A Middlesex University resource - Charles by Procter - Mary by Gilchrists
Recommended web address http://studymore.org.uk/ylamb.htm
a web companion to Mad Mary Lamb by Susan Tyler Hitchcock
based on portrait
of Mary Lamb

Mary and Charles Lamb - their web biographies

With mental, historical and geographical connections made by Andrew Roberts with help from Susan Tyler Hitchcock, Elaine Madsen and others.
(Thank you everybody)

Mental Health Time Line 1796

John Lamb, father of Mary and Charles   ("Lovel")
born about 1738. (Somewhere, Charles said his father came from Lincoln)
married Elizabeth Field on 29.3.1761
he died April 1799 in Islington
John's sister: Sarah Lamb (Aunt Hetty) died February 1797

Mary Field, mother of Elizabeth. Sister: Great Aunt Gladman

Elizabeth Field, mother of Mary and Charles
born about 1740

Their children were:

Elizabeth Lamb, born 9.1.1762 at Crown Office Row, Inner Temple, London,
who died in 1763

John Lamb, brother of Mary and Charles   ("James Elia")
born 5.6.1763, died 26.10.1821
married Mrs Isaac Dowden

Mary Lamb, born 3.12.1764, died 20.5.1847   ("Bridget Elia")

Samuel Lamb, born 1765 at Crown Office Row, Inner Temple, London, who died in 1766

Elizabeth Lamb, born 30.8.1768 at Crown Office Row, Inner Temple, London.

Edward Lamb, born 3.9.1770 at Crown Office Row, Inner Temple, London, who died about 1771

William Lamb, born 1772 at Crown Office Row, Inner Temple, London, who died about 1773

Charles Lamb, born 10.2.1775, died 22.12.1834

Charles and Mary adopted Emma Isola, who married Edward Moxon

Table developed from The Bishop Genealogy Most of the Lamb data on this link was taken by John Bishop from a printed and bound copy of the Temple register held in the library at Sutton, Surrey.

1755 Birth of George Dyer

3.12.1764 Birth of Mary Ann Lamb (1764 to 1847). Her family were poor and she had little formal education. From very young she helped support them by doing needlework. Her mother (nee Elizabeth Field) was an invalid and was dependent on Mary's care for many years. Her father (John Lamb) was a scrivener (scribe) who worked as confidential clerk to Samuel Salt, a London lawyer.

The Cambridge Review for 3.3.1764 carried the announcement that "Signor Agostino Isola is appointed....to teach the Italian and Spanish tongues in this University.' Students included , William Wordsworth, Thomas Gray and Mr Pitt. Matilda Betham wrote an eulogy to him when he died

Spring 1770 Royal Society proposal:
" William Pitcairn MD of Warwick Court Warwick Lane Physician to St Bartholomew's Hospital, a Gentleman very well versed in all branches of Literature and Natural History, and especially distinguished by his application to Botany and success in rearing scarce and foreign plants, being desirous of the honor of being admitted into the Royal Society, is recommended by us, on our personal knowledge of his merit, as highly deserving of that honor, and likely to become a useful member of this Society: Proposers Rd Brocklesby; W Watson; Rd Huck; M Morris; William Hunter; Gowin Knight; J Silvester; John Fothergill; M Maty; Josiah Colebrooke; C Morton; R Mylne"

Birth of Dorothy Wordsworth (1771-1855) at Cockermouth in Cumberland.

Charles Valentine Le Grice (1773-1858) born. He and his brother, Samuel, both went to Christ's Hospital school with Charles. Samuel died in 1802. See 1796, 1834, 1838, 1848, 1849,

21.10.1774 Birth of Robert Southey (1774-1843)
1788, Pantisocracy, Salutation, marriage, Blank Verse, Hazlitt, C.W.W. Wynn, 1807, 1808, Peninsula War, 1813, 1816, 1823, Henry Herbert Southey, Ashley, Mary upset, wife's insanity second marriage

Charles Isola, father of Emma Isola was born about 1774. Educated at Bury Grammar School from 1780. Admitted Emmanuel College, Cambridge in 1792, BA in 1796, appointed Esquire Bedell in 1797. [The Vice-Chancellor's bedell is the officer who carries the mace before the Vice-Chancellor (and others) in the universities. Bedell is the same word as beadle in an older form]. He gained his MA in 1799. He married Mary Humphreys in 1803

10.2.1775 Birth of Charles Lamb (1775 to 1834). "a weakly, but very pretty child"

Born in Crown Office Row, Temple, London. [2, Crown Office Row, Inner Temple] [Charles lived at the Temple for seventeen (not seven as below) years, from his birth in 1775 to 1792 (plaque). Mary lived there twenty-seven years and the family for at least thirty years. (External link to map showing Temple] Charles Lamb by Bryan Waller Procter

I was born, and passed the first seven years of my life, in the Temple. Its church, its halls, its gardens, its fountain, its river (Charles Lamb in The Old Benchers of the Inner Temple. This contains his description of Samuel Salt, and the description of his servant "Lovel" is believed to be John Lamb, Charles' father.

Sarah Stoddart, who was to become Mary's friend, was born about 1775. John Stoddart, her brother, was born in Salisbury 6.2.1773 and died in London 16.2.1856 (external link)

Sarah James, the Lambs' companion and nurse, was born about 1775 (no more than five years either side)

Charles Lloyd (1775-1839) born, Birmingham. (external link)

Henry Crabb Robinson born 1775, died 5.2.1867. He lived (sometime) in Westgate Street, Bury St Edmunds. Articled to a Colchester attorney 1790- 1795. Studied in Germany 1800-1805. Watched play with Lambs in December 1806. Visited William Blake's exhibition May 1809. 1807-1809 reporting for The Times from Spain "The first war correspondent". 1811 Coleridge letter. 1813-1828 A barrister. 1812: patching friendships. 1820: Cambridge visit of Mary Lamb. 1828: One of the founders of London University. Edited diary and reminiscences published 1869

At about the time Charles was born, Mary attended William Bird's Academy in Fetter Lane, Holborn. Later, Charles also went there. Drawing mainly on Mary's memories, but also his own, Charles described this in Captain Starkey (Hone's Everyday Book, 1826), an essay about Mary's main teacher, who left the year before Charles started, and whom Mary had "lost all sight of" for "nearly fifty years". "It was... a humble day school, at which reading and writing were taught to us boys in the morning, and the same slender erudition was communicated to the girls, our sisters etc, in the evening. Now, Starkey presided, under Bird, over both establishment. In my time, Mr Crook, now or lately a respectable singer and performer at Drury Lane Theatre, and nephew to Mr Bird, had succeeded to him" "The schoolroom still stands where it did, looking into a discoloured dingy garden, in the passage leading from Fetter Lane into Bartlett's Buildings" [Bartlett's Buildings, St Clement, Holborn are in Jane Austin. In 1911 "These Buildings are still to be seen, forming a quaint alley of dark brick houses with pedimented doorways and white window- frames"] (external link to map)

In Salt's house, Mary Lamb "was tumbled early, by accident or design, into a spacious closet of good old English reading, without much selection or prohibition, and browsed at will upon that fair and wholesome pasturage." Cambridge History [Before or after her reading and writing lessons at William Bird's Academy?]

Hertfordshire links: (copied from Alliance of Literary Societies web:

"As children Lamb and his sister Mary often stayed at Blakesware (demolished 1830), near Wareside, where Mary Field, their grandmother, was housekeeper to the Plumer family. Lamb recalled these visits in his essays 'Blakesmoor in H----' and ' Dream Children'. Mary Field is buried at Widford and the pub here contains some Lamb memorabilia. The Lambs also visited their Great Aunt Gladman at Mackery End, Wheathampstead, and their adventures there are described by Mary in Mrs Leicester's School (1808) and by Charles in Mackery End (1820)."

As a boy, Charles was allowed to read Samuel Salt's books. Eventually Samuel Salt paid for him to go to school (at Christ's Hospital).

The botanist and his nephew who often forgot his fee

William Pitcairn was President of the Royal College of Physicians from 1775 (the year Charles Lamb was born) to 1785. At some time he became Physician to Christ's Hospital, the school that Charles went to in 1782. From 1773 he was seeing his nephew, David Pitcairn, through Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. David lost his father in 1775. William was physician to St Bartholomew's Hospital from 22.2.1750 to 3.2.1780, when he was succeded by David. William died 25.11.1791. David is, presumably, the Dr Pitcairn who attended Mary Lamb at the time of the murder.

Other doctors who treated the Lambs include George Leman Tuthill and Henry Cromwell Field

Birth of Matilda Betham (1776-1852). Matilda and Barbara Betham were daughters of Rev. William Betham, of Stonham Aspall, Suffolk. See Agostino Isola, 1797, 1804, 1816, Betham-Edwards.

Elaine Madsen recalls reading that "Charles.. was sent to Hoxton when he was but five years old. He returned home from that experience with the stammer he lived with ever after." Can anyone help with this?

David Pitcairn was physician at St Bartholomews from 10.2.1780 to 1793 (when he resigned).

John Haslam of Bedlam says of his medical training:

"after a period of apprenticeship I became a student of St. Barthomew's Hospital, and afterwards House Surgeon. My medical knowledge was first derived from the lectures of Dr G. Fordyce, and as a physician's pupil, for the hospital practice of Dr David Pitcairn" (Quoted Leigh, D. 1961 p.97)

The sketch map for Quakers in the City can also be used to fix the sites of Charles Lamb's City life. Christ's Hospital was opposite Newgate, west of St Paul's [near the yellow Bull and Mouth square] South Sea House was in Threadneedle Street and East India House was in Leadenhall Street. Both streets will be found between Gracechurch Street's mauve square and Devonshire House's light blue square. It may help you relate this to modern London if you note that the present day Liverpool Street station is just north of Devonshire House, on the other side of Bishopsgate.

Charles Lamb a fellow pupil of Samuel Taylor Coleridge at Christ's Hospital - known as the bluecoat school because of its uniform. He was a pupil from 1782 to 1789 - The entrance to Christ's Hospital was on the north side of Newgate Street. (external link to map showing Newgate Street)] In 1902 the school moved to Horsham, Sussex. A plaque formerly on site of the school is now on on east wall of St. Sepulchre's Church in Giltspur Street. (external link)

Following the Gordon riots in 1780, Newgate prison, opposite Christ's Hospital was rebuilt. From 1783 public executions were carried out outside the prison. A less gruesome neighbour of the blue-coat children was the Royal College of Physicians. One of whose members, the charitable David Pitcairn, cared for Mary Lamb at the time of the murder

Mary Humphreys, mother of Emma Isola was born about 1783. Mary married Charles Isola in 1803

13.10.1786 Baron Field, second son of Henry and Esther Field. His younger brother was Francis John Field who worked at East India House. Baron Field was called to the bar of Inner Temple on 20.6.1809. At sometime, he accompanied Charles and Mary on a trip in search of Mary Lamb's relatives. He married Jane Carncroft in 1816 and became Supreme Court Judge, Sydney (Australia) in February 1817. He was resident Sydney, Australia from 1817 to 1824. Died 11.4.1846


"Mary ... resided with her parents, and became the lad's constant friend and motherly companion. Mr Salt allowed both these young people - Mary then being twenty-five and Charles fifteen - free access to his library." (anonymous 1890 introduction)

William Blake engraved and published Songs of Innocence in 1789, with Mrs Blake's assistance. His dead brother, Robert, revealed the method to him in a dream. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus, revealed to him how to use carpenter's glue for the paints.

Charles worked for a year or two in the South Sea House, where his elder brother John was a clerk. [Clerk, South Sea House, Threadneedle Street, 1791 - 1792]

William Pitcairn died 25.11.1791 at his country residence opposite Cross Street in Islington. In town, he lived in the Treasurer's House at St Bartholomew's Hospital from 1784 to his death in 1791

"Dr Pitcairn was an accomplished botanist. He had a house in the Upper- street, Islington, opposite Cross-street, to which he frequently retired and where he had a botanical garden five acres in extent, laid out with great judgement, and so abundantly stocked with the scarcest and most valuable plants as to be second only in size and importance to dr Fothergill's garden at Upton. At this, his suburban residence, Dr Pitcairn died on 25th November 1791. He was buried on the 1st of December in the church of St Bartholowew-the-Less. His garden was dismantled, and its contents sold by auction in May 1792. Dr Pitcairn was also physician to Christ's hospital and a Fellow of the Royal Society." (Munk's Roll).

From 1792 to 1825 (when he retired) Charles Lamb worked as a clerk in the India House. [East India House, Leadenhall Street] [This building was demolished in 1925 and the new Lloyds building erected.] [External Link}

Samuel Salt died in 1792, and the Lamb's had to leave Crown Office Row

[The Lambs lived near present Kingsway, Holborn, 1792 - 1796] They lodged in 7 Little Queen Street, Holborn. The house was later demolished to make place for a church. Little Queen Street used to go south from High Holborn into Great Queen Street, now merged into Kingsway. [Notes from different sources] In 1881, 7 Little Queen Street accommodated three small households: a clerk in the silk trade, two housekeepers (sisters) and a brewer. In neighbouring houses were several dressmakers and similar occupations (tailor, waistcoat maker). 9 Little Queen Street was a large lodging house, possibly an inn. There were just 25 houses in Little Queen Street.

