Research

There has been interest from later descendants and academics in researching Priscilla Wakefield. One of the descendants was Mrs Mary Priscilla Mitchell who accumulated a lot of Wakefield material. Following is a link to the transcript of a recording that was made in 1986 and held in the Borrow Collection at Flinders University http://hdl.handle.net/2328/23546 Click on the ‘view/open’ link to read the transcript.

Of particular interest is the confirmation that Priscilla’s Journals could not be located at that time and appear to be lost.

Published in: on May 25, 2013 at 5:20 am  Comments (1)  

Ailing Priscilla

Because of continuing ill-health Priscilla moved to Ipswich in 1813 to live near her daughter Bell. But it appears she left alone and husband Edward was not included in the removal. Over time Edward Wakefield had become an increasingly shadowy figure whose presence seemed more of an irritant to Priscilla especially when he chose to ‘stay down’ (downstairs) when she wanted to write. Edward died in 1826, the same year his grandsons Edward Gibbon and William Wakefield would be tried and convicted for the abduction of a young woman in a failed elopement plan.

Priscilla spent the remaining 19 years of her life in Ipswich. Her health greatly deteriorated and was of such concern that she was not told immediately told of Catherine’s marriage in 1823 for fear of the excitement. (A Sort of a Conscience, p. 76) She died in September 1832 as the former convict Edward Gibbon Wakefield was reinventing himself as a colonial reformer.

In his publication A Letter from Sydney, published in 1829, a fictional character visits his Grandmother who is quite possibly modelled on Priscilla.

“Just before I embarked at Plymouth, I visited my grandmother, in order to take leave of her for ever. Poor old soul! She was already dead to the concerns of this life ; my departure could make but little difference in the time of our separation, and in regard to her affection for me, it could be of no importance to her which of us should quit the other. My resolution, however revived her for a day all her woman’s feelings. She shed an abundance of tears, and then became extremely curious to know every particular about the place I was going. I rubbed her spectacles whilst she wiped her eyes, and having places before her a common English chart of the world, pointed out the situation of New Holland.”

A digital copy of A Letter from Sydney can be found here http://archive.org/details/aletterfromsydn00gouggoog

London, Sugar and Slavery

Since 2007 the Museum of London Docklands have had a permanent exhibition that examines London’s involvement with the slave trade. The website is here http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/Docklands/Whats-on/Galleries/LSS/ and along with may other people Priscilla’s work to highlight this isssue is acknowledged here http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/Docklands/Whats-on/Galleries/LSS/Map/Resistance/People/102.htm

Published in: on December 28, 2012 at 8:51 am  Leave a Comment  

Religion

Bell, Priscilla’s daughter Isabella, married Quaker Joshua Head in 1799. He was a brewer and the couple lived at Woodbridge near Ipswich. Little of the detail of Bell’s life is known but the obituary of her daughter Lucy provides a glimpse. It states that Lucy was ‘granddaughter to Priscilla Wakefield, the writer and philanthropist, and daughter to one who for many years was the foremost in all religious and philanthropic work in Ipswich’. The obituary goes on to state that ‘at the age of 16 [Lucy] followed her mother, who had received baptism a few years previously under deep spiritual convictions into the Church of England’.

Lucy was born in 1803 and would have been 16 years old in 1819 which means that Bell probably changed her religious affiliation at the time the aging Priscilla was living with her.

Source : ‘In Memoriam : Mrs Vincent Stanton’,  The Ipswich Journal, Issue 8069, 9 Jan 1883.

Published in: on April 29, 2012 at 9:21 am  Leave a Comment  

Early London days

The information in the birth and death certificates of Edward and Priscilla’s children give the place of abode of the couple. Edward was a merchant in Lad Lane and in the early 1770’s was in partnership with several other men. In 1772 their place of abode was Lad Lane, St Lawrence and by 1775 it is given as Clements Court, Milk Street. These two streets were very close to each other and intersect. Following is a link to a 1775 map of the area http://mapco.net/bowles1775/bowles07_01.htm#image

Unfortunately in 1775 the business was burgled and in 1779 it went into  bankruptcy.

See the following :

 http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?id=t17751206-45&div=t17751206-45 and http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/records.aspx?cat=074-acc0953&cid=1-2#1-2

Published in: on March 31, 2012 at 7:46 am  Leave a Comment  

The Ladies’ Monthly Museum

In the following publication, at pages 61-64, is a portrait and biography of Mrs Priscilla Wakefield dated August 1818.

The Ladies’ Monthly Museum ; or, Polite Repository of Amusement and Instruction ; Being an Assemblage of Whatever can Tend to Please the Fancy, Interest the Mind, or Exalt the Character of The British Fair, Vol VIII, Improved Series, London: Dean and Munday, 1818.

It is available on Google Books here

This source was referenced in an article by Alison E. Martin published by the Journal of Literature and Science, see the post on Botany

Published in: on January 23, 2012 at 9:06 am  Leave a Comment  

1798 – 1799

For a transcript of Priscilla’s journal for the years 1798 – 1799 see the following: http://pw1751journal.wordpress.com/2011/12/31/the-journals-of-priscilla-wakefield-1798-1799/

Published in: on January 6, 2012 at 6:51 am  Leave a Comment  

Orlando: women’s writing

Following is a link to the information about Priscilla on the Orlando website

Orlando

Click on the tabs along the top to view. Note some of the early biographical information does not seem to be entirely accurate.

Published in: on November 9, 2011 at 9:19 am  Leave a Comment  

Priscilla’s grandchildren

I have compiled the information in the last two posts into this list of grandchildren organised by their year of birth. 

  1. Catherine Gurney Wakefield (1793-1873)
  2. Barclay Head (b.1796)
  3. Edward Gibbon Wakefield (1796-1862)
  4. Alfred Head (b.1797)
  5. Daniel Bell Wakefield (1798-1858)
  6. Caroline Head (b.1798)
  7. Arthur Wakefield (1799-1843)
  8. John Head (b.1800)
  9. William Hayward Wakefield (1801-1848)
  10. Benjamin Head (b. 1801)
  11. John Howard Wakefield (1803-1862)
  12. Lucy Anne Head (b, 1803)
  13. Edward Head (b. 1805)
  14. Henry Head (b. 1806)
  15. Felix Wakefield (1807-1875)
  16. Maria Priscilla Head (b. 1808)
  17. Priscilla Wakefield (1809-1887)
  18. Mary Head (b. 1810)
  19. Percy Wakefield (1810-1832)
  20. Joshua Wheeler Head (b. 1812)
  21. Un-named Wakefield (1813)
Published in: on November 7, 2011 at 8:31 am  Leave a Comment  

Political and feminist economists

Information about Priscilla, along with other significant eighteenth century women, is available on the following website that is managed by Dr. Edith Kuiper, Faculty of Economics and Business, Universiteit van Amsterdam.

http://www.politicalandfeministeconomists.com/

Published in: on October 8, 2011 at 4:31 am  Leave a Comment