Mary Love


Mary Love (née Stone) is known as the biographer of her first husband, the Presbyterian minister and writer Christopher Love (1618-51), who was executed during the Protectorate for conspiring with exiled Royalists. Two manuscripts of her biography are known (LoM 1-2), only one of which is complete. Neither has yet been published.

In a determined but unsuccessful attempt to save her husband's life and reputation, Mary Love also submitted four petitions to Parliament, as well as engaging in an exchange with her husband of six fortifying letters in preparation for his death. A collection of these is known to have been made by Nehemiah Wallington (1598-1658), puritan London turner and diarist, although it is not apparently among his various extant notebooks. They were published, together with letters to Christopher Love by several other ‘fellow-Sufferers’, in 1651 as Love's Name Lives: or, A Publication of divers Petitions presented by Mistris Love to the Parliament, in behalf of her Husband. With Severall Letters... [&c.], a series which was incorporated in numerous subsequent publications.

Christopher Love's own prolific writings and polemics on religious issues were printed in various editions and certain manuscript copies, probably based on these prints, are known: for instance, a transcript of the posthumously published The Strange and Wonderfull Predictions of Mr. Christopher Love in Dr Williams's Library, MSS 28.57 (in PP. 12.50*2 (30c)). Manuscripts relating to him include an account of his trial in Folger MS V.a.148, ff. 46r-8r, and an account of his execution in British Library Sloane MS 1786, ff. 190r-1v.

Peter Beal