External link to map showing junction of Kingsway and Great Queen Street]

The Lambs were living at 7 Little Queen Street when Mary killed her mother. They then moved to Pentonville

There were many Little Queen Streets: in Westminster (1749); St Giles in the Fields, St Giles [1862]; St Luke, St Marylebone [1862] and others.

February 1793 William Godwin's Enquiry Concerning Political Justice published

In the autumn of 1793 the Paris guillotine's executions included three women who were symbols of the relationships of politics to motherhood and family: Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, whose treatment by the Paris women in October 1789 had offended Edmund Burke and acted as a focus for Mary Wollstonecraft disagreement with him; Olympe de Guages, who had woven the Queen into her political philosophy of the family and Manon Roland, disciple of Jean Jacques Rousseau, active motherhood and breast feeding. Mary Wollstonecraft watched in tears. Mother murder was an emotionally loaded issue at the end of the eighteenth century.

June 1794. Coleridge and Southey meet and dream up the Pantisocracy scheme of an equalitarian brotherhood on Godwinian principles that twelve friends and their families would establish on the banks of the Susquehanna River. (Or, when money was short, in Wales)

Keswick, 2.2.1836 Robert Southey to Edward Moxon.

"Coleridge introduced me to him [Charles Lamb] in the winter of 1794-5, and to George Dyer also, from whom, if his memory has not failed, you might probably learn more of Lamb's early history than from any other person. Lloyd, Wordsworth, and Hazlitt became known to him through their connection with Coleridge.

When I saw the family (one evening only, and at that time), they were lodging somewhere near Lincoln's Inn, on the western side (I forget the street), and were evidently in uncomfortable circumstances. The father and mother were both living; and I have some dim recollection of the latter's invalid appearance. The father's senses had failed him before that time. He published some poems in quarto. Lamb showed me once an imperfect copy: the Sparrow's Wedding was the title of the longest piece, and this was the author's favourite; he like, in his dotage, to hear Charles read it."

Salutation Tavern, 17 Newgate Street. (Almost opposite Christ's Hospital)

"...and Coleridge himself, the same to me still, as in those old evenings, when we used to sit and speculate (do you remember them, Sir?) at our old Salutation tavern, upon Pantisocracy and golden days to come on earth..." Charles Lamb to Robert Southey 1823

The meetings at the Salutation Inn were whilst Coleridge was staying there late December 1794 to January 1795.

26.5.1795: Thomas Noon Talfourd born Reading Berkshire. Later both judge and novelist. He became a friend of the Lambs (1815), named his first son Charles Lamb, and edited Charles Lamb's letters after his death. Talfourd died 1854 DNB says that Thomas Noon Talfourd's father, Edward Talfourd, was a brewer and his mother the daughter of Thomas Noon, minister of the independent chapel at Reading. By 1815 Edward and Ann Talfourd were running a private madhouse in Fulham. We know Mary Lamb was a patient in this house in 1829 and 1830. The possibility of her having been a patient between 1815 and 1829 must be a strong one. I would also suggest that the Talfourds played a very active part in managing Mary's madness and keeping it secret. Barrister 1821 - Marriage 1822 - South Place Chapel 1824 - Enfield 1827 - Norman House 1829 - Letter 1833 - Serjeant-at-law 1833 - Executer and trustee 1834 - Member of Parliament 1835 - Biography of Charles Lamb 1837 - Copyright bill 1837 - Letter 1839 - Infant Custody Act 1839 - New works of Lamb 1840 - Queen Mab 1841 - Second biography of Charles discusses Mary Lamb's madness 1848 - Judge and knighted 1849

4.10.1795, Samuel Taylor Coleridge married Sara Fricker, they moved to Clevedon, Somerset.

14.11.1795 Robert Southey and Edith Fricker married secretly. This was followed by Southey's first journey abroad: to Portugal (returned May 1796)

Hoxton House - click for source For six weeks in December 1795 and January 1796, Charles Lamb was a patient in Hoxton House. External link to map showing the rough position in Hoxton Street where I believe Hoxton House stood.] 1830 map Although Charles Lamb refers to the madhouse as in Hoxton, without saying which of the three Hoxton house it was, John Hollingshead says it was Hoxton House. I thought this likely to be reliable given Hollingshead's knowledge of Hoxton, and its madhouses, and that his aunts (previously nurses at one of the other houses) cared for Mary in her old age.

Sarah Burton pages 85-86 says:

"Immediately prior to his confinement at Hoxton, Charles wrote a letter - substantially the same letter - to a number of friends earnestly recommending them to read David Hartley's Observations on Man...No copies of the letter have been found, but Valentine Le Grice recalled it was 'very well written' and perfectly remembered one phrase in it: 'Hartley appears to me to have had as clear and insight into all the [secrets] of the human mind as I have into the items of a ledger - as an accountant has - a good counting-housical simile you'll say, and apropos from a clerk in the India House'[Referenced to Charles Lamb Bulletin, April 1974, p.118]

The following day the friends who had received the letter received a second, this time from Elizabeth Lamb, explaining that Charles had written the letter in a state of madness and had subsequently had to be confined. She concluded by asking them not to reply to it" [There is no reference for this, so perhaps it is the same source]

Charles Lamb by Bryan Waller Procter 1796 Charles Lamb by Bryan Waller Procter

Spring 1796 First edition of Poems on Various Subjects, by S.T. Coleridge, late of Jesus College, Cambridge published by Cottle of Bristol. Included four poems signed "C.L.", which were by Charles Lamb. (See second edition)

Sometime during 1796, Charles Lamb and Charles Le Grice had meetings before Le Grice left to become tutor to the son of a wealthy widow in Cornwall (who he later married). (map link to Trereife, near Penzanze, where he lived and died). From 1796 to 1834, Charles Lamb and Charles Le Grice did not meet. His brother, Samuel Le Grice, supported Charles immediately after the murder (below) in 1796

27.5.1796 Charles Lamb to Samuel Taylor Coleridge

"Coleridge! I know not what suffering scenes you have gone through at Bristol. My life has been somewhat diversified of late. The six weeks that finished last year and began this, your very humble servant spent very agreeably in a madhouse, at Hoxton.

I am got somewhat rational now, and don't bite anyone. But mad I was! And many a vagary my imagination played with me, enough to make a volume, if all were told.

My sonnets I have extended to the number of nine since I saw you. I am beginning a poem in blank verse, which, if I finish, I publish...

Coleridge! it may convince you of my regards for you when I tell you my head ran on you in my madness, as much almost as another person, who I am inclined to think was the more immediate cause of my temporary frenzy."

1?.6.1796 Charles Lamb to Samuel Taylor Coleridge

"Coleridge, in reading your Musings I felt a transient superiority over you: I have seen Priestley. I love to see his name repeated in your writings. I love and honour him most profanely. You would be charmed with his sermons, if you never read them. - You have doubtless read his books, illustrative of the doctrine of necessity. Prefixed to a late work of his, in answer to Paine, there is a preface, giving an account of the man and his services to men, written by Lindsey, his dearest friend - well worth reading"

Thursday 11.6.1796 Charles Lamb to Samuel Taylor Coleridge

"When you left London, I felt a dismal void in my heart. I found myself cut off, at one and the same time, from two most dear to me...

In you conversation you had blended so many pleasant fancies that they cheated me of my grief. But in your absence the tide of melancholy rushed in again, and did its worst mischief by overwhelming my reason.

I have recovered, but feel a stupor that makes me indifferent to the hopes and fears of this life. I sometimes wish to introduce a religious turn of mind, but habits are strong things, and my religious fervours are confined, alas! to some fleeting moments of occasional solitary devotion.

A correspondence, opening with you, has roused me a little from my lethargy, and made me conscious of existence. Indulge me in it: I will not be very troublesome!

At some future time I will amuse you with an account as full as my memory will permit of the strange turn my frenzy took. I look back upon it at times with a gloomy kind of envy; for, while it lasted, I had many, many, hours of pure happiness. Dream not, Coleridge, of having tasted all the grandeur and wildness of fancy till you have gone mad! All now seems to me vapid; comparatively so."

19.9.1796 Hartley Coleridge born. The family moved to a small house at Nether Stowey, in Somerset, during the winter of 1796-1797.

Immediately before the murder of her mother, Mary Lamb had been working as a mantua maker and taking care of her invalid mother who needed round-the-clock care. (Bonnie Woodbery)
Mary killed her mother with a table-knife:


This event and Mary's illness were not publicly associated with the Lambs (as writers) until 1848, although local publicity was a problem for them, especially (perhaps) around 1800
The Times

Saturday, September 24, 1796

On Friday afternoon the Coroner and Jury sat on the body of a Lady, in the neighbourhood of Holborn, who died in consequence of a wound from her daughter the preceding day.

It appeared by the evidence adduced, that while the family were preparing for dinner, the young lady seized a case-knife laying on the table, and in a menacing manner pursued a little girl, her apprentice, round the room. On the calls of her infirm mother to forbear, she renounced her first object, and with loud shrieks approached her parent. The child, by her cries, quickly brought up the landlord of the house, but too late. The dreadful scene presented to him the mother lifeless, pierced to the heart, on a chair, her daughter yet wildly standing over her with the fatal knife, and the old man her father weeping by her side, himself bleeding at the forehead from the effects of a severe blow he received from one of the forks she had been madly hurling about the room.

For a few days prior to this, the family had observed some symptoms of insanity in her, which had so much increased on the Wednesday evening, that her brother, early the next morning, went to Dr. Pitcairn, but that gentleman was not at home.

It seems the young lady had been once before deranged. The Jury of course brought in their verdict, Lunacy.

Although Mary's madness caused local embarassment at times, it was not generally known about until the spring of 1848, after her death, when the following account was published
Lamb's parents were very poor. Lamb himself, at the time we speak of, being a mere clerk, and unable to afford them much assistance, the weight of their maintenance fell upon his sister, the well-known Mary Lamb. By her needle she contrived to support them. She had taken a young girl into the house as an apprentice, and things went on smoothly enough till the increasing infirmities of the old lady, and the incessant watching thereby rendered necessary, made great inroads upon Mary Lamb's health. Having in the earlier part of her life suffered temporary insanity from harassment, Mary's present state was alarming, and her brother went to Dr. Pitcairn in the morning to consult about her, but unhappily did not find him at home. On that very afternoon -- it was the 22nd Sept. 1796 -- while the family were preparing for dinner, Mary seized a knife which lay on the table, and making a rush at her little apprentice, pursued her round the room with fearful menaces. Her infirm old mother, with eager and terrified calls upon her to desist, attempted to interfere. With wild shrieks Mary turned upon her mother, and stabbed her to the heart! She then madly hurled the knives and forks about the room, one of which struck her helpless old father on the forehead. The shrieks of the girl, and her own wild cries, brought up the landlord of the house; but it was too late; he stood aghast at the terrible spectacle of the old woman lifeless on the chair, her daughter fiercely standing over her with the fatal knife still in her hand; her father bleeding at the forehead, and weeping by the side of his murdered wife; the girl cowering in a corner.

An inquest was held the next day, at which the jury, without hesitation, brought in the verdict of lunacy. Here there is a blank in our narrative. We do not know whether Mary Lamb was confined for any period in an asylum, and released on being pronounced sane, or whether Charles from the first undertook that watchful care of her which formed the heroism of his subsequent life. It is difficult to get at the details of an event which occurred fifty years ago, and which even at the time seems to have been carefully hushed up; for in the account of the inquest reported in the 'Annual Register' of that year, from some inexplicable cause, no name whatever is mentioned, except that of Dr. Pitcairn. It merely says, 'the coroner's jury sat on the body of an old lady, in the neighbourhood of Holborn.' But that the matter was not wholly unknown is proved by the curious fact of the name being mentioned in the index to the 'Annual Register,' (compiled in 1826 -- that is to say, thirty years after the account was originally published,) where it stands thus -- "Murder of Mrs. Lamb by her insane daughter."

This ghastly incident gave a new shape to all Lamb's subsequent career. At that time he was in love -- the only time he ever felt the passion -- and it inspired 'a few sonnets of very delicate feeling and exquisite music;' but he felt that his sister demanded all his care, and to her he sacrificed love, marriage, everything. Like a brave, suffering, unselfish man, he, at twenty-one, renounced the dream of love for the stern austerity of duty.

. . . Curiously enough, Mary Lamb was, as a friend of hers once said to us, 'the last woman in the world whom you could have suspected, under any circumstances, of becoming insane, so calm, so judicious, so rational was she;' and Hazlitt used to say, 'Mary Lamb is the only truly sensible woman I ever met with.' Nevertheless, she was at no time free from the danger of a relapse, and they never left home without her brother's taking a strait waistcoat with him!

"Lamb had been that very morning to Dr Pitcairn to ask him to see his sister, as she has shown symptoms of disordered intellect, but unhappily the doctor had gone out, and did not return in time" (anonymous 1890 introduction)

William Pitcairn died in 1791. The Dr Pitcairn Charles consulted would have been his nephew David Pitcairn. David succeeded his uncle as a physician to St Bartholomew's, resigned in 1793, was very ill in 1798, and forced to spend 18 months in Portugal. He died in 1809.

