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  


An amanuensis is ‘a literary assistant, especially one who writes from dictation’. The Ladies Museum Monthly (see below) states that Priscilla’s final three books were written by an amanuensis.

The last three of Priscilla’s books were An Introduction to the Natural History and Classification of Insect, 1816, A Brief Memoir of the life of William Penn, 1816 and Traveller in Asia, 1817. However this may not reflect the actual time they were written.

But, reading Priscilla’s books chronologically it is clear that a change is taking place in the writing style.  The Traveller in Africa, 1814 possibly being a critical point in that transition. By the end of the book gone is the sparkle and freshness of The Juvenile Travellers and Excursions in North America.  One  telling aspect is the apparent careless abandonment of the character of Sancho who was separated from his friend Arthur in Africa and not referred to again. The critical question is who may have been the literary assistant and where was the line drawn between dictation and writing?  Was it daughter Bell or granddaughter Catherine or another family member?

Published in: on February 26, 2012 at 6:36 am  Comments (1)  


In the years following 1810 Priscilla’s physical health began to decline. She seems to have experienced problems with her legs that, according to Philip Temple in A Sort of Conscience, resulted in her being confined to a wheelchair. In 1813 with the assistance of Kitty (Catherine Wakefield) she left her home in Tottenham to live in Ipswich near her daughter Bell.

Published in: on February 6, 2012 at 8:07 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  

Editions, editions, editions

The following publication gives an interesting indication of the number of editions of Priscilla’s books that were published to the year 1867. See pages 848-851 for the listing. Also note the publications of Priscilla’s sons and grandson.

See : Descriptive Catalogue of Friends’ Books

Full title is: ‘A Descriptive Catalogue of Friends’ Books. or Books Written by Members of the Society of Friends, Commonly called Quakers, From their First Rise to the Present Time, Intersperced with Remarks, and Occasional Biographical Notices, and Including all Writings by Authors before Joining, and by those After Having Left the Society, Whether Adverse or Not, as Far as Known.’ By Joseph Smith, Vol II, London: Joseph Smith, 1867.

Published in: on December 22, 2011 at 8:25 am  Leave a Comment  


A recent edition of the Journal of Literature and Science has the theme of ‘Women in Botany’. The articles by Sam George and Alison E. Martin discuss Priscilla Wakefield in this historical context.

The journal can be viewed on the University of Glamorgan website at the following adress http://literatureandscience.research.glam.ac.uk/journal/issue4-1/ 

I have updated the following post to include this new material. https://pw1751.wordpress.com/2009/08/09/botanical-priscilla/

Also see https://pw1751.wordpress.com/2010/11/14/priscilla-and-the-natural-world/


Published in: on December 21, 2011 at 9:04 am  Leave a Comment  

Orlando: women’s writing

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


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  

Edward’s children

 Priscilla’s son Edward Wakefield was married twice. First to Susannah Crush in 1791 and following is a list of their children. After Susan’s death he married Frances Davies in 1822.

Catherine Gurney (1793-1873)

Edward Gibbon (1796-1862)

Daniel Bell (1798-1858)

Arthur (1799-1843)

William Hayward (1801-1848)

John Howard (1803-1862)

Felix (1807-1875)

Priscilla (1809-1887)

Percy (1810-1832)

Un-named (1813)

 Source: A Sort of Conscience The Wakefields, Philip Temple, Auckland University Press, 2002.

Published in: on November 7, 2011 at 8:14 am  Leave a Comment