral lassitude meant that they prevailed against all odds, and with genuine courage.[6]

Coadjutor

Born in the village of Hanley in Staffordshire, England in 1781, Catherine Clewes was essentially a ‘country’ girl. Although little is known of her childhood and youth, she grew up in a farming region with early exposure to ‘dissenter’ religious movements arising from the Evangelical Revival, such as Wesleyan Methodism. She was also surrounded by the hallmarks of an exciting, new Industrial Age, including Staffordshire’s increased production sites for pottery, iron and coal.[7]

By the time of her marriage in 1820, Catherine was an accomplished homemaker and seamstress, and a woman with an exemplary reputation in Wesleyan circles. Described by her husband’s friend and biographer Alexander Strachan as a person with a ‘kindly and social disposition, unobtrusive manners and unaffected piety,’ contributions complemented those of her renowned husband Samuel Leigh (1785–1852).[8] As with many acquainted with her, the Methodist editor of the Sydney Gazette, Robert Howe, held Catherine in high regard. He described her as an ‘excellent woman,’ especially in comparison with a husband who appeared to Howe to be psychologically impaired or ‘diseased in the mind.’[9]

Reverend Samuel Leigh, Wesleyan Missionary, Wesleyans, Wesleyanism, Parramatta, Leigh Memorial Church, St. John's Wesleyans, St. John's Cemetery Project, Old Parramattans
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE. Portrait of the Reverend Samuel Leigh, around 1820, attributed to John Jackson (1778–1831). MOS2007/92; Museum of Sydney. Courtesy of Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection, Sydney Living Museums.

Reverend Samuel Leigh was the first Wesleyan missionary to Australia in 1815 and New Zealand in 1819. As one charged with establishing the Wesleyan ‘Arminian’ cause on the far side of the world, Leigh was a Christian pioneer in the ilk of most great pioneers: driven, obsessive, committed and brave.[10] He faced multiple dangers in the name of the cause, including during initial efforts for the Colonial Auxiliary Bible Society in the infamous ‘Rocks’ area of Sydney from 1817 — activities which had been carried out in partnership with Mrs. Elizabeth Macquarie and other religious and civic notables. He also spent three years riding a 150-mile-wide preaching ‘circuit’ in Sydney’s largely uncharted West, including the towns of Parramatta, Liverpool, Castlereagh and Windsor.[11] In surviving such hardships and facilitating a network of Wesleyan chapels and mission stations in Australia and New Zealand by 1823, Leigh had earned himself a place in the history of his denomination.

Catherine Leigh distinguished herself in similar frontier environments during her marriage. However, while her husband faced career-long criticisms of his leadership style and character, including a collegial accusation that he was a ‘weak and envious man,’ opinions on her contribution remained wholly positive.[12] As Strachan noted of Mrs. Leigh:

She was a person of good sense, deep piety, ardent zeal, and indomitable courage. In no circumstances, either by sea or land, amongst the civilized or savage, did she seem to be the subject of fear. When surrounded by tribes of armed cannibals, who waited only for a signal from their leader to transfix her with their spears, she always appeared calm, firm, and self-possessed. To Mr. Leigh she was an invaluable companion, a “Dorcas” to the widow and fatherless, and to the mission an indefatigable and successful co-adjutor.[13]

In the Bible, ‘Dorcas’ was a seamstress who ‘was always doing good and helping the poor’ by providing clothing and care for orphans and widows.[14] Widely considered a biblical figure of considerable worth, Catherine’s comparison with ‘Dorcas’ was indicative of the high esteem in which she was held, particularly by her fellow Wesleyans.

Catherine had much in common with other Methodist mission wives of her era, including Mary Lawry, Deborah Carvosso, Eliza Walker, Sarah Draper, Lucy Mansfield and Sarah Sweetman. Historian Anne O’Brien’s study of these and other Methodist women reveals that they were hardy, adaptable, multiskilled, crucial to their husbands’ efforts and involved at the very coalface of the movement’s efforts in evangelism and civic improvement.[15] Moreover, they were instrumental in forging Wesleyan relationships with indigenous and other marginalised groups throughout Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific. Mary Lawry’s interactions with emancipists and the poor in Parramatta in the early 1820s, in addition to her efforts at cross-cultural liaison in the Friendly Islands (Tonga) from 1822, were accompanied by Catherine Leigh’s close interactions with the Māori of New Zealand and her compassionate involvement with every strata of Australian colonial society.[16]

The success of women in the field was fully supported and, indeed, inspired by the tenets of Wesleyan Methodism itself. It readily utilised female members as ‘class’ or ‘small group’ leaders in most congregations and deployed bands of Methodist ‘sisters’—and ultimately ‘suffragettes’—throughout the nineteenth century in the struggle against intemperance, anti-sabbatarianism and the patriarchy.[17] Wesleyan women’s willingness to work hard and long in their chapels and communities also reinforced the denomination’s reputation for conscientious citizenship, good works and social inclusivity, including its early and somewhat radical acceptance of emancipated convicts into church leadership roles.[18]

Wife

Through their endorsement of civic obedience, personal moderation, family life and an adherence to strict temperance and sabbath principles, Wesleyan women were also key to the development and maintenance of stable and morally upright communities.[19] Although many aspects of Catherine Leigh’s life remain unclear to us, we know her community advocacy and religious conviction led her to follow her husband to the literal ends of the earth. As with many highly motivated and, commonly, single Christian women of the period, she wanted to express her ‘usefulness’ in any arena of missionary service—domestic or international—that would enable her to work hard, improve lives and win souls for Christ.[20]

As fate would have it, Samuel Leigh’s 1820 proposal to Catherine fell within a period of missionary readiness for her and emotional ‘burn out’ and loneliness for him. His four, mostly solitary years on the mission trail in Australia and New Zealand had culminated in a humiliating, failed attempt to win the heart of Parramatta-born ‘heiress’ Mary Hassall and a serious deterioration in his mental and physical health. This frailty became more evident after his involvement as ‘mediator’ in a dispute between Church Missionary Society (CMS) leaders in the Bay of Islands in 1819–1820, and would continue to impact his long-term ministry. Unsurprisingly, 35-year-old Leigh returned to England a broken man, simultaneously carrying the weight of a falling-out with his Parramatta brethren: Reverends Walter Lawry (Mary Hassall’s preferred suitor), Benjamin Carvosso and Ralph Mansfield. Partially caused by his deferential dealings with the Anglican or ‘Established’ Church and his friendships with Samuel Marsden and William Cowper, Leigh had done little to enhance his reputation among his colleagues or to advance the fledgling cause of Wesleyanism in the colony. As historian Glen O’Brien notes, ‘Leigh may have seen the Methodist mission as ancillary to the Church of England, but others did not seem to share that opinion.’[21] Marrying his childhood friend, Catherine, proved an ‘antidote’ of sorts for Leigh and his many troubles.