Dennis Leigh says:
"David Pitcairn was... one of the most beloved and popular physicians of his day. Tall, erect and handsome, his practice included patients from every rank of society: he spent much time with them, and often forgot his fee - 'No medical man, indeed, of his eminence in London, perhaps ever exercised his profession to such a degree gratuitously'.... he published not a single line." ( Leigh, D. 1961 p.99)

"Mary Lamb, irritated with a little apprentice-girl who was working in the family sitting-room, snatched a knife from the table, pursued the child round the room, and finally stabbed her mother, who had interposed on in the girl's behalf. The wound was instantly fatal, Charles being at hand only in time to wrest the knife from his sister and prevent further mischief" (DNB:)

"a newspaper reporting the murder ... did not use the Lamb name. The coroner's jury was to "sit" at the scene of the murder in the house on Little Queen Street the next day. Mr.Lamb was too far into his dementia to provide witness and only Mary and Charles were actually present, the aunt having "fainted away". [Elaine Madsen]

"An inquest was held and a verdict found of temporary insanity. Mary Lamb would have been in the ordinary course transferred to a public lunatic asylum, but interest was made with the authorities, and she was given into the custody of her brother, then only just of age, who undertook to be her guardian, an office which he discharged ... for the remainder of his life." DNB:

Nigel Walker (1968) does not mention coroners' courts in his treatment of crime and insanity (volume one). By volume two he does so in reference to Mary Lamb herself: "She was taken to a private mad-house, and a coroner's jury found that she had killed her mother while temporarily insane. Strictly speaking she should have been brought to trial, and when she seemed well enough to leave the mad-house the 'authorities of the parish' seem to have felt that a prosecution should be instituted, especially since no medical assurance could be given that she would not become dangerous again." This is in Appendix A: "By-passing the Law".

Hunter and Macalpine 1969, p.22 say Mary Lamb was "temporarily confined" on a "coroner's warrant", and that William Perfect gives the case of a young man similarly committed in Kent in 1779.

Mary Lamb was never tried for the murder of her mother. A coroner's court is not a trial, but a process of establishing the facts. My interpretation of what happened is that Mary was confined in a friendly madhouse partly to remove her from any risk of arrest and trial. The public gallows at Newgate (just by the school Charles went to) must have been present in everyone's mind. Also threatening was the possibility of confinement as a criminal lunatic in Bedlam. In 1829, Jane Jameson of Newcastle went to trial for a similar murder of her mother - but whilst drunk. She was publicly hung - The first woman in Newcastle to be hung for 71 years. Mary Lamb's case illustrates the way that some people who committed a serious offence under the influence of insanity might be at liberty in the community shortly afterwards. [Although I do not share the view Mary left the madhouse and went to live a completely unsupervised life in Hackney]. The assasination attempt on George Third in 1800 changed this, and the public attention to the issue probably made Mary's life even more difficult.

A letter from Charles Lamb on 3.10.1796 says that Mary was confined in a madhouse in Islington, (not Hoxton or Hackney as some secondary sources say). The most likely place is a house run by Jess Annandale in 1815 that is later listed as Fisher House, Islington. This was in Lower Street (now Essex Road) opposite Cross Street. Opposite Cross Street on Upper Street, was the country residence and botanical garden of William Pitcairn. 1830 map showing madhouse modern map showing the same position on Essex Road (then Lower Street).]
Rear view of Fisher House, looking over its garden The building was demolished in 1845.

This picture scanned from Islington Past was originally reproduced from a book owned by Roger Cline of the Camden History Society

26.9.1796 Elizabeth Lamb buried in the graveyard of St Andrew's, Holborn external link

Charles and his father continued living at 7 Little Queen Street. Aunt Hetty left: "an old Lady, a cousin of my father and Aunt's, a Gentlewoman of fortune, is to take my Aunt and make her comfortable for the short remainder of her days" (Lamb to Coleridge 3.10.1796). Aunt Hetty returned in December 1796.

27.9.1796 Letter from Charles Lamb to Samuel Taylor Coleridge about Mary's murder of their mother.

"My Dearest Friend,

White, or some of my friends, or the public papers, by this time may have informed you of the terrible calamities that have fallen on our family. I will only give you the outlines:

My poor dear, dearest sister, in a fit of insanity, has been the death of our own mother. I was at hand only time enough to snatch the knife out of her grasp.

She is at present in a madhouse, from whence I fear she must be moved to an hospital. God has preserved to me my senses; I eat, and drink, and sleep, and have my judgement, I believe, very sound. My poor father was slightly wounded, and I am left to take care of him and my aunt.

Mr Norris, of the Bluecoat School, has been very kind to us, and we have no other friend; but, thank God, I am very calm and composed, and able to do the best that remains to do.

Write as religious a letter as possible, but no mention of what is gone and done with. With me "the former things are passed away", and I have something more to do than feel.

God Almighty have us in His keeping!

Mention nothing of poetry. I have destroyed every vestige of past vanities of that kind. Do as you please, but if you publish, publish mine (I give you leave) without name or initial, and never send me a book, I charge you.

Your own judgement will convince you not to take any notice of this yet to your dear wife. You look after your family; I have reason and strength left to take care of mine. I charge you, don't think of coming to see me. Write. I will not see you if you come. God Almighty love you and all of us!"

28.9.1796 Samuel Taylor Coleridge's reply

"My reference says that Mary was confined (wherever she was confined immediately following the murder) for the length of a year before being turned back to the custody of Charles -- whether because she suffered additional evidence of madness; or whether partly because of a judgment rendered that she was never to live in her father's presence again, he had been wounded in the attack on her mother. My reference also says that after her release from wherever she was, Mary had "rooms of her own" for about a year, where she lived with a caretaker until her Aunt, whose name I have as "Hetty" had gone to live with other relatives." [Elaine Madsen]

"On 22 September, 1796, Mary had a sudden fit of insanity, in which she killed her mother. She was removed to a private asylum at Islington, and Charles and his father went to 45 Chapel Street, Pentonville. Sarah Lamb, an aunt who lived with the family, was taken into the house of a rich relation, but soon returned to her brother and nephew, dying early in 1797. Lamb, thus, in his twenty-third year, had "the whole weight of the family" thrown on him - a father in his second childhood, a dying aunt and a sister whose returning reason was liable to fail again at any moment. John, the elder brother, though possessed of many good qualities, was wrapped up in his own affairs. It would have been easy to have taken his advice and consigned Mary permanently to a madhouse; but Charles preferred to make a home for his sister. During her father's lifetime, rooms were found for her at Hackney. Here, Charles spent his Sundays and holidays, and, when their father died in 1799, she took up her abode permanently with her brother, leaving him only when the threatenings of recurrent attacks of insanity made it necessary." Cambridge History

3.10.1796: Letter from Charles Lamb to Coleridge, in which he describes the Islington madhouse:

"My poor dear dearest sister, the unhappy and unconscious instrument of the Almighty's judgments to our house, is restored to her senses; to a dreadful sense and recollection of what has past, awful to her mind and impressive (as it must be to the end of life) but tempered with religious resignation, and the reasonings of a sound judgment, which in this early stage knows how to distinguish between a deed committed in a transient fit of frenzy, and the terrible guilt of a mother's murder. I have seen her. I found her this morning calm and serene, far very very far from an indecent forgetful serenity; she has a most affectionate and tender concern for what has happened. Indeed from the beginning, frightful and hopeless as her disorder seemed, I had confidence enough in her strength of mind, and religious principle, to look forward to a time when even she might recover tranquillity."

". . . out of which we can spare 50 or 60 at least for Mary, while she stays at Islington, where she must and shall stay during her father's life for his and her comfort. I know John will make speeches about it, but she shall not go into an hospital. The good lady of the mad house, and her daughter, an elegant sweet behaved young lady, love her and are taken with her amazingly, and I know from her own mouth she loves them, and longs to be with them as much ---. Poor thing, they say she was but the other morning saying, she knew she must go to Bethlem for life; that one of her brother's would have it so, but the other would wish it not, but he obliged to go with the stream; that she had often as she passed Bedlam thought it likely "here it may be my fate to end my days" -- conscious of a certain flightiness in her poor head oftentimes, and mindful of more than one severe illness of that nature before."

"The lady at this mad house assures me that I may dismiss immediately both doctor and apothecary, I retaining occasionally an opening draught or so for a while, and there is a less expensive establishment in her house, where she will only not have a room and nurse to herself for L50 or guineas a year -- the outside would be 60 -- . You know by oeconomy how much more, even, I shall be able to spare for her comforts ---

She will, I fancy, if she stays, make one of the family, rather than of the patients, and the old and young ladies I like exceedingly, and she loves dearly, and they, as the saying it take to her very extraordinarily, if it is extraordinary that people who see my sister should love her."

3.10.1796 Letter from Charles Lamb to Coleridge referenced by Parry-Jones, W.L. 1972 (pp 124-125) when he says

"The house in Islington, London, at which ... Mary was confined in 1796, after she had murdered her mother, contained accommodation at about £50 per annum, which was less expensive than that occupied by Mary, who had a room and a servant to herself"

and again (p.172)

"Charles Lamb's description of the care and affection ... Mary received at an Islington madhouse, also supports the view that humane treatment was practised in some eighteenth-century madhouses."

17.10.1796: Another letter from Charles Lamb to Coleridge:

"Mary continues serene and cheerful, -- I have not by me a little letter she wrote to me, for though I see her almost every day yet we delight to write to one another (for we can scarce see each other but in company with some of the people of the house), I have not the letter by me but will quote from memory what she wrote in it. "I have no bad terrifying dreams. At midnight when I happen to awake, the nurse sleeping by the side of me, with the noise of the poor mad people around me, I have no fear. The spirit of my mother seems to descend, and smile upon me, and bid me live to enjoy the life and reasons which the Almighty has given me--. I shall see her again in heaven; she will then understand me better, my grandmother too will understand me better, and will then say no more as she used to do, "Polly, what are those poor crazy moyther'd brains of yours thinkg. of always?"

Poor Mary, my mother indeed never understood her right. She loved her, as she loved us all with a mother's love, but in opinion, in feeling, and sentiment, and disposition, bore so distant a resemblance to her daughter, that she never understood her right. Never could believe how much she loved her -- but met her caresses, her protestations of filial affection, too frequently with coldness and repulse, -- Still she was a good mother, God forbid I should think of her but most respectfully, most affectionately. Yet she would always love my brother above Mary, who was not worthy of one tenth of that affection, which Mary had a right to claim. But it is my sister's gratifying recollection, that every act of duty and of love she could pay, every kindness (and I speak true, when I saw to the hurting of her health, and most probably in great part to the derangement of her senses) through a long course of infirmities and sickness, she could show her, she ever did."

28.10.1796: Another letter from Charles Lamb to Coleridge:

"I have satisfaction in being able to bid you rejoice with me in my sister's continued reason and composedness of mind. Let us both be thankful for it. I continue to visit her very frequently, and the people of the house are vastly indulgent to her; she is likely to be as comfortably situated in all respects as those who pay twice or thrice the sum. They love her, and she loves them, and makes herself very useful to them. Benevolence sets out on her journey with a good heart, and puts a good face on it, but is apt to limp and grow feeble, unless she calls in the aid of self-interest by way of crutch. In Mary's case, as far as respects those she is with, 'tis well that these principles are so likely to cooperate."

In the last quarter of 1796, C.W.W. Wynn settled an annuity of £160 on Robert Southey, which continued to 1807

In December 1796, Charles, his father, and Aunt Hetty, moved to 45 Chapel Street, Pentonville [1796 to 1799 and 1800 (external link to map showing what is now Chapel Market, Pentonville)]

[Pentonville and Islington are closely adjoining areas in what was then the countryside north of London. Chapel Market is by the Angel, Islington. It would have been quite a short walk up the High Street and Lower Street to Fisher House.]

(Lucas, E.V. 1921 p.135 says "It was on the last day of 1796, as I conjecture, that John Lamb, Charles Lamb and Aunt Hetty (and perhaps John Lamb, junior, but I am doubtful) moved finally from 7 Little Queen Street, that house of shadow, to 45 Chapel Street, Pentonville, very near the Angel Tavern, and not far from the Islington madhouse where Mary Lamb was living"

Quaker connections

January 1797 Coleridge's Quaker friend, Charles Lloyd, sought out Charles Lamb and formed a friendship. (external connection). Charles Lamb's distant attachment to the Quakeress, Hester Savory, was also formed whilst he lived near her in Chapel Street. Charles thought of becoming a Quaker, but a visit to a Quaker meeting in 1797 showed him the vain side of Quakerism. In 1822, Lamb began a correspondence with a Suffolk Quaker, Bernard Barton.

February 1797 Aunt Hetty died. Charles looking after his father (John Lamb) alone until John's death in 1799

Charles Lamb's poem Written on the day of my Aunt's funeral

Mary living in Hackney. Opinions are divided as to whether this means she was living independently, and unsupervised, or boarded in what was known as a single house. There is also disagreement about the area that the term "Hackney" might have covered. I think Charles could have used it for anywhere within the old parish of Hackney, but others think it would only have been used for the village of Hackney. Two possible theories about why lodgings were found in Hackney for Mary are 1) that Protestant Dissenter contacts there found someone who would look after her or 2) that, probably through Dr Pitcairn, Charles made arrangements for Mary to be looked after in a single house. The first would suggest somewhere in Homerton or Hackney Village. The second would suggest a part of Hackney nearer Hoxton. I have not seen any evidence to support the theory that Mary remained in Hackney until her father's death.

