Female and Male Voices in Early Modern England: An Anthology of Renaissance Writing

By Betty S. Travitsky; Anne Lake Prescott | Go to book overview

10
Sarah Chevers (fl. 1663) and
Katherine Evans (d. 1692)
William Weston (1550–1615)

Sarah Chevers and Katherine Evans on Their Imprisonment

Sarah Chevers (or Cheevers) (fl. 1663) of Slaughterford, Wiltshire, and Katherine Evans (d. 1692) of Somerset, wife of John Evans, a Quaker minister and landowner there, left their families in 1658 on a missionary trip to Alexandria. En route, they were imprisoned by the Inquisition in Malta for three years. Both women remained steadfast despite harsh treatment and the danger to their lives. They were visited in Malta by another Quaker, Daniel Baker, who interceded for them with the authorities (unsuccessfully) and encouraged them to hold fast to their faith. After their release, achieved through such strategies as a hunger strike and threatening prophecies on their own part, as well as diplomatic negotiations, they traveled to Tangiers, where they were well received. Evans was imprisoned twice more—in London's Newgate in 1682 and in the city of Bristol. A Short Relation is the story of their experiences, interspersed with prayers, meditations, hymns, letters, visions, and prophecies; the introduction by Daniel Baker justifies the women's mission: “the living God Eternal hath chosen the weak things to confound and bring to naught the things that are mighty, subtle, and potent.” The book was expanded by Evans in 1663 as A True Account and revised again that year as A Brief Discovery in order to include Chevers's account of her visions. Our selections from A Short Relation are from the 1662 edition.

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