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Fanshawe, Ann


Subject Literature » Renaissance Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405194495.2012.x


Ann, Lady Fanshawe (1625–80), a Royalist writer, was known during her life primarily as the wife of Sir Richard Fanshawe, the translator and diplomat. She left two unpublished works, a memoir and a cookbook, both of which are of significant historical and literary importance. Most of what we know about Lady Fanshawe is reported in her memoir. She was born Ann Harrison, on 25 March 1625, in St Olave, London. Her father, Sir John Harrison (d.1669), from rather undistinguished gentry stock, succeeded in business, buying a coat of arms and a large estate. Her mother, Margaret Fanshawe (d. 1640), was the daughter of Robert Fanshawe of Fanshawe Gate, Derbyshire. Ann reports in her memoir that her childhood was peaceful, ‘with great plenty and hospitality, but no lavishness’. She describes herself as a ‘hoyting girle’, or wild child, though trained also (under her mother's tutelage) in all the skills appropriate to her gender and class, such as dancing, music, needlework, and French ( Loftis 1979 ). Upon her mother's death, Ann took charge of her father's accounts, and her new responsibilities coincided with a period of great turmoil for the family. In 1642 her father, an avowed royalist, was imprisoned and his estate sequestered, forcing the Harrisons into relative impoverishment. The Civil War inaugurated a long period of struggle for the Fanshawe family, punctuated by intervals of relative ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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