7.4.1797: Letter from Charles Lamb to Coleridge says:

"I have taken her out of her confinement, and taken a room for her at Hackney, and spend my Sundays, holiday, etc, with her. She boards herself. In one little half year's illness, and in such an illness of such a nature and of such consequences! to get her out into the world again, with a prospect of her never being so ill again -- this is to be ranked not among the common blessings of Providence. May that merciful God make tender my heart, and make me as thankful, as in my distress I was earnest, in my prayers. Congratulate me on an ever-present and never-alienable friend like her."

Most people seem to think Mary lived in Hackney until her father died in April 1799. I have not been able to work out what this belief is based on. The poem on Christmas Day 1797 and letters of August 1798 may suggest otherwise.

External link to Elegies and other small poems of Matilda Betham (published late in the year) which include In memory of Mr Agostino Isola, of Cambridge, who died on the 5th of June, 1797 - "A tender friend, the first I ever lost!"

July 1797 William and Dorothy Wordsworth and Charles Lamb visited Samuel and Sara Coleridge. Samuel wrote Lime Tree Bower, addressed to Charles Lamb of The India House, London, whilst they were staying: "my gentle-hearted Charles, to whom no sound is dissonant which tells of life".

Poems, Second Edition by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Charles Lamb, & Charles Lloyd published. Southey to Edward Moxon 2.2.1836:

Lamb, I believe, first appeared as an author in the second edition of S.T.Coleridge's poems (Bristol 1797)

"The volume was published in 1797 by Cottle, the Bath publisher. Lamb's share consisted of eight sonnets, four short fragments of blank verse (amongst which was the Grandame a memorial to his own relative, who was housekeeper to the Plumer Wards in Hertfordshire), a poem called the Tomb of Douglas, some verses to Charles Lloyd, and a Vision of Repentance (anonymous 1890 introduction)

August 1797: Charles Lamb's poem To Charles Lloyd

30.8.1797 Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin born.
10.9.1797 Mary Wollstonecraft died of septicaemia.
Friday 15.9.1797 Funeral of Mary Wollstonecraft at St Pancras Church. The new Mary was to write Frankenstein

September 1797: Charles Lamb's poem Written a year after the events

5.9.1797 Election of Charles Isola BA of Emanuel College, as Esquire Bedell.

October 1797: Charles Lamb's poem Written soon after the preceding poem

20.11.1797. First edition of the Anti-Jacobin. published. Charles Lamb by Bryan Waller Procter

Southey to Edward Moxon 2.2.1836: Samuel Taylor Coleridge introduced Charles Lamb to Godwin shortly after the first number of the Anti-Jacobin.

December 1797 William Wordsworth called on Godwin

25.12.1797: Charles Lamb's poem Written on Christmas Day, 1797 is about his sister. Charles published this in Blank Verse, but not is subsequent collections of his poetry. It was collected and re-published by R.T. Shepherd

Ann Gilchrist concludes from the Christmas Day poem that Mary was again in an asylum.

Blank Verse, a collection of poems by Lamb and Charles Lloyd, was published in 1798, as was Rosamund Gray and Old Blind Margaret, a tragic tale whose heroine was a thinly disguised rendering of Ann Simmons. (external link)

January 1798: Charles Lamb's poem The old familiar faces

In January, Coleridge was preaching at Shrewsbury, which gave William Hazlitt the opportunity to meet him. (The walk from Wem to Shrewsbury was just ten miles). Coleridge extended an invitation to the young man to visit him in the summer.

14.5.1798 Berkley Coleridge born. He died 10.2.1799.

Do these letters indicate that Mary was just ill and that Charles hopes she will recover? Or that she has been moved to an asylum from Hackney (or wherever)? Or that she has moved back with the family since being in Hackney, and has now gone to an asylum?

August 1798: Charles Lamb to Robert Lloyd:

"I know you will feel deeply, when you hear that my poor sister is unwell again, -- one of her old disorders, but I trust it will hold no longer than her former illnesses have done--. do not imagine, Robert, that I sink under this misfortune,-- I have been season'd to such events, and think I could bear any thing tolerably well -- --. My own health is left me, and my good spirits, and I have some duties to perform -- these duties shall be my object --"

August 13th or 23rd Charles Lamb to Robert Lloyd:

"Mary is better, and I trust that she will yet be restored to me, I am in good spirits, so do not be anxious about me: --"

Summer 1798: Hazlitt stayed with Coleridge at Nether Stowey, and visited Alfoxden, where he was entertained by Dorothy Wordsworth and later met William Wordsworth. Hazlitt, Coleridge and John Chester went walking for three or four days, finishing at Bristol. Coleridge, with Dorothy and William Wordsworth sailed for Germany in mid-September. Coleridge stayed there until July 1799.

18.9.1798 Samuel Coleridge and William Wordsworth published the first edition of Lyrical Ballads. It included Wordsworth's The Idiot Boy and The Mad Mother

Hazlitt next met Coleridge at Godwin's house, in company with Southey. The events of 1798 provided the main content for Hazlitt's My First Acquaintance with Poets, although this concludes with his meeting Charles Lamb

Rosamund Gray and Old Blind Margaret [by Charles Lamb] was published by Lee and Hurst (booksellers) 32, Paternoster Row, London. 135 pages 12 octavio. The partnership between John Lee and Thomas Hurst, started in 1797. It was dissolved 10.11.1798, all debts being discharged by Thomas Hurst, who carried on the business on his own separate account (See Book Trade History)

Blank Verse by Charles Lloyd and Charles Lamb published in the summer of 1798 by T. Bensly, London: 95 pages, 8 octavio. T. Bensley seems to have been primarily a printer. The British Museum copy has an autograph inscription from Lloyd to Mrs Southey, and Southey's bookplate.

October 1798 Critical Review number 24 contained a review by Southey of Coleridge's Ancient Mariner which he thought "a poem of little merit" and in parts "absurd or unintelligible". The same edition contained an encouraging review of Blank Verse by Lamb and Lloyd.

29.10.1798: Charles Lamb to Southey

"my sister, I thank you, is quite well -- she had a slight attack the other day, which frighten'd me a good deal, but it went off unaccountably --"

36 Chapel Street, Pentonville There seems to be agreement that Mary came to live with Charles after the death of their father, and that she moved into Chapel Street, Pentonville. Burton p.148 says "Charles moved to new lodgings in the same road (from 45 to 36 Chapel Street). It was to be a new beginning. Mary was coming home." (Lucas, E.V. 1921 p. 207 says "I imagine that it was immediately after his father's death that Lamb moved from 45 Chapel Street, Pentonville, to No. 36, in the same street, where his sister joined him and where they lived together until the spring of 1800"

April 1799: John Lamb (Mary and Charles' father) died. He was buried with his wife in the graveyard of St Andrew's, Holborn, on 17.4.1799. Later in April, Mary came to live with Charles.

"Mary Lamb returned to live with her brother, from whom she was never again parted, except during occasional returns of her malady. But rumours of this malady followed them wherever they went. They had notice to quit their rooms in Pentonville in the spring of 1799, and they were accepted as tenants for a while by Lamb's old schoolfellow, John Mathew Gutch, then a law stationer in Southampton Buildings, Holborn. Here they remained for nine months, but the old difficulties arose, and the brother and sister were again homeless. Lamb then turned to the familiar precincts of the Temple, and took rooms at the top of King's bench Walk (Mitre Court Buildings), where he remained with his sister for nearly nine years. They then removed to Inner Temple Lane for a period of another nine years." DNB:
Coleridge returned from Germany in July 1799, having been there for about ten months. Hazlitt had been with him just before he left for Germany:
"I saw no more of him for a year or two, during which period he had been wandering in the Hartz Forest, in Germany; and his return was cometary, meteorous, unlike his setting out. It was not till some time after that I know his friends Lamb and Southey. The last appears to me (as I first saw him) with a common-place book under his arm, and the first with a bon- mot in his mouth. It was at Godwin's that I met him with Holcroft and Coleridge, where they were disputing fiercely which was best - Man as he was, or man as he is to be. "Give me" says Lamb "man as he is not to be". This saying was the beginning of a friendship between us, which I believe still continues. Enough of this for the present. 'But there is matter for another rhyme, And I to this may add a second tale'"

This concluded My First Acquaintance with Poets, but the story seems to be continued in Of persons one would wish to have seen which recounts an evening at the Lambs'

December 1799 Charles Lamb visited Charles Lloyd in Cambridge. He met Thomas Manning, a mathematician of Caius College. In Cambridge (some time) he also met George Dyer of Emmanuel College. [First visit to Cambridge? Charles and Mary may have met Emma Isola in 1820]

Spring 1800 Samuel Taylor Coleridge translating Schiller's Wallenstein, at Charles (and Mary?) Lamb's

"In March, 1800, Coleridge had spent some weeks with him in Pentonville and suggested to him to contribute to a newspaper an imitation of Burton's Anatomy, which bore fruit in the three Curious Fragments printed with John Woodvil in 1802. In the same volume were also printed the lines called Hypochondriacus, composed about this time, which show an appreciation of Burton's melancholy not less remarkable than the prose fragments in reproduction of his style. These first attempts at writing for newspapers were not accepted, which is hardly surprising." Cambridge History

25.4.1800 Death of William Cowper

"I was obliged to remove her yesterday... her constantly being liable to such relapses is dreadful... her case and all our story is so well known around us... It is a great object to me to ... quit a house and a neighborhood where poor Mary's disorder, so frequently recurring, has made us a sort of marked people."

If Mary was well known in Pentonville by the spring of 1800, can we conclude, as most biographers do, that she did not go to Pentonville until after her father's death in April 1799? If neighbours knew about her "constant" relapses it suggests to me a longer acquaintance than a year - Unless she had had a very disturbed year.


12.5.1800: Charles Lamb to Coleridge:

"I dont know why I write except from the propensity misery has to tell her griefs. -- Hetty died on Friday night, about 11 o Clock, after 8 days illness. . Mary in consequence of fatigue and anxiety is fallen ill again, and I was obliged to remove her yesterday. -- I am left alone in a house with nothing but Hetty's dead body to keep me company. . . . Tomorrow I bury her, and then I shall be quite alone, with nothing but a cat, to remind me that the house has been full of living beings like myself. -- My heart is quite sunk, and I dont know where to look for relief--. Mary will get better again, but her constantly being liable to such relapses is dreadful, -- nor is it the least of our Evils, that her case and all our story is so well known around us. . We are in a manner marked. --"

15.5.1800: The ball of a pistol fired at George 3rd by James Hadfield just missed by a foot. Hadfield was detained as a criminal lunatic.

20.5.1800: Charles Lamb to Thomas Manning:

"I am in much better spirits than when I wrote last. I have had a very eligible offer to Lodge with a friend [John Mathew Gutch] in Town. He will have rooms to let at Midsummer, by which time I hope my sister will be well enough to join me. . It is a great object to me to live in town, where we shall be much more private; and to quit a house and a neighborhood where poor Mary's disorder, so frequently recurring, has made us a sort of marked people. . We can be no where private except in the midst of London--. . . . Only God send Mary well again, and I hope all will be well."

Sunday 8.6.1800: Charles, having taken a trip to his family home, Hertfordshire, wrote to Thomas Manning "On my return I found my sister perfectly recovered. She is to join me next Sunday" [15.6.1800]. July letters say Mary is at home with him.

28.7.1800: Royal Assent to An Act for the Safe Custody of Insane Persons Charged with Offenses

The following passage from Talfourd may relate to Mary's discharge in 1800, rather than an earlier discharge as he supposes:

"and painful doubts were suggested by the authorities of the parish, where the terrible occurrence happened, whether they were not bound to institute proceedings, which must have placed her for life at the disposition of the Crown, especially as no medical assurance could be given against the probable recurrence of dangerous frenzy." [ Ann Gilchrist has a fuller quotation, from which it will be seen that Talfourd was drawing on the memory of Charles Lloyd]

Susan Tyler Hitchcock says Charles and Mary moved into Southampton Buildings in late July 1800.

Lambs lived at Southampton Buildings, Chancery Lane for nine months from 1800 to 1801. Charles Lambs "first visit to Oxford took place in the summer of 1800, when he passed two days with the family of Matthew Gutch, a law-stationer in London. Gutch had offered him a lodging at 34 Southampton buildings, Chancery lane, and here he settled with Mary in the late summer of 1800." (External link to map showing position of Southampton Buildings on Chancery Lane)] The buildings are to the east of Lincoln's Inn (1830 map). [William Hazlitt had lodgings in Southampton Buildings from 1820] See Normand House, 1830. The Masters in Chancery also had their Masters Office in Southampton Buildings and the secretary to the Chancery Visitors was at number 19 in 1842. George Birckbeck Mechanics Institute (founded 2.12.1823) moved to 29 Southampton Buildings in 1825 (Victorian London) (a history)

summer 1800

High Born Helen, "almost or quite a first attempt" at verse by Mary is - Charles revealed later - about his fantasies.

