Image of Frances Browne


Lifetime: 1816 - 1879 Passed: ≈ 144 years ago


Poet, Novelist



Frances Browne

Frances Browne was an Irish poet and novelist, best remembered for her collection of short stories for children, Granny's Wonderful Chair.

She was born at Stranorlar, in County Donegal, Ireland, the seventh child in a family of twelve children. She was blind as a consequence of an attack of smallpox when she was 18 months old. In her writings, she recounts how she learned by heart the lessons which her brothers and sisters said aloud every evening, and how she bribed them to read to her by doing their chores. She then worked hard at memorising all that she had heard.

She composed her first poem, a version of "The Lord's Prayer", when she was seven years of age.

After her move to London, Browne wrote frequently for the Religious Tract Society's periodicals The Leisure Hour and The Sunday at Home. One of those in The Leisure Hour was "1776: a tale of the American War of Independence", which appeared on the centenary of that event in 1876. As well as describing some of the revolutionary events, it is a love story and beautifully illustrated. Her last piece of writing was a poem called "The Children's Day", which appeared in The Sunday at Home in 1879.

Frances Browne died on 21 August 1879 at 19 St John's Grove, Richmond upon Thames. She was buried in Richmond Cemetery on 25 August 1879.

Books by Frances Browne

Granny's Wonderful Chair  Cover image

Granny's Wonderful Chair

Fairy Tale Novel
Drama Children Myths Childhood Legends Charity Fantastic Fiction

This is the story of Snowflower. Left to fend for herself by her grandmother, Dame Frostyface, Snowflower turns to the ‘wonderful chair’ for company. The chair is able to tell stories and to transport Snowflower wherever she wants to go. In the searc...