The newlyweds set sail for Australia in 1821, accompanied by a small cohort of eager young missionaries, including freshly appointed ‘Missionary to the Natives of New South Wales,’ William Walker. After departing England on 29 April, the group arrived in Hobart, Tasmania, in August where they stayed long enough to establish the island’s first Wesleyan mission station under Reverend William Horton. From there, the Leighs travelled to New Zealand, arriving 22 January 1822. The following month, Samuel preached his first sermon in Aotearoa. Following the deterioration of his collegial bonds in Parramatta, the emotional aftermath of his first New Zealand mission, a deterioration in his own health, and the lengthy sea journey of 1821, he would describe his new wife and mission partner as a most ‘valuable companion.’[22]

For 39-year-old Catherine, her marriage to Samuel freed her from the limitations of an unmarried woman’s existence in England and afforded her a life of travel and adventure in the service of Jesus. In an age when singledom and celibacy were variously viewed as noble and virtuous or as peculiarities which resisted the natural order of things (including motherhood), Catherine’s marriage provided her with security and the freedom to exercise her personal capabilities in new and exciting environments. In fact, during her 11 years as ‘Mrs. Leigh,’ she sailed thousands of nautical miles, survived the shipwreck of the Brampton on a deserted island, lived among cannibals, managed the extreme summers of Sydney’s West, saved her husband from a Māori chief hell-bent on disposing of him, and spent time in the company of everyone from the Governor of New South Wales to Samuel Marsden, Māori warriors, Parramatta convict women, Aboriginal families and members of her own Parramatta Wesleyan Church.[23]

Cannibals

During her decade of service in the Antipodes, Catherine’s time in New Zealand as part of a Wesleyan missionary push into the country’s north was, by far, the most dangerous. It was characterised by life and death struggles that tested her spiritual resolve, physical strength and adaptability and, ultimately, sent her husband to his sick bed.[24] Issues ranging from linguistic and cultural barriers to difficulties establishing a safe base for their missionary efforts caused an inevitable abbreviation of the Leighs’ stay in the country. These challenges also resulted in a relative lack of converts, despite the couple’s best efforts.[25] Samuel Leigh was aware of the dangers he and Catherine faced when they arrived in New Zealand. Conscious of their imminent disembarkation at the Bay of Plenty and holding mixed memories of his visit two years before, he declared ‘the probable consequences of our landing,’ given that they were about to encounter what he described as ‘a nation of ferocious and bloodthirsty Heathens.’[26] Nonetheless, for Catherine, the trials of sleeping rough, travelling through miles of inhospitable terrain and facing almost constant threat of injury or death were made more bearable by her conviction that she and Samuel had been ‘called’ by God to save souls in a pagan land — regardless of the cost.[27]

The Leighs initially settled in Te Puna for sixteen months with the aim of learning Māori and ‘acclimatising’ themselves. While Strachan asserts ‘Mr. and Mrs. Leigh…made considerable progress in the native tongue,’ alternate evaluations of the period suggest Leigh may have used Te Puna to delay his mission while in fact struggling to acquire the native language.[28] Catherine, on the other hand, was said to have learned it effectively enough to operate her crèche and mothercraft school at their next destination, Kāeo, which involved daily liaison with Māori women and children.[29]

Hongi Hika (1772–1828), Maori Chief, War Leader, Ngāpuhi iwi, New Zealand, Wesleydale, Wesleyan, Wesleyans, Missionaries, Mission, St. John's Cemetery Project, Old Parramattans, Reverend Samuel Leigh, Catherine Leigh
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE. Hongi Hika (1772–1828), Maori chief and war leader of the Ngāpuhi iwi in New Zealand, from a sketch by Major-General G. Robley, after the portrait painted in England in 1820. S. Percy Smith, Maori Wars of the Nineteenth Century: The Struggle of the Northern Against the Southern Tribes prior to the Colonisation of New Zealand in 1840, (Christchurch, Wellington and Dunedin, N.Z; Melbourne and London: Whitcombe & Tombs Limited, 1910). (CC-BY-SA 3.0 NZ). Courtesy of Victoria University Library, Wellington.

With their preparations complete, the Leighs travelled to Kāeo in the Whangaroa district, one hundred miles north of Auckland in the Bay of Islands. By early June 1823, the Leighs and newly arrived missionaries, William White and James Stack, had selected land for their mission house in an area shared by the Māori tribes responsible for the infamous Boyd massacre of 1809 and still actively practicing cannibalism and violently resisting Europeans.[30] Kāeo was also the site of longstanding, bloody conflict instigated by Māori chief, Hongi. An intelligent, bilingual warrior once féted by the Royal Court in London and an acquaintance of Leigh, Hongi had pawned wealthy gifts to buy weapons and gunpowder, and spent five years wreaking havoc, predominantly via inter-Māori conflicts in New Zealand’s Northland. When Leigh spoke to him about his atrocities and attempted to dissuade him from further violence, Hongi remarked, ‘We must observe the customs of our country: the blood of Hinaki [a rival Māori chief] was sweet!’[31]

