from The Ladies of Llangollen

I will take the opportunity to say to readers of “The Ladies of Llangollen,” Happy New Year and welcome to 2021.

Auction results (I rarely FIND the items when they are up-for-sale) often turn out to be treasure. I always welcome searches that turn up tidbits that I hadn’t known about. This is an interesting *find*.

Found on “WorthPoint” (no, I have no subscription), this book was evidently once for sale on eBay. The title: “THE LADIES OF LLANGOLLEN – INSCRIBED PRESENTATION COPY OF CHARLOTTE SMITH”.

  • (AN ASIDE: How is it, if I buy an eBay item, it ends up on WorthPoint, forever; if I miss out buying an item, and I’d like to FIND the old ad forever, it’s never listed there?? Can’t be price because I’ve missed out on some items that went for a great deal. of money)

The book, by Charlotte Smith, is Rural Walks: In Dialogues. Intended for the Use of Young Persons. It is inscribed as being from Lady Eleanor and Miss Ponsonby for a list of PARKER family members. The curious thing: Why is it dated “about 1810 or 12”?? I suspect the inscription was made at a later date, by someone after the initial gift, who was trying to recall from whom and to whom. Therefore, not inscribed by Lady Eleanor or Sarah Ponsonby. Pity…

I will agree that it’s a “remarkable” association copy. [click on the picture to see all the images of the book]

I’ve no clue as to the date of this eBay sale, but as WorthPoint seems the only source now, it’s probably been a while. (eBay makes it tough, somewhat “quickly” to find OLD sales.) No clue either as to the “auction” price.

The “ad” identifies “THE PARKERS: It seems clear that the Parkers to whom the book was presented were the children of Thomas Netherton Parker and Sarah Parker of Sweeney Hall, Oswestry, Shropshire, just 12 miles distant from Llangollen. The Parkers were friends, visitors and correspondents of the Ladies for many years.”

The identity of the children (also from the ad):

  • “T.B. Parker,” is, we believe, Thomas Browne Parker, the eldest son of Thomas and Sarah (née Browne), who died in 1833, aged 36.
  • Second on the list (“J.”) is John, the future Rev. John Parker (1798-1860), vicar of Llanyblodwel, dean of Llangollen, and amateur botanist, architect and artist, with over a thousand drawings in the National Library of Wales.
  • The fourth name (“E.S.”) is the Parkers’ daughter Elizabeth Sarah, who authored a “small work” of verse, A Poesy of Divinity (1845), and in later life became a recluse and purportedly Dickens’ model for the character of Miss Havisham.
  • But it is the third name, “M. Parker”, that is particularly noteworthy. This is MARY PARKER, the future Lady Le…..

And there WorthPoint cuts off the original ad!

In looking up Mary daughter of Thomas Netherton Parker, one finds she married Sir Baldwyn Leighton, but how the sentence concluded, I do not know.

A short article in the Shropshire Star, in slightly debunking the myth that Elizabeth Sarah Parker might have inspired Dickens, Linda Fletcher (archivist, Newport History Society) repeats the story she doesn’t believe: That Elizabeth Sarah became a recluse after being jilted by her lover, Sir Baldwyn Leighton. But didn’t he marry her sister… Tale becomes interesting, but veers off topic.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Elizabeth Cook
    Jan 19, 2021 @ 14:49:07

    Interesting find, Janeite Kelly! Still lamenting when I missed an opportunity to own an original hand-written letter from Sarah in a Sotheby’s auction over ten years ago . . . it went for $300.


    • Janeite Kelly
      Jan 19, 2021 @ 15:53:25

      Hi, Liz –

      We all always lament the ones that “got away”.

      Tough not to think, given the sale price – that must have been a great deal ten years ago. Were you BIDDING and dropped out? Has the letter ever resurfaced??

      Thanks for writing k


  2. gabriellebowe
    Jan 22, 2021 @ 09:09:58

    Hi there, Thanks you for mails which I really enjoy. I have, lately, with the support of the Irish film board finished a screen play about the ladies of Llangollen which I enjoyed writing. I am, though, not interested in producing or directing a movie and so am now looking for a director or producer who might take it to the next stage. If you happen to know of anybody who might be interested in exploring the possibilities of this script you might be able to connect me with them. With best regards Gabrielle Bowe On Sun 17 Jan 2021 at 22:39, The Ladies of Llangollen wrote:

    > Janeite Kelly posted: “I will take the opportunity to say to readers of > “The Ladies of Llangollen,” Happy New Year and welcome to 2021. Auction > results (I rarely FIND the items when they are up-for-sale) often turn out > to be treasure. I always welcome searches that turn up t” >


    • Janeite Kelly
      Jan 23, 2021 @ 08:44:00

      Thanks for writing, Gabrielle.

      I don’t know that my audience includes many directors or producers – but I certainly wish you luck with your project. Fantastic that you’ve gotten Irish Film Board support!

      If you wish to talk more about your project, your script, etc. Write to me. I’m always open to posting anything related to the Ladies of Llangollen on this site!



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