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Tomb of Anna Laetitia Barbauld, Churchyard of Old Church of St Mary

A Grade II Listed Building in Hackney, London

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.5612 / 51°33'40"N

Longitude: -0.0848 / 0°5'5"W

OS Eastings: 532854

OS Northings: 186437

OS Grid: TQ328864

Mapcode National: GBR HC.79H

Mapcode Global: VHGQT.H101

Entry Name: Tomb of Anna Laetitia Barbauld, Churchyard of Old Church of St Mary

Listing Date: 23 January 2008

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1392694

English Heritage Legacy ID: 504164

Location: Hackney, London, N16

County: London

District: Hackney

Electoral Ward/Division: Clissold

Built-Up Area: Hackney

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: St Mary Stoke Newington

Church of England Diocese: London

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Listing Text


735/0/10217 STOKE NEWINGTON CHURCH STREET
23-JAN-08 Tomb of Anna Laetitia Barbauld, Church
yard of Old Church of St Mary

GV II
Chest tomb commemorating Anna Laetitia Barbauld (1743-1825) and her beloved brother, John Aikin (1747-1822), with whom she published several works. Stock brick chest tomb with granite ledger slab and Portland stone plaques on the north and south sides. It is located at the south end of the churchyard, just behind the railings to Stoke Newington Church Street, and equally spaced between the two Grade II* churches. At the time of inspection (November 2007) the plaques have deteriorated so that practically none of the inscription is legible - one can just make out the A and the L of her name on the south side. A small corner of the slab at the southwest end has broken off and there is an off-centre circular inset at the east end.

HISTORY: Anna Laetitia Barbauld, nee Aikin, was born in 1743 at Kibworth Harcourt, Leicestershire, to Presbyterian parents (her father and maternal grandfather were ministers). A precocious reader from the age of two, Anna began writing poetry in the mid-1760s on a wide variety of subjects and styles. These early works showed her interest in politics, religion, women's issues, and the natural and scientific world, and they ranged from 'burlesque... to sublime...; some are impishly humorous' (DNB). She published 'Poems' in 1773 and 'Miscellaneous Pieces in Prose' jointly with her brother, also in 1773. Anna married Reverend Rochemont Barbauld in 1774, who converted to dissent and latterly became a Unitarian. Together, the Barbaulds ran a successful school for boys in Suffolk and Anna Laetitia published two books on religion and reading lessons for children. Following travel in France, Barbauld published 'An Address to the Opposers of the Repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts' in 1790, celebrating the French Revolution, and the following year a satire in response yo Parliament not yet abolishing slavery: 'An Epistle to William Wilberforce, esq... on the Rejection of the Bill for Abolishing the Slave Trade'. Barbauld also published a number of essays and poems in several periodicals, such as 'Monthly Review', as well as taking on commissions from publishers for editing work. Her final work was a wonderful poem, 'Eighteen Hundred and Eleven', in 1812, in which she criticised British involvement in the Napoleonic wars, yet celebrated Britain, through the voice of a traveller in London reflecting on past glories. This was received angrily by Tory press, but is now celebrated as an important work of the Romantic period.

The Barbaulds moved to Stoke Newington in 1802 where they associated with a group of radical intellectuals. Anna suffered several emotional shocks in these years, when her husband committed suicide in 1808, following a separation given his violent reactions to manic-depression, and her brother, with whom she had published, died in 1822. Barbauld died on 9 March 1825 and was buried with her brother. Her niece, Lucy Aikin, edited Barbauld's 'Works' in 1825 which published an additional 52 poems (Barbauld had published 55 in her lifetime), and also a collection of her teaching essays in 1826, called 'A Legacy for Young Ladies'.

The tomb has group value with the Grade II* Old St. Mary's Church, in the churchyard of which it sits, and the Grade II* New St. Mary's Church, directly across the road. It also groups with the Grade II Neo-Classical tomb of James Stephen (1758-1832), lawyer and abolitionist.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION
The tomb of Anna Laetitia Barbauld is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* It has special historic interest for its association with Barbauld, appreciated as one of the country's most important Romantic woman poets, whose political engagement included satire against Parliamentary protection of slavery.
* While modest, and now worn beyond legibility, the early-C19 stock brick chest tomb has presence and is endowed with interest for its commemoration of this nationally important figure.
* The tomb stands in the churchyard of the Grade II* Old St. Mary's Church and directly across the road from the Grade II* New St. Mary's Church.

SOURCES: William McCarthy, 'Barbauld [nee Aikin], Anna Letitia [Anna Laetitia] (1743-1824)' Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004-7, online edition.

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

Reasons for Listing


* It has special historic interest for its association with Barbauld, appreciated as one of the country's most important Romantic woman poets, whose political engagement included satire against Parliamentary protection of slavery.
* While modest, and almost worn beyond legibility, the early-C19 stock brick chest tomb has presence and is endowed with interest for its commemoration of this nationally important figure.
* The tomb stands in the churchyard of the Grade II* Old St. Mary's Church and directly across the road from the Grade II* New St. Mary's Church.

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