‘Serious duties’: Henry Thornton and Marianne Sykes

Anne Stott

in Wilberforce

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199699391
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739132 | DOI:
‘Serious duties’: Henry Thornton and Marianne Sykes

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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Following the pattern of the preceding chapter this deals with Henry Thornton’s courtship of Marianne Sykes, making extensive use of the material in the Thornton, Wilberforce and Venn papers. It begins with a discussion of Henry Thornton, his character, his relationships with his parents, John and Lucy Thornton, and his close involvement with Hannah More’s Cheap Repository Tracts. His initial proposal to Marianne Sykes was turned down, but when she accepted him, she found that her life was taken over by the Clapham sect. However, she was able to assert some independence in vetoing her fiancé’s more extravagant plans for setting up their household in Battersea Rise. The story of their courtship is used to illustrate Protestant, and particularly Evangelical views on marriage, male chastity, and mother-daughter relationships.

Keywords: Henry Thornton; John Thornton; Hannah More; Cheap Repository Tracts; male chastity; Marianne Sykes; Battersea Rise; marriage; mother-daughter relationships; Evangelical

Chapter.  6858 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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