Mary's writing, after High Born Helen, includes Tales from Shakespear (the comedies) (1807) - Mrs Leicester's School (1808) - Poetry for Children (1809) - On Needlework (April 1815)

Lambs lived at 16 Mitre Court Buildings, Inner Temple from 1801 to 1809 (External link to map showing Temple)]
Discussing "L" [Lambs] in his essay on the conversation of authors, William Hazlitt describes "their Thursday evening parties" [*] where friends gathered to discuss topics in depth. He describes accompanying Holcroft "downstairs and on coming to the landing-place at Mitre Court" stopping to hear Holcroft's comments on Coleridge (still upstairs). Holcroft and Coleridge had fallen out over German philosophy, and Holcroft was leaving:
"After he was gone we had our laugh out, and went on with the argument on the nature of Reason, the Imagination, and the Will. I wish I could find a publisher for it; it would make a supplement to the "Biographia Literaria"...Those days are over! An event, the name of which I wish never to mention, broke up our party, like a bombshell thrown into the room; and now we seldom meet: "Like angel's visits, short and far between". There is no longer the same set of persons, nor of associations. Lamb does not live where he did. By shifting his abode, his notions seem less fixed. He does not wear his old snuff-coloured coat and breeches. It looks like an alteration in his style."

The conversation, described by Hazlitt, on the topic Of persons one would wish to have seen refers to one of the company as a "Mitre-courtier". Someone asked Charles if, from the window, they could see "the Temple walk in which Chaucer used to take his exercise"?

There were ladies present, and one, "Mrs Reynolds" (wife of John Hamilton Reynolds?) is recorded as taking an active part. But I think the following passages refer to Mary Lamb:

"We were the less soilicitous on this subject of filling the lists of Good Women, as there was already one in the room as good, as sensible, and in all respects as exemplary as the best of them could be for their lives! 'I should like vastly to have seen Ninon de l'Enclos' said that incomparable person; and this immediately put us in mind that we had neglected to pay honour to our friends on the other side of the channel"

[They do not, however, discuss Ninon de l'Enclos (1620-1705), either her much quoted sayings, or her reputation for sexual loves for financial ends. Instead they talk about Voltaire and Rousseau]

Charles [or, in other editions, Hunt] finally brings in Jesus, without saying his name:

"'If Shakespeare was to come into the room, we should all rise up to meet him; but if that person was to come into it, we should all fall down and try to kiss the hem of His garment!' As a lady present seemed now to get uneasy at the turn the conversation had taken, we rose up to go. The morning broke by that dim, dubious light..."

[*] Other biographers say the parties were on Wednesdays, as Charles in 1808 says they usually were.

Those who have been listed as attending these parties, apart from Mary and Charles, include William Ayrton (musician); Captain Burney and Martin Burney (his son); Samuel Taylor Coleridge, George Dyer; Thomas Holcroft, Joseph Hume; Leigh Hunt, John Rickman (clerk to the speaker) and Edward "Ned" Phillips (another clerk and Rickman's successor); Mrs Reynolds "who, being of a quiet turn, loved to hear a noisy debate", James White (treasurer at Christ's Hospital);

Mrs Reynolds: Her husband had been a ship-captain or something. She had known Goldsmith and he had presented her with an inscribed copy of The Deserted Village. Mrs. Reynolds met Thomas Hood at a "Saturday Evening" at the Lambs', and he was so taken with her that he has told us "she looked like an elderly wax doll in half mourning, and when she spoke it was as if by an artificial process; as she always kept up the gurgle and buzz until run down."

Edward Moxon baptised 12.12.1801 at All Saints, Wakefield, Yorkshire. Son of Michael and Ann Moxon. His brothers and sisters, baptised in the same church, included Mary Moxon baptised 12.10.1803, William Moxon, baptised 6.8.1808, Ann Moxon, born 23.4.1811 baptised 10.8.1811.

21.12.1801: When Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin was 4, William Godwin married Mrs Mary Jane Vial (also known as Clairmont). Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin's brothers and sisters are now: Fanny Imlay, Charles Clairmont, aged 7, and Jane (later Claire) Clairmont, also 4 years old.

Charles Lamb by Bryan Waller Procter 1802 Charles Lamb by Bryan Waller Procter

February 1802 Publication of Charles Lamb's essay "The Londoner" in the Morning Post. This essay, and it significance in relation to the poet "Mountaineers" (particularly Wordsworth and Coleridge") are discussed by Judith Fish in a recent article for the Charles Lamb Society, in which she quotes the following:.

"The man must have a rare recipe for melancholy, who can be dull in Fleet-street. I am naturally inclined to hypochondria, but in London it vanishes, like other ills. Often when I have felt a weariness or distaste at home, have I rushed out into her crowded Strand, and fed my humour, till tears have wetted my cheek for inutterable sympathies with the multitudinous moving picture, which she never fails to present at all hours, like the shifting scenes of a skilful pantomime."

By Charles Lamb
By myself walking
To myself talking,
When as I ruminate
On my untoward fate,
Scarcely seem I
Alone sufficiently,
Black thoughts continually
Crowding my privacy;
They come unbidden,
Like foes at a wedding,
Thrusting their faces
In better guests' places,
Peevish and malecontent,
Clownish, impertinent,
Dashing the merriment;
So in like fashions
Dim cogitations
Follow and haunt me
In my heart festering,
In my ears whispering,
"Thy friends are treacherous,
Thy foes are dangerous,
Thy dreams ominous."

Fierce Antropophagi,
Spectra, Diaboli,
What sacred St. Anthony,
Hobgoblins, Lemures,
Dreams of Antipodes,
Night-riding Incubi,
Troubling the fantasy,
All dire illusions
Causing confusions;
Figments heretical,
Scruples fantastical,
Doubts diabolical;
Abaddon vexeth me,
Mahu perplexeth me,
Lucifer teareth me -

Robert Burton's verse for the picture
of hypochondriacus, below, was:

Hypochondriacus leans on his arm,
Wind in his side doth him much harm,
And troubles him full sore, God knows,
Much pain he hath and many woes.
About him ports and glasses lie,
Newly bought from 's apothecary.
This Saturn's aspects signify,
You see them portrayed in the sky

Hypochondriarchus from the 
front picture in Burton's
Anatomy of Melancholy

Jesu! Maria! liberate nos ab his diris tentationibus Inimici

Autumn 1802 Samuel Le Grice died in the West Indies

4.10.1802 William Wordsworth married Mary Hutchinson. Dorothy continued to live with them at Dove Cottage.

April 1803 Resumed war between Britain and France

1803-1806 The life and posthumous writings of William Cowper, Esq. by William Hayley, published by Johnson in four volumes.

In 1803 the Lambs met the Burney family of 26 Little James Street, Pimlico. They also met William and Mariane Ayrton (Arnold before her marriage) who lived next door at 24 Little James Street. William Ayrton's sister was Mrs Paris of Cambridge. The son of William and Mariane was W.S. Ayrton

On 1.3.1803, Charles Isola of the parish of Fen Ditton, and Mary Humphreys, of the parish of St Mary the Less, Cambridge were married. Charles, their eldest son, was baptised at Fen Ditton Church on 28.4.1804. Their other children were baptised at St Mary the Less, which is where they were both buried in 1814/1815.. St Mary the Less is in Trumpington Street, next to Peterhouse.

Hoxton House - click for source 29.3.1803 Mary scared Coleridge, who was staying with the Lambs. He insisted on taking her to "the" Hoxton madhouse. On 4.4.1803 he explained this in a letter to Sara Coleridge:

"I had purposed not to speak of Mary Lamb -- but I had better write it than tell it. The Thursday before last she met at Rickman's a Mr Babb [or Babbs?], an old friend and admirer of her mother / the next day she smiled in an ominous way -- on Sunday she told her brother that she was getting bad, with great agony -- on Tuesday morning [March 29] she layed hold of me with violent agitation, and talked wildly about George Dyer / I told Charles, there was not a moment to lose / and I did not lose a moment -- but went for a Hackney Coach, and took her to the private Madhouse at Hogsden / She was quite calm, and said -- it was the best to do so -- but she wept bitterly two or three times, yet all in a calm way. Charles is cut to the heart"

1803 to 1807 John Stoddart was King's and Admiralty advocate in Malta

1804 to 1809 Samuel Taylor Coleridge in Malta and Italy
Birth of Catherine Wordsworth

Matilda Betham's A biographical dictionary of the celebrated women of every age and country six page introductory, then 774 pages. Published London.

"By 1805, at his wife's suggestion, Godwin became a publisher whose main business was the production of books 'for the use and amusement of children'... They flourished at first, and the family moved to Skinner Street, Holborn, next door to new office premises" (Muriel Spark Mary Shelley, p.13)
Fables, ancient and modern, for the use of children by Edward Baldwin (pseudonym of William Godwin), 2nd edition; with copperplates that have been attributed to Blake, published by Thomas Hodgkins, London.
The king and queen of hearts: with the rogueries of the knave, who stole the queen's pies [A poem] [By Charles Lamb] London: Thomas Hodgkins. Pages not numbered; illustrated; 8o. Printed on one side of the leaf only. An additional titlepage, engraved, bears the date 1805

Mary and Sarah's mother

Monday 3.6.1805 Mary taken to a madhouse.

Sunday 16.6.1805 Charles writes to Dorothy Wordsworth in reply to a letter sent to Mary.

"Last Monday week was the day she left me... . . . when she begins to discover symptoms of approaching illness, it is not easy to say what is best to do. Being by ourselves is bad, and going out is bad. I get so irritable and wretched with fear, that I constantly hasten on the disorder. You cannot conceive the misery of such a foresight. I am sure that for the week before she left me, I was little better than light- hearted.

Meantime she is dead to me, -- and I miss a prop. All my strength is gone, and I am like a fool, bereft of her co-operation. I dare not think, lest I should think wrong; so used am I to look up to her in the least and the biggest perplexity. To say all that I know of her would be more than I think any body could believe or even understand; and when I hope to have her well again with me it would be sinning against her feelings to go about to praise her: for I can conceal nothing that I do from her. She is older, and wiser, and better than me, and all my wretched imperfections I cover to myself by resolutely thinking on her goodness. She would share life & death, heaven and hell with me. She lives but for me. And I know I have been wasting and teazing her life for five years past incessantly with my cursed drinking and ways of going on. But even in this up-braiding of myself I am offending against her; for I know that she has cleaved to me for better, for worse; and if the balance has been against her hitherto, it was a noble trade.

Poor Miss Stoddart! she is coming to England under the notion of passing her time between her mother and Mary, between London and Salisbury." "her Mother is gone out of her mind"

Early July 1805? Charles writes that Mary "has showed signs of convalescence".

Early August 1805 Mary returns home.

September 1805 In a letter to Sarah Stoddart, Mary speaks of her period in the madhouse as her "banishment"

November 1805 Mary writes to Sarah Stoddart in Salisbury.

"It was perhaps so ordered by providence that you might return home to be a comfort to your poor Mother, And do not I conjure you let her unhappy malady afflict you too deeply -- I speak from experience and from the opportunity I have had of much observation in such cases that insane people in the fancy's they take into their heads do not feel as one in a sane state of mind does under the real evil of poverty the perception of having done wrong or any such thing that runs in their heads.

Think as little as you can, and let your whole care be to be certain that she is treated with tenderness. I lay a stress upon this, because it is a thing of which people in her state are uncommonly susceptible, and which hardly any one is at all aware of, a hired nurse never, even though in all other respects they are good kind of people. I do not think your own presence necessary unless she takes to you very much except for the purpose of seeing with your own eyes that she is very kindly treated."

The day after: Mary writes again to Sarah Stoddart in Salisbury.

"that which gives me most concern is the way in which I talked about your Mother's illness and which I have since feared you might construe into my having a doubt of your showing her proper attention without my impertinent interference. God knows nothing of this kind was ever in my thoughts.

I have entered very deeply into your affliction with regard to your Mother, and while I was writing, the many poor souls in the kind of desponding way she is in whom I have seen, came afresh into my mind, and all the mismanagement with which I have seen them treated was strong in my mind, and I wrote under a forcible impulse which I could not at that time resist, but I have fretted so much about it since, that I think it is the last time I will ever let my pen run away with me."

Charles Lamb by Bryan Waller Procter 1806 Charles Lamb by Bryan Waller Procter

Charles was asked by William Godwin (Mary Wollstonecraft's husband and Mary Shelley's father) to write for his Juvenile Library of children's books. Charles and Mary wrote their Tales from Shakespear. Mary wrote the comedies and Charles the tragedies.

10.5.1806 Charles Lamb to Thomas Manning (who had sailed for China), writes on behalf of Mary Lamb:

"She says you saw her writings about the other day, and she wishes you should know what they are. She is doing for Godwin's bookseller twenty of Shakspeare's plays, to be made into children's tales. Six are already done by her, to wit, The Tempest, Winter's Tale, Midsummer Night, Much Ado, Two Gentlemen of Verona, and Cymbeline; and the Merchant of Venice is in forwardness. I have done Othello and Macbeth, and mean to do all the Tragedies. I think it will be popular among the little people, besides money. It's to bring in sixty guineas. Mary has done them capitally. I think you'd think"

September 1806 Mary Lamb to Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Coleridge's "silly very silly letter" and his smoking of a "Segar" with Charles the night before have amused Mary greatly. "A few cheerful evenings" spent with Coleridge "serves to bear up" the Lambs' spirits "many a long and weary year." She compliments Coleridge on his children, Derwent ("Pypos"), Sara, and Hartley, of whom she has heard "such favourable accounts" from Southey, Wordsworth, and Hazlitt. [Peal collection]

December 1806 Charles and Mary Lamb, William Hazlitt and Crabb Robinson watched Charles' play, Mr. H., performed at a Drury Lane theatre Charles Lamb by Bryan Waller Procter

In 1807, the influence of C.W.W. Wynn led to Southey receiving a pension of £144 from the government, in place of the annuity that Wynn had been paying him.

