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Agnes Strickland

Writer , Poet.

Country:United Kingdom

Lifetime: 1796 - 1874 Passed: ≈ 148 years ago

Agnes was an English historical writer and poet. She is particularly remembered for her Lives of the Queens of England.


The daughter of Thomas Strickland and his wife Elizabeth Agnes was born in Rotherhithe, at that time in Surrey, where her father was employed as a manager of the Greenland Dock. She was christened at St Mary's Church, Rotherhithe on 18 August 1796. The family subsequently moved to Thorpe Hamlet, Norwich, and then Stowe House, near Bungay, Suffolk, before settling in 1808 at Reydon Hall, Reydon, near Southwold, also in Suffolk. Agnes' siblings were Elizabeth, Sarah, Jane Margaret, Catharine Parr Traill, Susanna Moodie (1803–1885) Tom and Samuel Strickland. Agnes and her elder sister Elizabeth were educated by their father to a standard more usual for boys at that time. All of the children except Sarah and Tom eventually became writers.


Agnes began her literary career with a poem, Worcester Field, followed by The Seven Ages of Woman and Demetrius. Abandoning poetry, she produced Historical Tales of Illustrious British Children (1833), The Pilgrims of Walsingham (1835) and Tales and Stories from History (1836). Her chief works, however, are Lives of the Queens of England from the Norman Conquest, and Lives of the Queens of Scotland, and English Princesses, etc.. (8 vols., 1850–1859), Lives of the Bachelor Kings of England (1861), and Letters of Mary Queen of Scots, in some of which she was assisted by her sister Elizabeth. Strickland's researches were laborious and conscientious, and she remains a useful source. Her style is engaging and anecdotal, not as objective as most modern historians, but gives a valuable insight into the mores of her own time.


Much of the Strickland sisters' historical research and writing was done by Elizabeth. Elizabeth, however, refused all publicity, and Agnes was named as sole author. Their biographical works are fine representations of the biographies written by Victorian women, many of which focused on female subjects and included aspects of social history such as dress, manners, and diet.


Agnes' sisters Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Traill became particularly well known for their works about pioneer life in early Canada, where they both emigrated with their husbands in 1832. Agnes Strickland was a friend and correspondent of the Scottish poet and composer, Mary Maxwell Campbell.


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Books by Agnes Strickland