Establishing their camp and naming it Wesleydale, Catherine, Samuel and the rest of the missionary group lived in tents while a permanent house was built. Their situation soon became dire, particularly as supplies dwindled, Māori groups stole their food, and colder weather set in. However, examples of the Wesleyans’ resourcefulness abounded. Catherine donned her husband’s ‘great-coat and boots’ and cooked dinner on an open fire in the middle of a rain event and, when her husband’s shoes wore out, manufactured new ones from ‘tallow, wood-ashes, and salt-water.’[32] Similarly, after finding themselves alone at Wesleydale for a time and aware of a local Chief coordinating cannibal acts and parading a human scalp on his head as a trophy of war, the Leighs found comfort in their faith and security in their readiness to defend themselves.[33] Threats from ‘a numerous body of naked savages rushing [Leigh] with spears’ in Te Ara were defused by his hasty distribution of Birmingham-made fish hooks, while Catherine’s quick-thinking presentation of utua or ‘satisfaction’ (in this case, a ‘coverlet’ from her bed) in an incident with another Chief undoubtedly saved her husband’s life a second time.[34]

The couple’s increasing brushes with death and various privations had, however, added to the anxiety of their situation. The risk of losing her husband to a Māori spear was becoming demonstrably hard for Catherine to bear: ‘On reaching home [the mission house], their friends of the Church Mission, and especially Mrs. Leigh, who did not expect to see her husband again till “the resurrection of the just,” were effected to tears.’[35] By the early spring of 1823, the couple were flagging a return to Sydney. Samuel was seriously ill and their mutual patience with the demands of missionary life was waning:

There he was, in the solitude of a strange land, at the ends of the earth, surrounded by a people who ate human flesh, and said, “The blood of man is sweet;” and having no earthly power in which he could appeal for protection. Nor was it less trying for his beloved wife, whose cup of sorrow was nearly full; for, the prospect of increasing difficulties and dangers, there was now added that of early widowhood.[36]

In this period, Reverend Samuel Marsden arrived in New Zealand with Wesleyan missionaries Nathanial Turner and John Hobbs and set about checking on the status of those at Kāeo. On reaching Wesleydale, the group was alarmed by the decline in Leigh’s health and immediately suggested a return to Sydney for treatment. This was achieved via the Brampton on 17 September of the same year.

Shipwreck

On its way to Australia, the ship carrying the Leighs and Marsden was hit by strong, easterly winds and wrecked on a shallow reef two miles from Moturoa Island in the Bay of Islands. Sailing in small ships from the wreck, survivors of the Brampton landed safely on Moturoa only to wait three days and nights with little shelter, no fresh clothing and barely any food until supplies were delivered by members of the CMS from KeriKeri. On returning to the mainland, it was two months before the party could resume its voyage to Sydney via the Dragon, eventually reaching Port Jackson on 30 November 1823.[37]

The shipwreck of the Brampton subsequently received embellished treatment by Strachan and others. Marsden’s notes on the incident, by contrast, were largely practical: ‘I requested the captain to lend me the boat to take Mr. and Mrs. Leigh to the nearest island, being about two miles distant. The natives…prepared the best hut they could for our reception. I requested them to send a canoe to Rangihoua to inform Mr. and Mrs. Hall of the loss of the ship.’[38] Nonetheless, the physical challenge of the rescue and the delay in their plans had serious repercussions for the direction of the Leighs’ future ministry in New South Wales. Leaving behind the bloodiness and fear which had come to define their New Zealand tenure, their Sydney efforts would focus on parish work and Sunday Schools. While Wesleydale was being ransacked by Māori hoards in 1827, the Leighs were conducting Bible studies at the Parramatta Chapel.

Children

Catherine Leigh, Mrs Leigh, Mrs L dressing Black Babies, Alexander Strachan, Reverend Samuel Leigh, Wesleyans, Wesleyanism, St. John's Wesleyans, St. John's Cemetery Project, Old Parramattans
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE. The only image of Catherine Leigh is an ink drawing depicting her dressing babies in a mission context. “Mrs. L. dressing Black Babies” detail of frontispiece in Alexander Strachan, The Life of the Rev. Samuel Leigh, Missionary to the Settlers and Savages of Australia and New Zealand (Illustrated Edition), (London: The Wesleyan Mission House, Bishopsgate Street Within, 1870). Courtesy of University of California Libraries.

Although the Leighs did not have any children of their own—a fact that troubled the Māori—they were deeply committed to each other and to the social remediation and spiritual welfare of children.[39] Through the Sunday Schools they helped to establish at Parramatta and mission sites in Sydney, Van Diemen’s Land and New Zealand, the couple found genuine fulfilment in the care and education of children. A rare, Parramatta Wesleyan Sunday School Minute Book (1828–1831) held at the National Library, Canberra, contains frequent mention of Reverend and Mrs. Leigh’s involvement at the Parramatta Chapel school. Recorded by the superintendent on duty, the book notes that Mrs. Leigh led classes for the ‘2nd and 3rd class females,’ while her husband preached ‘adapted’ sermons ‘to the children’s capacity.’[40] On 24 January 1830, Reverend and Mrs. Leigh were recorded as having ‘visited the school…happy to find the work of love increasing.’[41]

In New Zealand, the Leighs’ interest in children was also directed at saving their lives. Catherine formed a ‘sewing circle’ of mission wives at the Wesleydale mission house, Whangaroa, with the specific purpose of making Pākehā-style (European) baby clothes to distribute as ‘rewards’ for Māori mothers who resisted the common practice of female infanticide.[42]

Mrs. Leigh would take the little creatures one by one on her lap, and dress them. On returning them to their mothers, she would say, “What beautiful children these are! See that you take great care of them: I will call occasionally, and see how they thrive.” It was generally found, that when a native woman could be induced to preserve the life of her child for twelve or fourteen days, the strength of maternal affection was sufficient to save it afterwards from destruction. “In this way,” said Mr. Leigh, “at a small expense, and in a short time, we saved scores of lives.”[43]

