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Agnes Strickland

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Agnes Strickland
Agnes Strickland by John Hayes, 1846
Agnes Strickland by John Hayes, 1846
Born(1796-07-18)18 July 1796
Died8 July 1874(1874-07-08) (aged 77)

Agnes Strickland (18 July 1796 – 8 July 1874) was an English historical writer and poet. She is particularly remembered for her Lives of the Queens of England (12 vols, 1840–1848).


The daughter of Thomas Strickland and his wife Elizabeth (née Homer), 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.[1] Agnes' siblings were Elizabeth, Sarah, Jane Margaret, Catharine Parr Traill, Susanna Moodie (1803–1885), Thomas, 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.[2]

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, 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 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 the 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.[3]

Agnes' sisters Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Traill became particularly well known for their works about pioneer life in early Canada,[4] 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.[5]

Literary works[edit]


  • 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[edit]

  • 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



 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainCousin, John William (1910). "Strickland, Agnes". A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature. London: J. M. Dent & Sons – via Wikisource.


  1. ^ Cooper 1946.
  2. ^ Mitchell 2004.
  3. ^ Maitzen 1995.
  4. ^ "CBC Archives".
  5. ^ Edwards, David H. (1880). One hundred modern Scottish poets : with biographical and critical notices. Brechin: Edwards. p. 176. Retrieved 18 November 2019.

External links[edit]