Forged in Faith

A Legacy of Morpeth’s Close Family

This little green book of religious instruction has been cared for by generations of women. Wilson on the Lord’s Supper was first published in 1733 by a bishop from the Isle of Man. His words reached the small settlement of Morpeth in New South Wales, via the early St James’s Church of England parishioners. Among them was Marrianne (Minnie) Close (1827-1903), one of nine children raised in the grand colonial-era house Closebourne. The inscription inside the cover reads, ‘To dear Mary Anne from her affectionate sister Minnie Close, July 9th 1853.’ 

 Mary Anne Platt held onto the book for almost two decades before giving it to her niece, Mary Platt, on her confirmation at St Peters Church in Maitland in the late 1870s. When Mary Platt married Alfred Beckett and started her own family, she too passed on the treasured book to her daughter, Madge Beckett.

Madge’s daughter Valerie Anne Mitchell was the last link in the line of women who turned through these pages. Her son Rory Edward Gray donated the book to the Morpeth Museum, where it remains as testament to the deep extended family ties forged between early settler families in the region.