Tales from Shakespear. Designed for the use of young persons ... "By Charles Lamb. Embellished with copper-plates", published in two volumes by T. Hodgkins: London, 1807. 12o. The copper plates were engraved by William Blake, after drawings by William Mulready. In the first six and several of the subsequent editions, the name of Mary Lamb does not appear on the title page. The pictures were only used in the first edition. The 1st edition, 1st issue is on paper watermarked 1806. "Printed for Thomas Hodgkins at the Juvenile Library" At least some of the plays were produced as separate books. Cover boards for a later edition have "M. J. Godwin, Juvenile Library, No. 41, Skinner- Street."

A summer in Hoxton

Hoxton House - click for source In June 1807, Charles and Mary seem to have made a trip to Suffolk, to Bury St Edmunds or to Playford Hall, near Ipswich, visiting Thomas Clarkson (1760-1846), and his wife. Their visit was abruptly terminated and the following letters suggest that they left with the intent of taking Mary to a madhouse in Hoxton that was used to receiving her. The journey home distressed Mary and, at Chelmsford, she was provided with a strait-jacket by the Quaker grocers, William and Priscilla Knight. Charles wrote to Thomas Clarkson:

"My sister was tolerably quiet until we got to Chelmsford, where she began to be very bad indeed, as your friends William Knight and his family can tell you when you see them. What I should have done without their kindness I do'nt know, but among other acts of great attention, they provided me with a waistcoat to confine her arms, by the help of which we went through the rest of our journey. But sadly tired and miserably depressed she was before we arrived at Hoxton. We got there about half past eight; and now 'tis all over, I have great satisfaction that she is among people who have been used to her. In all probability a few months or even weeks will restore her (her last illness confined her ten weeks) but if she does recover I shall be very carefully how I take her so far from home again. I am so fatigued, for she talked in the most wretched desponding way conceivable, particularly the last three stages, she talked all the way, -- so that you wont expect me to say much, or even to express myself as I should do in thanks for your kindnesses. My sister will acknowledge them when she can. --

I shall not have heard how she is to day until too late for the Post, but if any great change takes place for better or worse, I shall certainly let you know.

She tells me something about having given away one of my coats to your servant. It is a new one, and perhaps may be of small use to him. If you can get it me again, I shall very willingly give him a compensation. I shall also be much obliged by your sending in a parcel all the manuscripts books &c. she left behind. I want in particular the Dramatic Extracts, as my purpose is to make use of the remainder of my holidays in completing them at the British Museum, which will be employment and money in the end.

I am exceedingly harassed with the journey, but the will go off in a day or two, and I will set to work. I know you will grieve for us, but I hope my sister's illness is not worse than many she has got through before. Only I am afraid the fatigue of the journey may affect her general health. You shall have notice how she goes on. In the meantime, accept our kindest thanks --

In July 1807 he wrote to Mrs Clarkson:

Mary still keeps very bad. I have not seen her, Nor do they let me see her till she is getting pretty well. She was a little mending when I enquired last, on Saturday. -- You shall have the earliest intelligence of her restoration. --

. . . Sometimes I can hardly think I have been at Bury, it passed away so like a dream. But I have some recollections of a great deal of kindness & hospitality, abruptly terminating.

I can give no guess when my sister will be well. She has been confined five, six, seven and even ten weeks at a time. If she goes on mending, & has no relapse, a few weeks may bring her about.--"

Hoxton House was noted for refusing admission. In 1814/1815 it was one of the houses that refused Edward Wakefield admission and it as only persuaded to allow relatives to see patients conveniently in 1829/1830.

In 1807, De Quincey made the acquaintance of Coleridge and Wordsworth; Lamb he had sought out in London several years before. (link)

Emma Isola was christened 25.5.1808 at St Mary the Less, Cambridge. She was the daughter of Mary (born Humphreys) and Charles Isola, one of the esquire bedells of the university of Cambridge. Born Trumpington Street, Cambridge. Emma's grandfather, Agostino Isola had died in 1797. Her parents died in 1814 and 1815. Two of Emma's brothers were educated at Christ's Hospital. Emma, who married Edward Moxon, died 1891. She left an album of autographed poems

1808-1839 Southey contributing articles to the (Tory) Quarterly Review

1808 John Hunt and Leigh Hunt founded The Examiner, a weekly magazine with a masthead protesting that half its cost was a government "tax on knowledge". The Hunts continued to edit until 1821. Later, Albany Fonblanque, a Benthamite became editor. Its chief critic from 1833 was John Forster, who was editor from 1847 to December 1855. He was succeeded by Henry Morley. The magazine continued until 1881.

Charles and Mary wrote The Adventures of Ulysses, a children's version of the Odyssey, and Mrs Leicester's School: or, The history of several young ladies, related by themselves.

26.2.1808: In a letter to Thomas Manning, Charles refers to a friend coming to him "the other evening at eleven oClock, when there was a large room full of company, which I usually get together on a Wednesday Evening (all great men have public days)".

Sunday 1.5.1808 William Hazlitt married Sarah Stoddart at St Andrew's Church, Holborn. This is the church where Charles and Mary's mother and father were buried. The only people with William and Sarah were the bride's brother and his wife, Dr and Mrs Stoddart, and Charles and Mary. Mary was (a?) bridesmaid and Charles, the best man, is said to have actually laughed during the ceremony. Presumably John Stoddart gave Sarah away. I think "awful" below means exciting awe (as in 1796 quote) rather than exceedingly bad (a colloquial meaning that developed in the early 19th century). The writer of the Cambridge History clearly has the colloquial meaning in mind.

Charles wrote ominously to Southey, "I was at Hazlitt's marriage and had like to have been turned out several times during the ceremony. Anything awful makes me laugh". After the wedding, the Hazlitts moved to Sarah's cottage at Winterslow, a little village about six miles from Salisbury. [map] For about three years they lived at Winterslow, and afterwards, for brief periods, Hazlitt repaired thither to obtain some of the seclusion which contributed largely to his best writing" Cambridge History

William and Sarah were divorced under Scotish law in 1822, although they appear to have remained married under English law.

Mrs Leicester's School... second edition. London: Printed for M.J. Godwin, at the Juvenile Library: Printed by Richard Taylor and Co., Dedication signed: M.B

The Chemist

George Leman Tuthill (1772- 1835), who became the medical adviser to Charles and Mary Lamb, had been detained as a political prisoner at Verdun, France, after the breakdown of the Treaty of Amiens in May 1803. Recently, his wife had persuaded Napoleon to allow him to return to England, where he resumed his studies at Caius College, Cambridge (AM 1809). He became a Fellow of the Royal Society in Spring 1810 when he was "now residing in Soho Square, London".

"On settling in the metropolis, Dr Tuthill became a private Lecturer on Chemistry and Medicine" Memoirs of eminent physicians and surgeons (1818)

The anonymous author of the memoirs thought that Dr Tuthill's lectures lacked originality, and spoke of him "climbing the hill"

In March 1811 Tuthill was an unsuccessful candidate for the post of physician at St Luke's. The successful candidate, Sutherland, also acquired an interest in Fisher House. Tuthill was granted a license to practice medicine by Cambridge in 1812. He became MD, Cambridge, in 1816 and was appointed joint physician to Bethlem and the Bridewell in July 1816. In 1817, Sutherland said that he was unable to commence treatment of Samuel Wesley 1817 before consulting Tuthill. Tuthill was knighted in 1820. In 1825 he wrote a letter about Charles Lamb's medical condition that helped to secure his retirement.

Tuthill played a significant part in the preparation of the Pharmacopoeia Londinensis of 1824 and 1836. In defence of the phrenological superintendent of Bethlem, in 1830, Tuthill argued the necessity of postmortem science. His Vindiciae Medicae, or a Defence of the College of Physicians was published in 1834, shortly before his death.

David Pitcairn, a previous Lamb doctor, died on 17.4.1809 at Craigs Court, Charing Cross

Samuel James Arnold (1774-1852) licensed to stage opera and other musical dramas at the Lyceum Theatre which he named The English Opera House. He rebuilt the theatre six years later, but it was destroyed by fire in 1830.

1809: Birth of Mary Victoria Novello who, with Emma Isola and William Hazlitt junior were formed into a class by Mary Lamb. She taught them Latin and read to them from the MS of Tales from Shakespear. Mary Victoria married Charles Cowden Clarke in 1828. Their Recollections of Writers was published in 1870

Poetry for Children. Entirely Original, By the Author of Mrs Leicester's School published in two volumes by M.J. Godwin and Co at the Juvenile Library. 41 Skinner Street, Snow Hill.

Charles and Mary Lamb both contributed and some of their individual contributions have been identified

January 1809: The first William Hazlitt junior born, died about June 1809

May 1809 William Blake organised his own exhibition at his brother's house at 28 Broad Street, Golden Square. Few went. When Henry Crabb Robinson did, he was the only visitor. He bought four copies of the Descriptive catalogue of pictures, poetical and historical inventions, painted by William Blake in water colours, being the ancient method of fresco painting restored: and drawings for half-a-crown each. [50p for four!]. The catalogues were admission tickets, and he gave one to Charles Lamb. "His pictures" Charles wrote "have great merit, but hard and dry, yet with grace". He particularly liked Canterbury Pilgrims and said of Blake's analysis of four characters in his catalogue that it was "a most spirited criticism on Chaucer, but mystical and full of vision".

Leaving Mitre Court, Lambs lived at 4 Inner Temple Lane from Saturday 28.5.1809 to 1817   [Cambridge History says: "On 27 May, 1809, the Lambs moved into new quarters at 4 Inner Temple lane, after a short return to Southampton buildings"
Wednesday 7.6.1809 Charles Lamb to Samuel Taylor Coleridge

"I have been turned out of my Chambers in the Temple by a Landlord who wanted them for himself, but I have got other at No. 4 Inner Temple Lane, far more commodious and roomy. I have two rooms on the third floor and five rooms above, with an inner staircase to myself, and all new painted etc. and all for £30 a year. I came into them on Saturday week, and on Monday following Mary was taken ill, with the fatigue of moving, and affected I believe by the novelty of the Home she could not sleep, and I am left alone with a Maid quite a stranger to me, and she has a month or two's sad distraction to go through. What sad large pieces it cuts out of life, out of her life who is getting rather old and we may not have many years to live together. I am weaker and bear it worse than I ever did. But I hope we shall be comfortable by and bye. The rooms are delicious and the best look backwards into Hare Court where there is a Pump always going. Just now it is dry. Hare Court Trees come in at the window, [so] that it's like living in a Garden. I try to persuade myself it is much pleasanter than Mitre Court -- but alas! the Household Gods are slow to come in a new Mansion, They are in their infancy to me, I do not feel them yet -- no hearth has blazed to them yet--. How I hate and dread new places!.

Thomas Holcroft, born 10.12.1745, died 23.3.1809

Mary Lamb's children

Mary Lamb, the writer for children, was mother/teacher/carer/friend to real children for the rest of her life. Mary's books were written between 1806 and 1809, when she and Charles lived at Mitre Court. After they moved to Temple Lane, they gave refuge to Barbara Betham (born about 1800), who, it appears, had run away from Mrs Holcroft's school where she had been sat in stocks for punishment.

Other children she and Charles befriended include Mary Victoria Novello (born 1809), William Hazlitt (born 1811) and Emma Isola (christened 1808). After Charles' death she stayed at Walden House because of the children, and, when the Walden's children grew up, she moved in with Mrs Parsons and her children. At the Parson's house, one of her visitors was John Hollingshead (born 1827). As Charles and Mary adopted Emma Isola, the children of Emma and Edward Moxon were Mary's virtual grandchildren.

Autumn 1809

"Charles took Mary to visit the Hazlitts at Winterslow, where she recovered health, and they had long walks to Wilton, Salisbury and Stonehenge." (Cambridge History) There were other guests staying: Martin Burney and Colonel Phillips. The guests paid for their board. William Hazlitt was writing his Memoir of Holcroft. This did not appear until 1816 and Mary Lamb christened it "The Life Everlasting" (Alexander Ireland 1889)

Spring 1810 Royal Society proposal:
" We the undersigned do certify, that George Tuthill AM of Caius College, Cambridge, and now residing in Soho Square, London, is desirous of the honour of becoming a member of the Royal Society. He is a Gentleman well versed in Mathematical Science, and in Natural Philosophy; and likely to become an useful member of the Society Proposers M Davy, Master of Caius College; Herbert Marsh, ###### Professor of Divinity; R Woodhouse; James Horsburgh; G W Jordan; Thomas Harrison; Robert Ferguson; Richard Chenevix; William Allen"

In 1810, John Stoddart, began writing for The Times. He was its political editor from 1812 to 1816. Editor of New Times from 1817 to about 1826. Known as "Dr Slop" in connection with his antipathy for Napoleon - which would appear to have put him in direct political opposition to his brother in law, William Hazlitt, one of Britain's foremost supporters of Napoleon.