Within a similar timeframe in 1822–1823, Catherine commenced an ‘institution for training native females,’ also at Wesleydale. Lessons included personal hygiene, etiquette and dressmaking in addition to ‘motherhood’ classes in the feeding, washing and dressing of infants.[44] Somewhat fittingly, the only ‘image’ we have of Mrs. Leigh, an ink sketch from the frontispiece of Strachan’s biography, depicts her cradling a Māori baby and surrounded by Māori children. The illustration’s subtitle is, ‘Mrs. L dressing black babies.’[45]

Death

Despite what we know of Catherine Leigh’s lifetime achievements, it is the selfless manner of her death that has made its way into Wesleyan and community folklore. Almost all the landmark works on Methodism in Australia reference the death of Catherine Leigh. Among them is Gloster Udy’s Spark of Grace (1977), which includes a subchapter titled ‘Mrs. Leigh Dies.’[46] Newspaper stories concerning her death have also been plentiful, with many included in histories of early Parramatta or those concerning the halcyon days of Parramatta Methodism.[47] Such coverage has occurred despite the fact that Catherine’s death was not an unusual one for its time, nor entirely unexpected given her age, pre-existing health issues and the deadly nature of infectious disease in the era before antibiotics. However, when she passed away, aged 50, during a disease outbreak in Parramatta in the autumn of 1831, and following what Strachan described as her selflessly going about ‘at all hours, passing silently along the streets [and] inhaling the miasma in the contaminated chambers she visited,’ her demise came as a shock to her friends and admirers and she was deeply mourned.[48]

Catherine’s final illness was most likely a severe influenza, possibly linked to one that had originated in China in the winter of 1830 and developed into a pandemic that affected Europe, North America and the southern hemisphere, including Indonesia and Australia, between 1830 and 1833.[49] Described as striking unusually hard but not causing the volume of deaths attributed to other diseases of the period, the impact of the virus may have been worsened by a simultaneous outbreak of dysentery in the colony.[50] Whatever specific form Catherine’s illness took, it was subsequently described as ‘sweeping off thousands’ prior to its arrival in Parramatta in 1831 and being of ‘unusual malignity.’[51] In this period, medical help for such an illness was limited and sometimes more dangerous than the ailment itself. As her condition worsened, Catherine was likely to have been subjected to ‘bloodletting’ by leech or cup, treated with poultices and given concoctions of ammonia, lavender and camphor; however, little could have been done to save her life.[52] As Strachan described:

Mrs. Leigh, who had always devoted a large proportion of her time to the visitation of the poor, the afflicted, and the dying, felt it to be especially necessary to meet the crisis by a more general and sedulous attention to this important branch of Christian duty; and many obtained the blessing of God by her instrumentality, in the last moments of life. This heroic woman, who never quailed before death, even in its most appalling aspects, approached, without hesitation, the most aggravated forms of the prevailing malady.[53]

Following her passing on 15 May 1831, Catherine Leigh was widely eulogised. Samuel Marsden publicly remembered her as a successful partner in her husband’s work and multiple letters of condolence were sent to Parramatta from the Wesleyan community in New Zealand.[54] In most tributes, Catherine was described as kind to the poor, a servant of the Lord and one likely to provide ongoing inspiration to the Wesleyan faithful.[55] Her gravesite at St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta—later shared with fellow mission wife Sarah Draper and her baby Josiah plus George, the infant son of Wesleyan missionary, Ralph Mansfield—was constructed using strong foundations and an inscription that captured the essence of a life well-lived. It described Catherine as having ‘followed her blessed Master’s example in going about doing good’ and being ‘deservedly loved and esteemed by all who knew her.’[56] The ‘faithful coadjutor’ had earned her rest.

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Elizabeth de Réland, “Catherine Leigh: Faithful Coadjutor,” St. John’s Cemetery Project, (2019), https://stjohnscemeteryproject.org/bio/catherine-leigh, accessed [insert current date].


References

Primary Sources

Alexander Strachan, Remarkable Incidents in the Life of the Reverend Samuel Leigh, Missionary to the Settlers and Savages of New Zealand and Australia: With a Succinct History of the Origin and Progress of the Missions in those Colonies, (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co, 1853).

Alexander Strachan, The Life of the Rev. Samuel Leigh, Missionary to the Savages and Settlers of Australia and New Zealand: With a History of the Origin and Progress of The Missions in Those Colonies (Illustrated Edition), (London: Wesleyan Mission House, 1870).

Sunday School Minute Book: 1828–1831 (Parramatta Wesleyan Church). Manuscript. Bib. ID. 481973, National Library of Australia, Copy of original, (Parramatta Mission archival collection, n.d.).

Secondary Sources

Hilary M. Carey, God’s Empire: Religion and Colonialism in the British World, c. 1801–1908, (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011).

Hilary M. Carey and Glen O’Brien (eds.), Methodism in Australia: A History, (Surrey: Ashgate Publishing Ltd, 2015).

Alison Clarke, Born to a Changing World: Childbirth in Nineteenth-Century New Zealand, (Wellington: Bridget Williams Books, 2012).

Elizabeth de Réland (ed.), Samuel Leigh: Parramatta Mission Pioneer, 1815–2015, (Parramatta: Parramatta Mission, 2015).

Elizabeth de Réland (ed.), Samuel Leigh: First Wesleyan Missionary to Australia and New Zealand, (Parramatta: Parramatta Mission, 2015).

Pauline Jones, Milton’s Missionary: The Life and Work of Rev. Samuel Leigh 1785–1852, First Methodist missionary to Australia and New Zealand, with a Brief History of Leigh Memorial Methodist Church, Milton, built 1865, (Milton: Leigh Memorial Methodist Church, 1986).

Glen O’Brien, “Not Radically a Dissenter: Samuel Leigh in the Colony of New South Wales,” Wesleyan and Methodist Studies, Vol. 4 (2012): 59–77, https://repository.divinity.edu.au/1967/1/Not_Radically_a_Dissenter_pre-publication_Proof.pdf, accessed 1 July 2019.

