Timeline: Women write; the Devon text; A Chronological list of names, places and texts.

Women write; the Devon text; a Chronological list of names, places and texts   

Old Vicarage Ilfracombe 
Charlotte Chanter and her husband
(Photo: kindly provided by Ilfracombe Museum)

Here you'll find a more or less chronological list with names of some of the women writers who had connections with Devon, brief information about the place where they lived or stayed, followed by one or more of their writings, followed by the date of printing or publishing, if known and in some cases a link to find out more. In no way is this a definitive list of all the women who may have written in or about Devon up to 1965, but many of them are key to the lost canon of female writers connected with the county.


Margaret Beaufort, Duchess of Richmond, Henry VII’s Mother. Sampford Peverell: Translation of Blanchardine and Eglantine, 1488; Ship of Fools printed, 1509.

Honor Grenville, Viscountess Lisle, (b. ca.1493). married Sir John Bassett of Umberleigh. Keen letter writer, remembered because of The Lisle Letters

Katherine Courtenay, sister in law of Henry VII, Tiverton Castle: Will, 1527.

Anne Dowriche, Mount Edgecumbe, Lapford and Honiton: The French Histoire, 1589.

Ursula Fulford, of Great Fulford, may have known Anne Dowrich and may have written or translated early texts.

Anne, Lady Southwell (Harris), Cornworthy, Commonplace Book, early C16.

Civil War/Stuarts

Priscilla Cotton, Exeter: To the Priests and People of England, 1655.

Celia Fiennes 1662-1741, Journalist, visited Exeter 1698 and Mount Edgecumbe, 1680s

Lady Ann Clifford, Chudleigh, Pharmacopia, 1690.

Late C17-end C18

Mary Palmer (1716–1794),  Plymouth (See Plymouth's Literary Past)  and Torrington. See A Devonshire Dialect

Delariviere Manley, in South-West England, 1694-96, Stage Coach Jou rney to Exeter, 1725.

Hannah Cowley, Tiverton, The Runaway, 1776; Collected Works, 1813; The Maid of Aragon, 1780.

Margaret Croker, Holbeton, The Question, Who is Anna? (?)

Mary Ward, Brixham, Original Poems, 1807.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sidmouth and Torquay, Prometheus Bound (trans), 1833.

Grace Aguilar, Tavistock and Teignmouth, The Magic Wreath, 1835.

Charlotte Yonge, Puslinch, ​The Daisy Chain, 1856.

Charlotte Chanter, Ilfracombe, Ferny Combes, 1856.

Maria Susannah Gibbons, East Budleigh, Travels in a Donkey, 1885/7.

Late C19-Early - Mid C20

Mary Elizabeth Coleridge, Poetry (childhood holidays Halsdon, in Devon). 

Edith Dart, Crediton, 5 novels between 1908 and 1920, including Miriam (1908); Rebecca DrewLikeness (1911); and Sareel (1922).

Zack (pseudonym of Gwendoline Keats -1865-1919), like Edith Dart, author of at least 5 novels, the first published in 1898. Titles included On Trial (1899); The Roman Road (1903); Tales of Dunstable Weir (1901); and The White Cottage (1901).

Mary Patricia Willcocks, Ivybridge and Exeter, The Wingless Victory, 1907, Wings of Desire, 1912.

May Sinclair, Sidmouth, Audrey Craven, 1897, Mary Olivier: a Life, 1919.

Margaret Pedler, ​Zeal Monachorum, near Bow, The Hermit of Far End, 1920, The Splendid Folly, 1921.

Mary Elfreda Kelly, Kelly, near Tavistock, wrote Village Theatre, ca. 1917.

Sylvia Townsend Warner, Nr South Brent, Monolith, 1916.

Jean Rhys, Cheriton Fitzpaine, Wide Sargasso Sea, 1966.

Frances Bellerby, Clearbrook and Goveton, Selected Poems, 1986 and A Breathless Child, 1952

Sylvia Plath, North Tawton, The Bell Jar, 1963, Ariel, 1965.


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