I found a paper about Lady Elizabeth Clerke Gauden (c.1620-1684).
Clapham Parish Register records her marriage – as Elizabeth Clerke – to Denis Gauden in 1653 and her burial on 2 May 1684. Between 1665 and 1678 she corresponded with the Rev. Simon Patrick.
[Simon Patrick (1626-1707) was a liberal Anglican divine, parish priest in London and a Royal Chaplain in 1671. Elizabeth Gauden was a London parishioner, who lived with her family in Clapham. Simon Patrick was vicar of Battersea (1657 - 1675) and rector of St. Paul’s, Covent Garden (1662 - 1689). Lady Elizabeth and Alderman Sir Denis Gauden might have invited him to their house, or Elizabeth might have approached him to be her spiritual advisor. Whatever their initial contact, the preconditions for their friendship were a combination of local and religious aspects. He later became Bishop of Chichester in 1689 and of Ely from 1691 until his death in 1707.]
Their relationship was conducted within the framework of norms of Christian love that allows for and furthers close personal friendships as part of a pious Christian life.
Living in the same town, Patrick and Gauden practiced their friendship intensively. Their letters tell of their personal encounters, and notes failed attempts to meet, when the one was not at home when the other called.
When the plague raged in London, Elizabeth Gauden fled to her family in Burntwood, Essex.
This is the one instance when Patrick acknowledges a conflict between his obligations to comply with his friend’s wishes and his duties towards the community of his parish.
Elizabeth Gauden begged Patrick to leave London. Patrick stressed his wish to be with his friend, yet he remained in London, looking after his parishioners.
During the months the friends were not physically close, their correspondence upheld their connection and communication.
This paper examines the spiritual friendship between Gauden and Patrick, which the author claims has never been dealt with in depth. Harris and Perry merely mentioned their correspondence as an example of early modern intellectual and religious friendship between men and women conducted by letters. Moote and Moote use the correspondence in their historical study of the 1665 London plague, but their sketch of the friendship does not define ‘the precise nature of this bond between a married woman and a bachelor minister’.
While the focus in their correspondence was often on Elizabeth Gauden’s
situation of spiritual struggle, Patrick never adopted a position of superiority, but presented himself and Elizabeth as fellow-travelers, as companions. They emerge as friends who mutually sustained, upheld and inspired each other. They discuss their central philosophical and theological concerns: how to prepare themselves for life in the heavenly community and the union with the divine. On the one hand, their epistolary exchange focuses on questions of how to reach meditative states of spiritual tranquillity that they considered necessary for approaching God and attaining knowledge of the divine pleasures to be experienced in heaven.
On the other hand, Patrick and Gauden stress the sociable aspect of a life preparatory for the enjoyment of the heavenly community.
Doesn't sound like Sir William had much to worry about, beyond the fact that he and his wife clearly didn't communicate about her spiritual needs.
The Friendship between Elizabeth Gauden and Simon Patrick
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
I previously posted about Rev. Symon Patrick of St. Paul's, Covent Garden at
He wrote enormously influential books about the role of the Church of England in bridging the gap between Catholicism and Non=Conformity in the late 1660's, helping to thwart Charles II's efforts at toleration.
Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.