August 1810 to 1814 Peninsula War [External link] [External link]
"After 1810...[Robert Southey] became a warm partisan of public order, an outspoken Tory" .."war weariness began to increase in Britain. The opposition .. took a gloomy view of the war in Spain, and Southey came to feel that only the .. government of Spencer Perceval could be relied on to back the Spaniards" (Carnall ,G. Robert Southey 1964 p.10)

Summer and Autumn 1810

Charles and Mary visited the Hazlitts again in the summer of 1810. They returned by way of Oxford and Blenheim, and then to Bury St. Edmunds. But this ended in Mary's serious relapse, which clouded the early autumn of 1810. Cambridge History

9.8.1810 Charles Lamb to William Hazlitt:

"Epistemon is not well. Our pleasant excursion has ended sadly for one of us. You will guess I mean my sister. She got home very well (I was very ill on the journey) and continued so till Monday night, when her complaint came on, and she is now absent from home.

I am glad to hear you are all well. I think I shall be mad if I take any more journeys with two experiences against it."

Epistemon: a character from Rabelais. The wise tutor of Pantagruel who, having lost his head, has it stitched carefully back and resumes life as before, but with tales of a visit to a hell where heros are labourers and simple philosophers live in luxury. (external link)

about September 1810: Charles and Mary Lamb were being treated by Dr Tuthill (See below)

6.11.1810 Dorothy Wordsworth to Henry Robinson:

"I am much afraid that Miss Lamb is very poorly. -- I have had a letter from Charles, written in miserably bad spirits. I had thoughtlessly (and you can not imagine how bitterly I reproach myself for it) I had thoughtlessly requested her to execute some commissions for me; and her Brother writes to beg that I will hold her excused from every office of that sort at present, she being utterly unable to support herself under any fatigue either of body or mind -- Why had not I the sense to perceive this truth in its full extent? I have caused them great pain by forcing them to a refusal, and myself many inward pangs. I feel as if I ought to have perceived that everything out of the common course of her own daily life caused excitement and agitation equally injurious to her -- Charles speaks of the necessity of absolute quiet and at the same time of being obliged sometimes to have company that they would be better without. Surely in such a case as theirs it would be right to select whom they will admit, admit those only when they are likely to be bettered by society; and to exclude all others! They [have not] one true Friend who would not take it the more kindly of them to be so treated. Pray, as you most likely see Charles from time to time, tell me how they are going on. There is nobody in the world out of our own house for whom I am more deeply interested."

13.11.1810 Mary and Charles Lamb to Dorothy Wordsworth:


"I was then so ill as to alarm him exceedingly, and he thought me quite incapable of any kind of business. It is a great mortification to me to be such an useless creature, and I feel myself greatly indebted to you for the very kind manner in which you take this ungracious matter: but I will say no more on this unpleasant subject. I am at present under the care of Dr Tuthill. I think I have derived great benefit from his medicines. He has also made a water drinker of me, which, contrary to my expectations, seems to agree with me very well.

[later in letter] I hope we had many pleasant fireside hours together, but I almost fear the stupid dispirited state I was in made me seem a very flat companion; but I know I listened with great pleasure to many interesting conversations.

[yet later] I am doing nothing, I wish I was, for if I were once more busily employed at work, I should be more satisfied with myself. I should not feel so helpless & so useless."

23+25.12.1810 Henry Robinson to Dorothy Wordsworth:

". . . I postponed answering your acceptable and obliging letter till I could speak to you concerning our common friends the Lambs.

Mary, I am glad to say, is just now very comfortable; But I hear she has been in a feeble & tottering condition. She has put herself under Dr Tuthill who has prescribed water to her. Charles, in consequence, resolved to accomodote . . . himself to her, And since Lord Mayor's day [November 9] has abstained from all other liquor as w[ell] as from smoaking. We shall all rejoice indeed if this experiments succeds.

Who knows but this promising resolution may have been strengthened by the presence of Coleridge? . . .

[written 12/25] . . . Coleridge spent an afternoon with us on Sunday [December 23]. He was delightful. C. Lamb was unwell & could not join us. His change of habit, tho' it on the whole improves his health, yet when he is ill or low spirited leaves him without a remedy or relief. M. Lamb desired me to say she is very much better."

Friday 8.3.1811 Mary Lamb "perturbed conversation"
Saturday 9.3.1811 Mary "so ill" that Charles took her to an asylum

...the news, which the Lambs would receive while entertaining Coleridge and Hazlitt in the evening of the date of this letter, of George Burnett's death in a Marylebone workhouse and the effect the news would have that evening on Coleridge in the presence of Mary combined gradually to overset her. Possibly on Thursday, March 7, she wrote Dorothy and William Wordsworth (no letters extant) of her awareness of a difficulty between Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. According to the report Coleridge has given of what Mary had written, she had pressed William Wordsworth immediately to come to town. For in her estimation Coleridge's mind, from its various shocks, had become "seriously unhinged." On Friday, March 8, Mary called on the Godwins and alarmed them by her perturbed conversation, though on the same Friday, Lamb, as if nothing were wrong, wrote John Morgan to expect him and Mary for a meal in the Morgan household on Sunday. So ill was Mary by five o'clock in the morning of Saturday, March 9, however, that within the next two hours Lamb had to take her to an asylum in the country. Later that Saturday Lamb notified of what had happened to Mary and, presumably, did not go to Morgan's house on Sunday. Morgan, also on Saturday, told Coleridge of the sad event. Coleridge mentioned it, Burnett's death, and his own consequence illness in a letter of March 12 to Robinson . . . Mary Lamb returned home between May 6 and 11. (Marrs 3, 73 n.4)" (quote from Susan)

Henry Crabb Robinson Diary, 16.3.1811:

"C. Lamb stepped in to announce Dr Tuthill's defeat as candidate for the post of physician to St Luke's Hospital. He accompanied me and Mrs Collier to Covent Garden... C.L. was seemingly very merry - his sister's illness I dare say leaves him in no other state than outward affliction or violent and false spirits which he works himself into to subdue his real feelings"

Mary returned home in early May

Crimes and Horrors?

Sarah Burton p.295 says " Whitmore - or Warburton's - was the very madhouse in which Mary Lamb was regularly confined". She quotes horrible abuses of patients reported by John Wilson Rogers in 1815 and John Mitford in 1825, and says on page 297 "It is an inescapable fact that these abuses were occurring within the same walls that confined Mary, at the time that she was confined there and to people like her".

The 1815 booklet of John Wilson Rogers relates mainly to the treatment of paupers in Warburton's Bethnal Green Asylums. It has not been suggested that Mary was ever confined at Bethnal Green, so the emphasis must be on Mitford, who writes principally about Whitmore House, which is just north of Hoxton (map), and which took aristocratic and well-off patients.

Mitford was an inmate of Whitmore from May 1812 to March 1813, and so I have taken it that his allegations relate to that period. The visitors reports on Whitmore for 1829/1830 (when commissioners would have been very well aware of the abuse allegations) give a uniformly good account of the house.

I suggest that Charles was confined in in Hoxton House. After the murder, Mary was confined at Islington. On some later occasions she was confined at Hoxton, but I have suggested that this was Hoxton House, not Whitmore House.

Sarah Burton on page 98 says that Mary spent time in both Hoxton House and Whitmore. This is, of course, possible. It might be suggested by her nurses being ex- Whitmore House nurses. If she was a patient in Whitmore House I think it would have been later, rather than earlier, as the costs were very high and Charles and Mary's earlier income would not have sufficed. Apart from the nurses, I have not yet found anything to suggest Mary was ever a patient in Whitmore House. In 1829 and 1830 we know that Mary was a patient at Fulham because she is recorded in the registers.

On the evidence I have, it seems to me that the reason early authors have not spoken of Mary being abused in madhouses is that the writings of Charles and Mary suggesting she was usually treated kindly are substantially correct.

Illness of Mary Lamb from February to May stated in a secondary source. Not located in primary source yet.

15.3.1812 Charles Lamb's mocking poem about the Prince of Wales "The Triumph of the Whale" published in The Examiner. The week afterwards, Leigh Hunt wrote a prose attack on the Prince that lead to the prosecution of the Hunts for publishing a libel.


Henry Crabb Robinson Diary, 11.5.1812:

"I went again to Coleridge, where I found the Lambs. I had just heard of what had taken place about an hour and half before, the assassination of Mr Perceval. This news shocked C. exceedingly... C.L. was apparently affected, but could not help mingling with humour his real concern at the event, for he talked of loving his Regent"

Monday 18.5.1812: John Bellingham, alleged lunatic, hanged outside Newgate for the murder of the prime minister

May-August 1812 Charles Lamb and H. Crabb Robinson patch friendship with Wordsworth (Wordsworth reconciled with Samuel Taylor Coleridge).

Hertfordshire links: (copied from Alliance of Literary Societies web:

"At Cherry Green, along a no-through road from Westmill, lies 'Buttonsnap', a cottage owned by Lamb which he sold for the paltry sum of fifty pounds in 1815. He had inherited the property in 1812 but never lived there. It was acquired by the Charles Lamb Society from the Royal Society of Arts in 1949 but was sold in the 1980s and is now a private residence. Note the bread oven. Two plaques on the cottage commemorate the association with Lamb and in 1965 a medallion portrait, which had originally come from a bank in Chancery Lane, was re-erected in the garden."

December 1812 Trial of the Hunts, they were defended by Henry Brougham. In February 1813 they were sentenced to two years imprisonment

Winter 1812/1813

"my brother being unable to pursue a work he had begun, owing to the kind interruptions of friends who were more at leisure than himself, I persuaded him that he might write at ease in one of these rooms, as he could not then hear the door-knock"

Illness of Mary Lamb stated in a secondary source. Not located in primary source yet. [may refer to June below?]

January 1813 Confessions of a Drunkard printed in The Philanthropist: a slave to drink and tobacco tells his story and pleads with others to think again.

Henry Crabb Robinson Diary, 14.1.1813:

"Called at Lamb's, where I found the Hazlitts, etc, and chatted pleasantly enough with them"

3.2.1813 to 3.2.1815 Leigh Hunt imprisoned in the Surrey Gaol, Horsemonger Lane. In 1824 he wrote about his visitors whilst in prison:

"But what return can I make to the Ls [Lambs] who came to comfort me in all weathers, hail or sunshine, in day-light or in darkness, even in the dreadful frost and snow at the beginning of 1814?"

Henry Crabb Robinson Diary, Thursday 29.4.1813:

"I spent the evening, which I have not done for a long time before, at C. Lamb's; at whist as usual. Chat with Hazlitt...

Read lately C. Lamb's Confessions of a Drunkard, a very striking composition and calculated to do good generally, though it will hardly be thought so near a correct representation of a fact as it really is. It is sometimes painfully eloquent."

Henry Crabb Robinson Diary, Friday 11.6.1813:

"When I came home, C. Lamb was here. His sister had been taken ill and he had brought her from Windsor. He came with a note from miss Hayes I was to answer."

Henry Crabb Robinson Diary, Wednesday 10.11.1813:

"Took tea with Lamb. I also called and supped with Godwin. The Lambs were there... Kenney was there."

Henry Crabb Robinson Diary, 12.11.1813:

"In the evening a party at Anthony Robinson's. The Lambs were there, and Charles seemed to enjoy himself. We played cards, and at the close of the evening he dryly said to Mrs Robinson 'I have enjoyed the evening much, which I do not often do at people's houses'."

Henry Crabb Robinson Diary, 30.12.1813:

"After dinner a rubber at Lamb's; then went with Lamb and Barney to Rickman's; Hazlitt there. Cards, as usual, were our amusement. Lamb was in a pleasant mood. Rickman spoke of Chatterton's forgeries. I saw one manuscript in which he had seventeen kinds of e's all written differently. 'Oh,' said Lamb, 'that must have been modern - written by one of "the mob of gentlemen who write with ease"'" [the pun draws on Pope's Satires]

Charles Lamb has been said to have published nothing between 1814 and 1818

June/July? 1814: Samuel Taylor Coleridge under the care of Dr Daniel for opium addiction and suicidal depression.
Mary Shelley elopes with a married man

2.11.1814 Mary Lamb's letter to Barbara Betham

Mary Lamb ill December 1814 and January 1815. Before she fell ill, she said she felt "great fatigue" from writing a magazine article

Emma Isola seven years old. Her father, Charles Isola, had died in 1814. Her mother, Mary Isola died in 1815 (buried on 9.6.1815). Her youngest brother was four months old when he was buried on 3.9.1815. It appears that Mary's sister, Elizabeth Humphreys, acted as guardian to the orphaned children. She lived with Mrs Paris in Cambridge. [See meeting with Lambs]

About 1815 (or earlier), Charles became acquainted with Sarah James

1822: France   1823: Hastings   1825: Clarendon Cottage   1827: John Hollingshead born   1830: Regents Park proposal   1835: at Moxon's house   1841: Census

In 1822, Henry Crabb Robinson calls Sarah James: "Miss Lamb's nurse, in case she should be ill". Nurse was another word for "keeper", but used only for women. (See the way the words are used by Charles Lamb in his letter of about 1830, when he is talking about asylum attendants). A keeper or nurse might be recommended by a doctor as part of the home care of a patient. Charles says that Miss James' sister was "patronised" by Dr Tuthill, and it may be through Dr Tuthill that the Lambs met Sarah James.