Stuart Piggin and Robert D. Linder, The Fountain of Public Prosperity: Evangelical Christians in Australian History, 1740–1914, (Melbourne: Monash University Press, 2018).

Gloster Udy, Spark of Grace, (Parramatta: Parramatta Mission, 1977).

Don Wright and Eric Clancy, The Methodists: A History of Methodism in New South Wales. (St. Leonards: Allen & Unwin, 1993).


NOTES

[1] co-adjutor: 1) an assistant, helper; 2) a person appointed to assist a bishop, often becoming the successor, https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/coadjutor, accessed 13 July 2019.

[2] Henry Lee, “A Disgrace to our Australian Civilisation: Mothers, Miners and the Commemoration of Mortality in New South Wales,” Illawarra Unity – Journal of the Illawarra Branch of the Australian Society for the Study of Labor History, Vol. 4, No. 1, (2004): 7.

[3] London’s first ‘Lying-in Hospital’ (designated for childbirth and post-partum care) was located on Westminster Bridge Road. It operated there between 1767–1825 before moving to a new location. Women would traditionally spend from two weeks to two months ‘lying-in’ after giving birth, even if well. See “General Lying-In Hospital,” Lost Hospitals of London, (2014), https://ezitis.myzen.co.uk/generallyingin.html, accessed 25 May 2019. Minutes from London’s Wesleyan Missionary Committee for 1821 reveal that “Mrs. Widgeon of the London Lying-in Hospital, had kindly admitted Mrs. Leigh to attend at the Hospital, to receive instructions in midwifery during several weeks…” Alison Clarke, Born to a Changing World: Childbirth in Nineteenth-Century New Zealand, (Wellington: Bridget Williams Books, 2012), p. 17.

[4] “Methodists asserted themselves as an influential force in the religion, politics and economics of empire. Their role and contribution in the global expansion of the British world reflected a strong sense of duty, and of opportunity, sustained by a conviction that they were participants in a great quest to populate the globe with liberal and moral citizens…” David Andrew Roberts and Margaret Reeson, “Wesleyan Methodist Missions to Australia and the Pacific” in Glen O’Brien and Hilary Carey (eds.), Methodism in Australia: A History, (Surrey: Ashgate Publishing Ltd, 2015), p. 197.

[5] Alison Clarke, Born to a Changing World: Childbirth in Nineteenth-Century New Zealand, (Wellington: Bridget Williams Books, 2012), p. 17.

[6] “In Mr. Wesley’s Methodism, women became preachers, group leaders, founders of schools, active visitors and callers, benefactresses, models of Christian life for male and female alike, and even itinerants. Indeed, Abel Steven’s comment in the nineteenth century seems clearly true: ‘It may be doubted whether any section of our ecclesiastical history since Mary…is richer in female characters than that which records the Religious Movement…called Methodism.’” Earl Kent Brown, Women of Mr. Wesley’s Methodism, (New York: Edwin Mellen, 1983), p. xii.

[7] “The Evangelical Revival in England, of which the Methodist renewal movement was a part, included such themes as strong preaching, evangelical conversions and spiritual demonstrations.” Henry Heizenrater, Wesley and the People Called Methodists, (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1995), p. 15 quoted in Laceye Werner, “Spreading Scriptural Holiness: Theology and Practices of Methodism for the Contemporary Church,” The Asbury Journal, Vol. 63, No. 1 (2008): 118. Regarding Staffordshire’s industry, see Staffordshire County Council, “Trade and Industry,” Distinctive Staffordshire, (n.d.), http://www.staffspasttrack.org.uk/exhibit/distinctivestaffs/trade.htm, accessed 25 May 2019.

[8] Alexander Strachan, The Life of the Rev. Samuel Leigh, Missionary to the Savages and Settlers of Australia and New Zealand: With a History of the Origin and Progress of The Missions in Those Colonies (Illustrated Edition), (London: Wesleyan Mission House, 1870), p. 106.

[9] Robert Howe, “Letter to Wesleyan Missionary Committee, 20 February 1824,” in James Bonwick, Bonwick Transcripts, 1641–1892, being a collection of transcripts from material mainly in the Public Records Office, London, and from other sources relating to New South Wales and Australia, transcribed by James Bonwick and assistants, 1887–1902, Series I: Missionary Papers 1786–1841; 5:1391; Box: 53, (Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales), cited in Glen O’Brien, “Not Radically a Dissenter: Samuel Leigh in the Colony of New South Wales,” Wesleyan and Methodist Studies, Vol. 4 (2012): 76, https://repository.divinity.edu.au/1967/1/Not_Radically_a_Dissenter_pre-publication_Proof.pdf, accessed 25 May 2019.

[10] Wesleyan ‘Arminianism’ is based on the theology of Jacob Arminius (1560–1609) and his followers, known as the Remonstrants. Arminianism arose as a rejection of Calvinism and its doctrines of predestination and election. Arminius taught that God has given humans free will, and humans are able to freely choose or reject salvation. Tim Challies, “An Introduction to Calvinism & Arminianism,” Tim Challies (2003), https://www.challies.com/articles/an-introduction-to-calvinism-arminianism/, accessed 25 May 2019.

[11] Don Wright and Eric Clancy, The Methodists: A History of Methodism in New South Wales, (Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1993), pp. 3–6; Gloster Udy, Spark of Grace, (Parramatta: Parramatta Mission, 1977), pp. 22–26.

[12] Reverend Walter Lawry, “Letter to the Wesleyan Missionary Committee, 1824,” cited in Pauline Jones, Milton’s Missionary: The Life and Work of Rev. Samuel Leigh 1785–1852, First Methodist Missionary to Australia and New Zealand, with a Brief History of Leigh Memorial Methodist Church, Milton, built 1865, (Milton: Leigh Memorial Methodist Church, 1986), p. 17.

[13] Alexander Strachan, The Life of the Rev. Samuel Leigh, Missionary to the Savages and Settlers of Australia and New Zealand: With a History of the Origin and Progress of The Missions in Those Colonies (Illustrated Edition), (London: Wesleyan Mission House, 1870), p. 106.

