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Frances Boscawen

Courtesy of C. Aspinall-Oglander, Admiral's Widow (c. 1943)

Frances Boscawen was born in 1719 in St. Clere, the only child of Frances Glanville and William Evelyn. William took his wife’s name upon marriage, giving young Frances the last name Glanville. Little is known of her youth and development.

In 1742, Frances married Edward Boscawen, a noted Admiral who later became General of the Marines. Edward’s occupation would prove to be crucial to his wife’s development as a writer. Many of her early letters were written while her husband was away at

sea. The couple had five children; two of her sons died tragically while traveling. Frances is known for being a notable domestic and had a reputation as an ideal wife and mother.

After her husband’s death in 1761, Frances became an important hostess of Bluestocking meetings. She was close friends with Elizabeth Montagu, often thought of as “Queen of the Blues”, who was also a hostess of these events. Frances took on the role of typical Bluestocking hostess, in that she used her home to facilitate the exchange of ideas, but published little of her own writing.

Most of Frances’ letters were published after her death in 1805, particularly in William Roberts’ biography of Hannah More (1844). Her letters to her husband, preserved by her family, were published largely in a collection called Admiral’s Wife (1940). A second compilation of her letters was published in 1943, entitled Admiral’s Widow. Most of her letters, however, remain unpublished.