Cardigan People 48: Edward Wollstonecraft (1768-1849)

Edward Wollstonecraft was buried in Cardigan cemetery on 17 February 1848 [B 2]

Browsing through the Burial Records it was the surname that first drew my attention to this particular entry. Was he related to Mary Wollstonecraft,  best known for A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792)? [Spoiler alert – yes he was.]

Edward Wollstonecraft was born in 1768 and spent much of his adult life as a merchant in Gibraltar. His wife’s name was Mary. He retired to live in Carmarthen. How he ended up in Cardigan cemetery I’m not sure.

Here is a short description of the gentleman by his great nephew Godfrey Wordsworth Turner:

He was in England when I was a child of very tender years, and stayed in our house till I was nearly seven; and again he visited my father, his nephew, when I had reached the age of fifteen or sixteen; after which time he retired to a small estate in Carmarthenshire, where he died.

One of his excellent traits was the love of educating children and grown persons less informed than are most children. It was a much commoner thing in those days than it now is for servants to be wholly illiterate; and wherever, and whenever, the grandly simple benevolence of this venerable man led him to detect a case of that kind, he instantly set himself to work, in his own direct and efficient way, to remedy the defect.

My father’s household owed much to his labour. A serving-woman who, when not young, and not comely, was unable to tell one letter from another, learned to read well and to write a very neat hand from his tuition; and could draw up the bill of fare for dinner, not in bad French but good English.

Art Studies of Home Life by Godfrey Wordsworth Turner (daphnejohnson.co.uk)

And his relation to the famous Mary? Well Edward’s father Edward Bland Wollstoncraft (1735/6—85) was a half-cousin to Mary (1759—97).

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