Home Walks Mary Howitt


Mary Howitt was born on 12th March 1799 at the Lower Farmhouse, Whitecliff, Coleford, the second daughter of Samuel & Ann Botham, Quakers, who had moved from Uttoxeter in 1798.

Her father was associated with the erection of ironworks at Whitecliff, and suffered almost financial ruin in the winter of 1798/9 when his forge was washed away by floods.

The family returned to Uttoxeter, her father having prior to this been offered employment returning to his original work of surveying. Having left Coleford with only £60 of the £1,500 with which they had arrived, their fortunes improved once more.

On 16th April 1821 Mary married William Howitt, a Derbyshire Quaker, and they moved to Hanley, in the Potteries, where earlier in the year William had bought a chemist's shop. Following a tour of Scotland they settled at Nottingham, where her first live baby, Anna Mary, was born on 15th January 1824. They had a large family but only two of their children outlived Mary.

Together Mary and William wrote many literary works, but Mary's best known work still remains "Will you walk into my parlour? Said the Spider to the fly".

Mary died in Rome on 30th January 1888, in her 90th year, having outlived her husband by five years.

Source: "Mary Howitt - Another LOst Victorian Writer" by Joy Duncliff

Right: Lower Farmhouse, Whitecliff, Coleford, where Mary Howitt was born.

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