Agnes Beaumont


Agnes Beaumont is known for the autobiographical account she wrote detailing the misfortunes that befell her following her membership in 1672 of a Baptist congregation of John Bunyan at Gamlingay, a step bitterly opposed by her father. His sudden death in 1674 led to unfounded allegations that she had murdered him. These were compounded by other rumours suggesting, among other things, that she had had an illicit relationship with Bunyan.

Not published until 1760, two manuscript copies of Beaumont's Narrative are known to survive (BmA 1-2), one of them ‘Taken from a Coppy Transcribed from a MS.S. in the hands of Mrs. Kenwrick at Bavant in Hampshire’. So at least four manuscript copies were once in existence, and it seems likely that yet others were produced and put into limited circulation, not least in order to exonerate her of the false charges against her.

Various records and documents in Bedfordshire, Hampshire and Essex record offices, as well as the National Archives, Kew, including two bearing her signature (*BmA 3-4), help to flesh out her own vivid Narrative, including details of her later life and two marriages. These are cited in the brief biography by Patricia L. Bell: ‘Agnes Beaumont of Edworth’, Bunyan Studies: Bunyan and his Times, 10 (2001/2). 7-28.

Peter Beal