[14] “In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor.” Bible: Acts 9: 36 (New International Version).

[15] “Clergy-wives—long attested in all denominations to be overworked and un-recognised—were particularly called upon for self-mastery in the Methodist tradition…Weeping heroines figure less among representations of Methodist women than the ‘strong and stout-hearted.’” Anne O’Brien, “Australian Methodist Women” in Glen O’Brien and Hilary Carey (eds.), Methodism in Australia: A History, (Surrey: Ashgate Publishing Ltd, 2015), p. 216.

[16] “Mrs. Leigh mingled freely with the natives…” writes Alexander Strachan, The Life of the Rev. Samuel Leigh, Missionary to the Savages and Settlers of Australia and New Zealand: With a History of the Origin and Progress of The Missions in Those Colonies (Illustrated Edition), (London: Wesleyan Mission House, 1870), p. 122.

[17] “Methodist women played a significant part in the relatively early enfranchisement of women in Australia in the late nineteenth century. It is perhaps not surprising that they were drawn to the suffrage movement. Its overarching maternalist ideology saw women’s natural capabilities giving them the right and duty to influence the world, beliefs central to Wesley’s teaching.” Anne O’Brien, “Australian Methodist Women” in Glen O’Brien and Hilary Carey (eds.), Methodism in Australia: A History, (Surrey: Ashgate Publishing Ltd, 2015), p. 218.

[18] Ex-forger and convict James Bradley was given teaching responsibilities at the Parramatta Wesleyan Sunday School alongside mission wives, Mary Lawry and Catherine Leigh, from 1821. His “Absolute Pardon” was secured by Reverend Walter Lawry and granted by Governor Lachlan Macquarie in a move that angered Samuel Marsden and the Anglican clergy. Walter Lawry, Diary of Rev. Walter Lawry 1818–1825, 5 September 1821, transcribed (Parramatta Mission archival collection, n.d.), p. 63.

[19] “The evangelicals led the respectable citizenry of Sydney in pursuing further initiatives for the moral and cultural improvement of their society.” Stuart Piggin and Robert D. Linder, The Fountain of Public Prosperity: Evangelical Christians in Australian History, 1740–1914, (Clayton, Victoria: Monash University Press, 2018), p. 130.

[20] Lydia Huffman Hoyle has described a commensurate situation in America: “There were a number of options available to evangelically motivated women. The Sunday School movement, temperance movement, and local mission societies…”—all of which enabled women to “put their hand of faith to the plow.” Lydia Huffman Hoyle, “Nineteenth-Century Single Women and Motivation for Mission,” International Bulletin of Missionary Research, (April, 1996): 58, http://www.internationalbulletin.org/issues/1996-02/1996-02-058-hoyle.pdf, accessed 25 May 2019.

[21] Glen O’Brien, “Not Radically a Dissenter: Samuel Leigh in the Colony of New South Wales,” Wesleyan and Methodist Studies, Vol. 4 (2012): 67, https://repository.divinity.edu.au/1967/1/Not_Radically_a_Dissenter_pre-publication_Proof.pdf, accessed 25 May 2019.

[22] Samuel Leigh, Journal, 25 January 1824, cited in Alexander Strachan, The Life of the Rev. Samuel Leigh, Missionary to the Savages and Settlers of Australia and New Zealand: With a History of the Origin and Progress of The Missions in Those Colonies (Illustrated Edition), (London: Wesleyan Mission House, 1870), p. 222.

[23] There is no specific record of Catherine Leigh conducting pastoral visits or Bible studies at Parramatta’s Female Factory or Female Orphan School; however, given her husband’s seniority within the Wesleyan mission in Parramatta at the time—and the involvement of her contemporaries, such as Eliza Walker, née Hassall (wife of Reverend William Walker) and others—it would seem likely that she made pastoral visits to both institutions. At various intervals after her death Wesleyan ministers’ wives, including Sarah Sweetman, made regular visits to the Factory, with Wesleyan services at the institution achieving “30 to 50” participants by 1845. Edward Sweetman, MSS Letter, 6 March 1845, cited in Gloster Udy, Spark of Grace, (Parramatta: Parramatta Mission, 1977), p. 148. Samuel and Catherine Leigh were held in high regard by the Parramatta Wesleyan congregation of the 1820s. On the eve of the couple’s departure for a sojourn in England, the trustees and congregation composed a formal letter of farewell to Reverend Leigh: “O may you and our dear Sister Leigh be always guided by the counsel of the Most High so long as you remain on earth and afterwards be received into glory.” Excerpt, “Letter from the trustees and congregation of the Parramatta Wesleyan Church to Rev Samuel Leigh, 1828.” Copy of original. (Parramatta Mission archival collection, n.d.).

[24] “Like unto a broken pitcher, I have laid quite on one side…My constitution appears to be so much shook that I fear I shall not be able to take an active part in the mission.” Samuel Leigh, Letter of July 20, 1823, cited in Pauline Jones, Milton’s Missionary: The Life and Work of Rev. Samuel Leigh 1785–1852, First Methodist Missionary to Australia and New Zealand, with a Brief History of Leigh Memorial Methodist Church, Milton, built 1865, (Milton: Leigh Memorial Methodist Church, 1986), p. 15.

[25] Alexander Strachan, The Life of the Rev. Samuel Leigh, Missionary to the Savages and Settlers of Australia and New Zealand: With a History of the Origin and Progress of The Missions in Those Colonies (Illustrated Edition), (London: Wesleyan Mission House, 1870), p. 151.

[26] Alexander Strachan, The Life of the Rev. Samuel Leigh, Missionary to the Savages and Settlers of Australia and New Zealand: With a History of the Origin and Progress of The Missions in Those Colonies (Illustrated Edition), (London: Wesleyan Mission House, 1870), p. 121.

[27] “Mr. Leigh believed the calling of the Missionary Societies to be a spiritual calling.” Catherine Leigh: “We are prepared for life or death in the discharge of our duty.” Alexander Strachan, The Life of the Rev. Samuel Leigh, Missionary to the Savages and Settlers of Australia and New Zealand: With a History of the Origin and Progress of The Missions in Those Colonies (Illustrated Edition), (London: Wesleyan Mission House, 1870), pp. 84, 121.

