Tuesday 4 November 2014

Agnes Strickland Brief Biography.

Agnes Strickland - Some further Images and a Brief Biography.
Frontispiece from The Life of Agnes Strickland
By Jane Margaret Strickland. 1887.

Agnes Strickland (1796 -1874) was second of Eight children, five of whom achieved some sort of literary fame. Her father Thomas Strickland d.1818. He was described as an Importer and Manager of the Greenland Docks in Rotherhithe. Noted as Wharfinger in The Gazette of  6 March 1792.  His father was clerk at Wells and Hallets Dockyard, which later became the Greenland Docks.

After 1803 he retired from the dock and bought a house in Norwich and rented Stowe House, near Bungay, Suffolk. He kept the house in Norwich where he had invested in his new business Thomas Strickland and Company, Coach Manufactory of St Giles Gate. In 1808 he purchased Reydon Hall, nr Southwold, Suffolk, a large manor house with tenant farms expecting to live the life of a gentleman.
The failure of the coach building business and his death in 1818 (Agnes was 22) severely reduced the family fortunes, and although they still received rents from the land at Reydon Hall, parts of the house had to be closed up. The house in Norwich had to be sold. This resulted in the need to earn some sort of living.
Their financial circumstances, forced the Strickland girls to supplement the family income by writing for the literary markets available to young ladies during the pre-Victorian period. There was a demand for children’s books and the sisters wrote for many such works. They also contributed stories and poems to the flourishing gift-book and annual trade of the 1820's but their most significant outlet was the magazines for women. It was in such periodicals as the Ladys Magazine and Museum (1831–37) and the Court Magazine and Monthly Critic (1838–47) that Agnes and Elizabeth first published biographical sketches of royal ladies, and in La Belle Assemblée (1827–28).
Agnes Strickland aged 50
Signed and dated E Hodges Bailey RA. 1846
Cropped image from the portrait of Agnes Strickland by John Hayes, 1846. NPG.
The Strickland Children.
Agnes Strickland was the second of eight children - the first six were girls, followed by two boys. Five of the children had some sort of literary career.
Elizabeth Strickland (1794 - 85) was co author with Agnes in many of her work but preferred to remain in the background. She never married.
Jane Margaret Strickland - (1800 - 88),  was born 18 April 1800. She died at Park Lane Cottage, Southwold, Suffolk,14 June 1888, and was buried in the churchyard there beside her sister Agnes. Her chief work was ‘Rome, Republican and Regal: a Family History of Rome.’ It was edited by Agnes, and published in two volumes in 1854. She wrote some insignificant books for children, and a biography of her sister The Life of Agnes Strickland, published in 1887.She never married.
Catherine Parr Strickland, b. Rotherhithe, Kent (9 June 1802 - 1899). m. Thomas Traill ( d. 1859) an Orcadian, retired Army Officer They emigrated to Newcastle Canada in 1832.
Catherine Parr Strickland - National Archives of Canada.
A small selection of her writings -
The Tell Tale: an original collection of moral and amusing stories including The Blind Highland piper and other stories(1818).
The Young Emigrants (about settlement in Canada) 1826, after favourable reports sent from her brother Samuel Strickland
The Backwoods of Canadabeing letters from the wife of an emigrant officerillustrative of the domestic economy of British America (London, 1836)
Canadian Crusoes:  a tale of the Rice Lake plains (1852)
Pearls and Pebbles (1894)
Susanna Strickland, (1803 - 85)  b. 6 Dec 1803 at Bungay, Suffolk, married Lt John Wedderburn Dunbar Moodie, retired from the 21st Foot on half pay 4 April 1831, at St Pancras Church London met at Thomas Pringles house in Hampstead, wrote two anti-slavery tracts, The history of Mary Prince, a West Indian slave . . . (1831) and Negro slavery described by a negro: being the narrative of Ashton Warner (1831). They emigrated to Canada in the summer of 1832. She wrote -
