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Author: Locke, Mary


LOCKE, Mary, later MISTER (1768-1829:, ODNB)

She was baptised on 28 Sept. 1768, the youngest child of John Lock (sic), an attorney, and his wife Mary Hanwell. Her father died, aged 46, on 22 July 1770, leaving an estate of two cottages and land called Shortlands to his wife. She probably remarried in 1772 and died in 1786. This may have been why Mary Locke's uncle Edward Taylor (related to her paternal grandmother, Ann Taylor) intervened and she went to live at with him at Hill House. He was an accomplished man, educated at Eton, Trinity, and Göttingen. After extensive travel in Europe, he retired to Steeple Aston to pursue his literary interests. She probably wrote Eugenius; or Virtue in Retirement (1791) as a eulogy to him. On his death in 1797, she wrote the memorial to him (“An Orphan who for eleven Years found an asylum under his hospitable Roof . . . ”). She almost certainly contributed the obituary notice to the Gentleman's Magazine where she further eulogised him and identified him as the author of Cursory Remarks on Tragedy (1774), more commonly but erroneously attributed to William Richardson. Taylor made a marriage settlement for her before her marriage to William Mister (1771-1830), surgeon and apothecary, on 18 July 1798 at Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire. They had two children. She died on 22 July 1829 at Church Square, Taunton. She left her husband around £10,000. Just over a year later, the wealthy William Mister went to London, took “a dashing young female,” Eliza Gosling, back to his lodgings, promised her marriage, but then had a heart attack and died in Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, on 26 Oct. 1830. After Eugenius, Mary Locke contributed a series of wild sonnets to the Gentleman's Magazine 1791-1796 and after marriage and children wrote for Darton, Harvey, and Darton, the children’s publisher, Mungo, The Little Traveller (1810), Tales from the Mountains (1811), Little Anecdotes for Little People (1814), Adventures of a Doll (1816), and The Friend of Humble Life (1817). ( 14 Sept. 2020; 14 Sept. 2020; ODNB 14 Sept. 2020; Oxford Journal 29 Apr. 1786; GM Dec. 1797, 1076; Monthly Magazine Aug. 1798, 154; Bell’s Life in London 31 Oct. 1830; Darton 184-5; Memorial Tablet, St. Mary Magdalene, Taunton) AA


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