Maria Louisa Charlesworth (1819-1880) was the daughter of Rev. John Charlesworth and Elizabeth Charlesworth (née Beddome). She never married.
Maria Charlesworth was a visitor in her father's parish from a young age. She drew on her experiences for "The Female Visitor to the Poor". "Ministering Children", set in a town modelled on Ipswich. It sold over 300,000 copies during her lifetime. It was especially popular as a 'reward book' for Sunday school prizes, and was translated into French, German and Swedish.
On her father's death in 1864 Maria Charlesworth lived for a while with her brother Rev. Samuel Charlesworth in Limehouse and then sent up a ragged school and a mission in Bermondsey. She retired to Nutfield in Surrey, where she died on 16 October 1880.
See Wikipedia article on Maria Louisa Charlesworth
There are several references to Maria Louisa Charlesworth in the family biographies.
Not far from Limpsfield, in the lovely village of Nutfield, lived her sister-in-law, Maria Louisa Charlesworth, whose name is so well known, and whose memory is so cherished as the author of Ministering Children and many other works written for the young. Intercourse with a dear relative of such a kindred spirit to her own, and with the aged mother living with her at Nutfield, gave an added charm and interest to the life at Limpsfield.
Miss Maria Charlesworth, my mother's aunt, the author of that mid-Victorian classic, "Ministering Children", lived in a charming little house in the old-fashioned Surrey village, Nutfield. Miss Charlesworth would very often lend "The Cottage" to the Limehouse family, who would come back joyfully to the green beauty and sunshine of their beloved Surrey.
"A Rector's Daughter in Victorian England", an autobiography by Maud Ballington Booth:
We often used to visit Aunt Maria Charlesworth's home. She was an authoress very well known in Victorian days because of her books for children. "Ministering Children" was the most popular and had been translated in several languages. She also wrote about English village life, which she knew well. She had a beautiful white dog which I loved dearly, as well as ring doves in a wicker cage and several hives of bees. Like our aunt, her cook-housekeeper was our good friend. She was an apple-faced, good-natured countrywoman, and her spotless kitchen was a place of delight. Miss Charlesworth had a wonderful speaking voice like my father, her brother, [Rev. Samuel Charlesworth] had. They were musical, resonant voices that almost used to sing and vibrate through the listener's nerves. She used to read Shakespeare's plays to us, and though I was too young to understand them, I was fascinated by strange words and varied tones.
There is a problem about the following. Her books were popular, and were reprinted a lot. There were British and American publications, and other multiple publications. I have tried to find reputable first dates, but I may be wrong! Also, since some of her books were so popular, such as "Ministering Children", chapters or stories from these books were reprinted by themselves. I have tried not to include those. There are also reprints under different titles, for example "The Old Looking Glass" was also reprinted under the title "The Broken Looking Glass".
Since "Ministering Children" was her most popular, I have made my own text version of it here.
|1846||The Female Visitor to the Poor||Records of Female Parochial Visiting|
|1848||A book for the cottage||The History of Mary and Her family|
|1849||Letters to a friend under affliction|
|1849||A letter to a child|
|1850||The light of life||Dedicated to the young|
|1853||Sunday afternoons in the nursery||Familiar Narratives from the Book of Genesis|
|1854||Ministering Children||A tale dedicated to childhood|
|1856||Africa's Mountain Valley||The Church in Regent's Town, West Africa|
|1856||The cottage and its visitor||revised edition of The Female Visitor to the Poor|
|1856||The Sabbath given, the Sabbath lost|
|1858||The ministry of life|
|1860||India and the East||A Voice from the Zenana|
|1861||England's yeomen||From life in the nineteenth century|
|1863||The sailor's choice||Little Lenny's friends on the shore|
|1866||A sequel to Ministering Children||Vol II|
|1870||The last command|
|1871||Where dwellest thou?||The inner home|
|1872||Eden and heaven|
|1876||Oliver of the mill||A tale|
|1877||The old looking-glass||Mrs. Dorothy Cope's recollections of service|
Maria Louisa Charlesworth - Personal estate under £5,000. - Resworn January 1882 under £6,000.
29 October. The Will of Maria Louisa Charlesworth late of the Cottage Nutfield in the County of Surrey Spinster who did 16 October 1880 at the Cottage was proved at the Principal Registry By the Reverend Samuel Beddome Charlesworth of the Rectory Limehouse in the County of Middlesex Clerk the Brother the sole Executor.
© Jo Edkins 2015 - Return to Beddome index