[28] Alexander Strachan, The Life of the Rev. Samuel Leigh, Missionary to the Savages and Settlers of Australia and New Zealand: With a History of the Origin and Progress of The Missions in Those Colonies (Illustrated Edition), (London: Wesleyan Mission House, 1870), p. 131

[29] Clive Pearson, “Will the real Samuel Leigh please stand-up?” in Elizabeth de Réland (ed.), Samuel Leigh: First Wesleyan Missionary to Australia and New Zealand (Parramatta: Parramatta Mission, 2019), p. 60.

[30] The Boyd was an English convict vessel. After delivering convicts to Port Jackson in 1809, it stopped at Whangaroa Harbour, in the north of New Zealand, to collect timber for trading and was ambushed by local Māori in revenge for the ill-treatment of a Chief’s son, one of the ship’s passengers. All but four passengers and crew were killed, cooked and eaten. After the massacre of the Boyd, a travel advisory was issued regarding New Zealand. Among the first to brave the country again was Anglican missionary, Samuel Marsden, in 1814. Robert McNab, From Tasman to Marsden: A History of Northern New Zealand from 1642 to 1818 (Dunedin: J. Wilkie & Co., 1914), pp. 125–37.

[31] According to Strachan, “Hongi continued to prosecute war with intense malignity for upwards of five years.” Alexander Strachan, The Life of the Rev. Samuel Leigh, Missionary to the Savages and Settlers of Australia and New Zealand: With a History of the Origin and Progress of The Missions in Those Colonies (Illustrated Edition), (London: Wesleyan Mission House, 1870), pp. 126, 129.

[32] Alexander Strachan, The Life of the Rev. Samuel Leigh, Missionary to the Savages and Settlers of Australia and New Zealand: With a History of the Origin and Progress of The Missions in Those Colonies (Illustrated Edition), (London: Wesleyan Mission House, 1870), pp. 144, 148.

[33] Alexander Strachan, The Life of the Rev. Samuel Leigh, Missionary to the Savages and Settlers of Australia and New Zealand: With a History of the Origin and Progress of The Missions in Those Colonies (Illustrated Edition), (London: Wesleyan Mission House, 1870), p. 144.

[34] As with all Wesleyan missionaries bound for the South Seas, the Leighs were well schooled prior to their arrival in New Zealand and adhered to most of the cultural customs required of newcomers. They were also equipped with various items for gifting and exchange with the Māori. Regarding Reverend Leigh’s use of fish hooks, see Alexander Strachan, The Life of the Rev. Samuel Leigh, Missionary to the Savages and Settlers of Australia and New Zealand: With a History of the Origin and Progress of The Missions in Those Colonies (Illustrated Edition), (London: Wesleyan Mission House, 1870), p. 134. Recounting the episode in which Mrs. Leigh saved her husband’s life by providing her coverlet, Strachan writes: “…the furious savage seized him by the collar and threw him down the hill. He rolled over several times before he could regain his footing, and rose up much shaken, and covered with mud. Mrs. Leigh, having witnessed this act of violence, ran to the chief who commanded the strangers, and inquired, “What utua do you require?” Assuming an angry and menacing attitude, he replied, “Nothing less than a kahu pai, ‘a good garment.'” Having bound over the belligerents to keep the peace for a few minutes, she hastened to the mission-house, and, taking the coverlet from off her own bed, returned immediately, and presented it to the enraged warrior as the gift of reconciliation. He received it with evident satisfaction; and, wrapping it round his body, exhibited the symbol of peace. His fighting-men expressed their assent by jumping simultaneously off the ground. On witnessing this unanimity, the chief exclaimed, Kakahu Pakeha wahene rangatira, “This European lady has slain our hearts.” Alexander Strachan, The Life of the Rev. Samuel Leigh, Missionary to the Savages and Settlers of Australia and New Zealand: With a History of the Origin and Progress of The Missions in Those Colonies (Illustrated Edition), (London: Wesleyan Mission House, 1870), pp. 153–4.

[35] Alexander Strachan, The Life of the Rev. Samuel Leigh, Missionary to the Savages and Settlers of Australia and New Zealand: With a History of the Origin and Progress of The Missions in Those Colonies (Illustrated Edition), (London: Wesleyan Mission House, 1870), p. 134.

[36] Alexander Strachan, The Life of the Rev. Samuel Leigh, Missionary to the Savages and Settlers of Australia and New Zealand: With a History of the Origin and Progress of The Missions in Those Colonies (Illustrated Edition), (London: Wesleyan Mission House, 1870), p. 159.

[37] C. H. Laws, “Toil and Adversity at Whangaroa,” Wesley Historical Society, New Zealand, Vol. 3, (1944): 16, http://www.methodist.org.nz/files/docs/wesley%20historical/3(1,2)whangaroa%20.pdf, accessed 1 July 2019.

[38] Samuel Marsden, Journal, Thursday, 11 September 1823, cited in Chapter VIII of John Butler, Earliest New Zealand: The Journals and Correspondence of the Rev. John Butler, (Masterton, New Zealand: Palamountain & Petherick, 1927), p. 24, New Zealand Electronic Text Collection (Victoria University of Wellington, 2016), http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-BarEarl.html, accessed 1 July 2019.

[39] Strachan reported that “They examined Mrs. Leigh’s dress with a troublesome minuteness and enquired why she had left her pickaninnies on board the ship. Being informed that she had no children, they tossed their heads indignantly and said, Then she be no good: The white teacher be poor man.” Alexander Strachan, The Life of the Rev. Samuel Leigh, Missionary to the Savages and Settlers of Australia and New Zealand: With a History of the Origin and Progress of The Missions in Those Colonies (Illustrated Edition), (London: Wesleyan Mission House, 1870), p. 122.