Roughing it in the Bush. 1852. pub. Richard Bentley. The edition published in 1988 has a very useful introduction written by Carl Ballstadt. This very popular work probably saved the family fortunes and is now acknowledged as a Canadian classic.
Life in the Clearings. 1853
Canadian Setters Guide. 1855
Susanna (Strickland) Moodie.
National Library of Canada.
See - Work of Words: The Writing of Susanna Strickland Moodie, By John Thurston. 1996
Sarah Strickland - 1798 - 1890. She appears to have been delegated to looking after their mother
Samuel Strickland. b.6 Nov 1804, He emigrated to Canada in 1825. In 1852 Mary Strickland died giving birth to her 13th child, and Samuel, with one of his daughters, visited his sisters in England. There Agnes, now famous as a writer of historical novels and biographies, persuaded her brother to write down the story of his life and times in Canada. Twenty-seven years in Canada West(1853). He died at Lakefield, Canada in3 Jan 1867
Thomas Strickland. 1807 - 74. Became a sailor.
There appeared to be something of a schism between Agnes, Elizabeth and Sarah and the other three sisters in the 1820's Agnes and Elizabeth being drawn to the High Church whilst the others were drawn in the opposite direction towards the Dissenters or low Church, which might have contributed to Catherine and Susanna's emigration to Canada, although any rift was mended in later years.
After the death, on 3 Sept. 1864 of her mother, Reydon Hall, which had always been the family home, was sold, and Agnes removed to Park Lane Cottage, Southwold. She had just finished revising the proofs of a new edition of the ‘Queens,’ which appeared in six volumes in 1864–5. In the latter year she published a novel in three volumes, ‘How will it end?’ for which Richard Bentley paid her £250. There was a second edition in the same year. In 1869 she visited Holland in order to collect materials for her ‘Lives of the last Four Princesses of the Royal House of Stuart’ (published 1872), her last work. At The Hague she had an interview with the queen of the Netherlands.
On 3 Aug. 1870 she was granted a pension of 100l. from the civil list (cf. Colles, Literature and the Pension List, p. 54). In 1872 her health gave way; she broke an ankle through a fall, partial paralysis supervened, and she died at Southwold on 13 July 1874. She was buried in the churchyard of Southwold.
Reydon Hall, Southwold, Suffolk.
                 Selected Works of Agnes Strickland. 
  • Lives of the Queens of England. 12 vols., 1840–1848
  • The Letters of Mary Queen of Scots. 1842-1843
  • Lives of the Queens of Scotland and English Princesses Connected with the Regal Succession of Great Britain. 8 Vols., 1851–1859
  • Lives of the Bachelor Kings of England. 1861
  • The Lives of the Seven Bishops Committed to the Tower in 1688. Enriched and Illustrated with Personal Letters, Now First Published, from the Bodleian Library. 1866
  • Lives of the Tudor Princesses, Including Lady Jane Gray and Her Sisters. 1868
  • Lives of the Last Four Princesses of the Royal House of Stuart. 1872

  • Children's Books


    • The Moss-House: In Which Many of the Works of Nature Are Rendered a Source of Amusement to Children. 1822
    • The Tell-Tell. 1823
    • The Aviary; Or, An Agreeable Visit. Intended for Children. 1824
    • The Use of Sight: Or, I Wish I Were Julia : Intended for the Amusement and Instruction of Children. 1824
    • The Little Tradesman, or, A Peep into English Industry. 1824
    • The Young Emigrant. 1826
    • The Rival Crusoes, or, The Shipwreck: Also A Voyage to Norway; and The Fisherman's Cottage : Founded on Facts. 1826
    • The Juvenile Forget Me Not; Or, Cabinet of Entertainment and Instruction. 1827
    • Historic Tales of Illustrious British Children. 1833
    • Tales of the School Room. 1835
    • Tales and Stories From History. 1836
    • Alda, the British Captive. 1841 



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