Betsy White

Betsy White was a young woman from Shepton Mallett in Somerset for whom the Revd James Woodforde showed a romantic interest.

He would walk to Shepton Mallett from the family home in Ansford, a distance of over seven miles using footpaths across fields,  to visit 'sweet tempered' Betsy.   He wrote in his diary that he had a great mind 'to make a bold stroke' and ask her to marry him.  He went so far as to propose marriage 'when opportunity served', and it seems that Betsy was willing. 

However, he delayed, and four years later, Betsy went to Devon, met a Mr. Webster and married him.

Later, when James met the couple on the Turnpike Road he was lost for words, 'being shy',  but in his diary he remarked that 'she has proved herself to me a mere jilt.'

Webster, according to Parson James, had an annual income of £500 and £18,000 in stocks, as well as being heir to his father's estate.  He had settled £300 per annum on Betsy.