[40] See entries dated 5 April 1829; 15 February 1829 in Parramatta Wesleyan Church, Sunday School Minute Book: 1828–1831, [manuscript], NLA MS 7395; Bib. ID: 481973, National Library of Australia. Copy of original. (Parramatta Mission archival collection, n.d.).

[41] See entry dated 24 January 1830 in Parramatta Wesleyan Church, Sunday School Minute Book: 1828–1831, [manuscript], NLA MS 7395; Bib. ID: 481973, National Library of Australia. Copy of original. (Parramatta Mission archival collection, n.d.).

[42] Pauline Jones, Milton’s Missionary: The Life and Work of Rev. Samuel Leigh 1785–1852, First Methodist Missionary to Australia and New Zealand, with a Brief History of Leigh Memorial Methodist Church, Milton, built 1865, (Milton: Leigh Memorial Methodist Church, 1986), p. 14.

[43] Alexander Strachan, The Life of the Rev. Samuel Leigh, Missionary to the Savages and Settlers of Australia and New Zealand: With a History of the Origin and Progress of The Missions in Those Colonies (Illustrated Edition), (London: Wesleyan Mission House, 1870), p. 158.

[44] In establishing the native ‘class,’ Mrs. Leigh was said to have been “…enunciating those principles and forming those tastes and habits which were destined, by their prevalence and moral power, to elevate the females of the country to an equality with the most intelligent and refined of their sex in the islands of Great Britain.” Alexander Strachan, The Life of the Rev. Samuel Leigh, Missionary to the Savages and Settlers of Australia and New Zealand: With a History of the Origin and Progress of The Missions in Those Colonies (Illustrated Edition), (London: Wesleyan Mission House, 1870), pp. 149–150.

[45] Alexander Strachan, The Life of the Rev. Samuel Leigh, Missionary to the Savages and Settlers of Australia and New Zealand: With a History of the Origin and Progress of The Missions in Those Colonies (Illustrated Edition), (London: Wesleyan Mission House, 1870), frontispiece.

[46] “Mrs. Leigh Dies,” “Chapter V: The Tragic Twenties,” in Gloster Udy, Spark of Grace, (Parramatta: Parramatta Mission, 1977), p. 81.

[47]Where Pioneers Sleep. Tombstone Tales in St. John’s Churchyard, Parramatta. Old Sam Cook and His Colony,” Sunday Times (Sydney, NSW : 1895 – 1930), Sunday 16 September 1923, p. 13.

[48] Alexander Strachan, The Life of the Rev. Samuel Leigh, Missionary to the Savages and Settlers of Australia and New Zealand: With a History of the Origin and Progress of The Missions in Those Colonies (Illustrated Edition), (London: Wesleyan Mission House, 1870), p. 260.

[49] Jonathan Van-Tam and Chloe Sellwood (eds.), Introduction to Pandemic Influenza, (London: CABI, 2010), p. 43.

[50] “In the 1820s and 1830s, dysentery was the most prevalent disease, but rheumatism, venereal disease (VD), “dropsy” (oedema), ophthalmia and erysipelas were also common…Recurrent local influenza epidemics were connected to pandemics and regional epidemics. Marked urban growth (without adequate sanitary measures) gave rise to fearsome outbreaks of enteric infections, including diarrhoeal disease…” See Milton J. Lewis, “Medicine in Colonial Australia, 1788–1900,” The Medical Journal of Australia, Vol. 201, No. 1 (2014), https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2014/201/1/medicine-colonial-australia-1788-1900, accessed 25 May 2019.

[51]Early Parramatta Records. Parramatta Leigh Memorial Church. An Interesting Paper,” The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate (Parramatta, NSW : 1888 – 1950), Wednesday 21 June 1899, p. 4.

[52] “Bloodletting, the taking of blood from a patient with therapeutic intent, was a practice carried out over millennia…The amount of blood removed depended on the condition of the patient, as well as the practice of the doctor, and varied from relatively small amounts to litres of blood over several days.” D. P. Thomas, “The Demise of Bloodletting,” Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, Vol. 44, No. 1 (2014): 72, https://www.rcpe.ac.uk/sites/default/files/thomas_0.pdf, accessed 25 May 2019.

[53] Alexander Strachan, The Life of the Rev. Samuel Leigh, Missionary to the Savages and Settlers of Australia and New Zealand: With a History of the Origin and Progress of The Missions in Those Colonies (Illustrated Edition), (London: Wesleyan Mission House, 1870), p. 260.

[54] “Today her grave may be seen adjacent to the grave of Samuel Marsden and members of his family. Samuel Leigh, sick himself and filled with grief at his loss, was sustained by Parramatta people, as well as many others who contacted him from other parts of the colony and New Zealand…Once further help was available at Parramatta he left for England, where he became, for a while, a retired minister.” Gloster Udy, Spark of Grace, (Parramatta: Parramatta Mission, 1977), p. 81.

[55] By the 50th anniversary of Catherine Leigh’s death, a new Methodist “cathedral-church” for Parramatta would be four years from completion. Opening its doors in the winter of 1885, it would be named “Leigh Memorial Methodist Church” in recognition of Reverend Samuel Leigh and his role in the commencement of Methodism in New South Wales. Catherine Leigh’s role would remain largely unrecognised by the Methodist Church in Parramatta until the twentieth century, when in 1933, the congregation participated in a “Parramatta Pilgrimage” to her gravesite at St. John’s Cemetery (and other sites of Methodist interest in the town). During the 1980s, a short-lived congregation meeting space was named “The Catherine Leigh Room.” The installation of a new plaque at Mrs. Leigh’s gravesite in St. John’s Cemetery is a current project of the Parramatta Mission Heritage Committee.

[56] Inscription – gravestone of Catherine Leigh, St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta, 1831. Catherine’s grave is located in Section 2, Row U, No. 1. For a transcription of her gravestone inscription, see Judith Dunn, The Parramatta Cemeteries: St. John’s, (Parramatta: Parramatta and District Historical Society, 1991), p. 140.

© Copyright 2019 Elizabeth de Réland