Wes Talks: Hannah More: Moral Reformer or Political Manipulator?

Exploring the public voice of one Bristolian woman in the 18th century, a social influencer of her time who spoke up for what she believed in.

This talk is part of a new series of talks for 2021 exploring life and faith in today’s world, open to everyone.

Taking place online, the New Room is pleased to welcome three speakers to join in conversation; Historian and Heritage Educator Dr Jo Edwards, Journalist and Author Jane Duffus and Learning and Development Officer for The Methodist Church Dr Wendy Allen.

With the Georgian backdrop of satire, enlightenment and liberty, Bristol born Hannah More (1745-1833) raised her voice to campaign for what she believed. As an educator, social reformer and Bluestocking her values made centre stage in her playwriting, religious repository tracts and philanthropy. Join Historian Dr Jo Edwards (Trustee of the Hannah More Trust) as we explore More’s life, her views and discuss what we can learn from her earnestness to be heard in the midst of widespread opposition. This leads us to question: what has changed now for women campaigning against the grain in public life?

Dr Jo Edwards is a historian of Hannah More’s Mendip schools and a heritage education professional.  She is a trustee of The Hannah More Trust, a charity founded to advance the education of the general public in the historic significance of the life and works of Hannah More. She is also Chair of Trustees of Nailsea Tithe Barn Trust, site of one of Hannah More’s schools from 1792 to 1833.  Since 2012, Jo has led their education team as part of a Heritage Lottery funded project. She teaches about Hannah More to all ages, from primary school children to adults in continuing education.

Jane Duffus is an author, journalist, editor, and public speaker. She is currently working on her fifth book, Elegantly Understated: 175 Years of the Fears Watch Company, which will be published in spring 2021.  Her fourth book, The Women Who Built Bristol: Volume Two, was published in October 2019. After almost a decade working on lifestyle newsstand magazines in London (and a further decade freelancing from her current home in Bristol), Jane’s key areas of interest are independent pop culture, women’s history, feminism and endurance running.

Dr Wendy Allen is a Learning & Development Officer for the South West region of The Methodist Church. Wendy recently joined the team from being a religious education specialist in secondary education. Her main areas of work are in Worship: Leading & Preaching, candidate support, and supporting life-long learning in all ages and stages of faith. Her journey with Methodism so far has imbued her with a deep love of Wesley hymns, a spiritual life centred on the sacramental and a commitment to always seeking deeper theological understanding.

Everyone joining us for this Wes Talk will receive a Zoom code/link on the day of the event. You will also be invited to ask questions during the event if you wish. This event has been organised in conjunction with the Methodist Church’s Learning Network South West.

Tickets: £5



  • 15th March 2021 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm
  • 7:30 pm