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 (

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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