Thomas Noon Talfourd met Lamb at the beginning of 1815 through William Evans, who held an office in the East India House and was proprietor of The Pamphleteer. He had previously "hunted London for a copy of Rosamund Gray" (DNB). Talfourd (on the advice of Brougham) was studying law. He was a pupil of Joseph Chitty (to 1817) and was "in rooms on the next staircase to Lamb's in Inner Temple Lane. He was invited to dinner with Charles Lamb at the house of William Evans, but could not go until 10pm

"through a deep snow, palpably congealing into ice". Charles was about to leave, but "stayed half an hour in kindness to me, and then accompanied me to our common home - the Temple...He took my arm, and we walked to the temple, Lamb stammering out fine remarks as we walked; with an urgency which would not be denied, and we mounted to the top story, where an old petted servant, called Becky, was ready to receive us. We were soon seated before a cheerful fire." (Lucas, E.V. 1921 pp 430-432).

No mention is made of Mary in Talfourd's account. It seems highly likely he visited whilst she was in the madhouse. Charles drank and smoked a lot. The conversation was more serious than Talfourd ever had again with Lamb and they stayed until two o'clock

"when Lamb gave me a hearty invitation to renew my visit at pleasure; but two or three months elapsed before I saw him again" (Lucas, E.V. 1921 p.432).

February 1815: Mary Lamb home, "pale and thin, but in no respect alarmingly."

April 1815 The British Lady's Magazine contained a letter On Needlework believed to have been written by Mary Lamb.

"In the May 1815 number of The Pamphleteer, Thomas Noon Talfourd, Lamb's friend and original biographer, mentioned him in the ambitious article, "An Attempt to Estimate the Poetical Talent of the Present Age, Including a Sketch of the History of Poetry, and Characters of Southey, Crabbe, Scott, Moore, Lord Byron, Campbell, Lamb, Coleridge, and Wordsworth." Talfourd allotted but a single page to Lamb, praising him warmly but generally: "Of all living poets he possesses most the faculty of delighting ......"" (external link)

Talfourd knew Hazlitt quite well after 1815 (Priestley)

July to September 1815: Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote Biographia Literaria (published 1817). In this he explained his theory of knowledge, developed from his study of German philosophers, in which imagination is necessary to interpret empirical reality. Coleridge's epistemology comes somewhere between Wordsworth's empiricism and the deification of imagination by William Blake. Wordsworth's collected poems were published in 1815. Blake annotated the margin of his copy with his refutation of Wordsworth's reliance on the senses (listening to nature).

Summer 1815 E. V. Lucas surmises that it was in the summer of 1815 that Charles and Mary Lamb and Baron Field went to Hertfordshire in search of Mary's relations. He says that Baron Field, although a Hertfordshire Field, was not related to Mary (whose mother was Elizabeth Field. It seems a remarkable coincidence of names for a trip in search of relatives.

September 1815: Mary Lamb "taken with one of her violent illnesses" -- "frightfully soon this time, with scarce a six month's interval." Five weeks later, she began to "shew some favorable symptoms"

Mary Matilda Betham: The Lay of Marie: a poem. [With "Extracts from a dissertation on the life and writings of Marie, an Anglo-Norman poetess of the thirteenth century. By Monsieur La Rue," and an abstract of the twelve lays of Marie, with versions of two lays.] Publishd London: Rowland Hunter, 1816.

30.3.1816 Robert Southey wrote to C.W. Williams Wynn asking him to go with his brother, Dr Henry Herbert Southey, on a visit to Mr Peacock, an old friend they suspected was wrongly confined as insane.

16.4.1816 Samuel Taylor Coleridge became a patient and guest in the household of Dr James Gillman in Highgate.

20.5.1816: A review of Coleridge's poem Christabel in The Times is believed to have been written by Charles Lamb. (external link). At this time, Mary Shelley is in a position to be reporting Charles Lamb's opinions.

At some time in 1816, Fanny Kelly, on stage, was fired upon by a desperate admirer. Charles and Mary Lamb were in the audience and some of the shot fell in Mary's lap. The person who fired may have been "Barnett", who spent many years in Bethlem as a consequence.

The Lamb's physician, George Leman Tuthill, was elected joint physician to Bethlem in 1816.

"After several years climbing the hill in this way" [as a private lecturer on chemistry and medicine] "Dr Tuthill was appointed... physician to the Westminster Infirmary, a proper school for his pupils, if he has any. He has lately been a fortunate candidate for the appointment to Bethlem. By the first announcement of the vacancy from the Governors he and several others were incompetent for election: they stood in a middle state... They wanted the dignity of a Fellowship, and they considered themselves an inch higher than the Licentiates

But the college smoothed the business, and found them complete physicians, though neither one thing nor another... By this, Dr Tuthill gained his election and we hope will enter now on a more important field than teaching " Memoirs of eminent physicians and surgeons (1818)

November 1816: Mary Lamb to Sara Hutchinson:

"We have passed ten, I may call them very good weeks at Dalston, for they completely answered the purpose for which we went. -- Reckoning our happy month at Calne we have had quite a rural summer & have obtained a very clear idea of the great benefit of quiet -- or early hours and time entirely at ones own disposal, and no small advantages these things are, but the return to old friends -- the sight of old familiar faces round me has almost reconciled me to occasional headaches and fits of peevish weariness -- even London streets, which I sometimes used to think it hard to be eternally doomed to walk through before I could see a green field, seem quite delightful."

Bryan Waller Procter says it was in 1817 or 1818 he first became personally acquainted with Charles Lamb

April 1817 A brief illness of Mary Lamb stated in a secondary source. Not located in primary source yet.

Charles and Mary Lamb left the Inner Temple in 1817 and moved to 20 Russell Street, Covent Garden (by November 1817 - Burton p.287). They lived there to August 1823. This was not 20 Great Russell Street (as previously suggested on this page) (External link to map showing Great Russell Street - the street running past the British Museum)]. Clare Rider points out that there was a Russell Street which ran from Covent garden market to Drury Lane (reference The A to Z of Georgian London, London Topographical Society number 126 1982 p11 grid reference Ba) which is must be the one in question, since Mary Lamb mentions being opposite the Drury Lane theatre in her letter to Miss Wordsworth in 1817. The modern day maps still show a Russell Street in this area (although it is shorter than it used to be) running from the top of Catherine Street eastwards to Drury Lane. (map link)

21.11.1817 Letter/s from Charles and Mary Lamb to Dorothy Wordsworth

28.12.1817 Benjamin Haydon's dinner party in the presence of his unfinished canvas Christ's Entry into Jerusalem, with likenesses of Keats, Wordsworth, Hazlitt, and others. Guests John Keats, William Wordsworth, Charles Lamb, and Tom Monkhouse. Joined later by John Landseer, John Kingston, and Joseph Ritchie, a surgeon who carried a copy of Keats's Endymion during his African explorations... "a tipsy Lamb... recited nursery rhymes until he was dragged from the room." (The Immortal Dinner: A Famous Evening of Genius and Laughter in Literary London, 1817 by Penelope Hughes-Hallett, published September 2002)

1.1.1818 Anonymous publication of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

First collected works of Charles Lamb included poetry by Mary Lamb:

The Works of Charles Lamb 2 volumes. C and J. Ollier, London. Volume one contained Poems; Sonnets; Blank Verse; John Woodvil, a Tragedy; The Witch, a Dramatic Sketch of the Seventeenth Century; Curious Fragments from a common-place-book of Robert Burton; Rosamund Gray, a Tale; Recollections of Christ's Hospital. The twenty "poems" included six newly published poems by Mary Lamb, as well as her High-born Helen and a poem from Poetry for Children.

18.2.1818: Letter of Charles Lamb to Mary Wordsworth

July/August 1818 Illness of Mary Lamb stated in a letter from Mrs Leigh Hunt to Mary Shelley. Duration uncertain.

Emma Isola eleven years old

In the summer of 1819, Fanny Kelly was engaged at the Lyceum or English Opera House. This was then leased to Samuel James Arnold, brother of Mariane Ayrton. Charles Lamb was writing criticisms of her acting in the The Examiner.

20.7.1819: Charles Lamb to Fanny Kelly, Fanny Kelly to Charles Lamb.

Emma Isola twelve years old
Possibly in 1820 that Charles and Mary Lamb met Emma - at the Cambridge home of Elizabeth Humphreys (Emma's aunt and guardian) and the Lamb's friend Mrs Paris. Emma may have stayed with the Lambs in London for a month over the holidays or this may have been 1821. Emma increaingly stayed with them for holidays, moving into the family in 1823

Spring 1820: Letter from Mary Lamb to Mrs Vincent Novello. Charles and she are considering splitting their time evenly "between quiet rest and dear London weariness".

18.7.1820 Henry Crabb Robinson, on circuit Huntingdon/Cambridge, was visited in the evening by Mary Lamb. He went with her to their lodgings where he played whist with Mary, Charles and a Mrs Smith. On 20.7.1820 he went with Charles and Mary on a "walk behind the colleges"

14.8.1820: William Hazlitt moved into lodgings in Southampton Buildings. On 16.8.1820, Sarah Walker, the landlord's daughter brought breakfast to his room. He became infatuated with her. ["Hazlitt House" is 45 Southampton Buildings, Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1AR] At some time, Hazlitt held a "sort of evening levee" in the "Southampton Coffee-House, Southampton Buildings, Chancery Lane" (Alexander Ireland 1889 p.lvi)

The London Magazine founded by John Scott (1783-1821). Contributors to the magazine under Scott included William Wordsworth, Charles Lamb, Leigh Hunt, William Hazlitt and Thomas Carlyle. Scott was killed in a dual with J. H. Christie of Blackwood's Magazine. His successor, John Taylor (1781-1864), continued his policies.

September 1820: Charles Lamb began contributing to The London Magazine a series of essays by "Elia". The essays ran until 1823. Collected, they appeared as Elia in 1823. Their popularity led to a second series between 1823 and 1825, also largely published in The London Magazine. Published together in 1833 as The Last Essays of Elia     [Christian Lloyd's Lamb site includes Essays by Elia and Last Essays of Elia and a chronology of publication.]

Elia was the name Charles signed his first essay with as this was about South Sea House and Elia was the name of one of the clerk's he had known there. Lamb's second essay, Oxford In The Vacation, published in October, was submitted unsigned, so the editor included it as by Elia, and thus established the tradition, to which Charles became attached. There seems, however to have been no secret about the author's identity.

Also September 1820: Hazlitt's On the Conversation of Authors first published in the London Magazine [copy on Peter Landry's site]

About September/October 1820 An illness of Mary Lamb of unknown duration

Sarah Burton p.287 says that a planned Christmas visit by Emma Isola (the first) was postponed "due to Mary falling ill. However, Mary made a comparatively quick recovery (after less than four weeks), possibly because she was cared for at Dalston rather than being removed to a madhouse. (Henry Crabb Robinson certainly thought this was the case). Except for a week in mid-November when they welcomed Wordsworths back from Europe, the Lambs did not return to Russell Street until shortly after Christmas. In January 1821 Emma arrived for her promised visit" [No references]

November 1820: Christ's Hospital Five-And-Thirty Years Ago

December 1820: The Two Races Of Men

George Leman Tuthill was knighted in 1820 (I have not been able to find out what this was for). The United States National Library of Medicine has manuscript notes taken by George Barber from the lectures given by Sir George Tuthill on the practice of physic. London. 1821-1849 (The bulk in 1821).

Emma Isola thirteen years old

9.1.1821 Emma Isola and Charles Lamb to Miss Humphreys

"Dear Madam,

Carriages to Cambridge are in such request, owing to the Installation, that we have found it impossible to procure a conveyance for Emma before Wednesday, on which day between the hours of 3 and 4 in the afternoon you will see your little friend, with her bloom somewhat impaired by late hours and dissipation, but her gait, gesture, and general manners (I flatter myself) considerably improved by ------ somebody that shall be nameless. My sister joins me in love to all true Trumpingtonians, not specifying any, to avoid envy; and begs me to assure you that Emma has been a very good girl, which, with certain limitations, I must myself subscribe to. I wish I could cure her of making dog's ears in books, and pinching them on poor Pompey, who, for one, I dare say, will heartily rejoice in her departure.

Dear Madam,
Yours truly
foolish C.L."

January 1821 New Year's Day

February 1821 Mrs Battle's Opinions On Whist

Sarah Burton p.315: "In March 1821 the Lambs recommenced shuttling between Russell Street and Dalston"

March 1821 A Chapter On Ears

7.3.1821: Benjamin Robert Haydon's journal `Sir Walter Scott, Lamb, Wilkie, and Procter have been with me all the morning, and a delightful morning we have had..."

April 1821 All Fools' Day & A Quakers' Meeting

May 1821 The Old And The New Schoolmaster

Late May (Burton p.315) 1821 Kent holiday (copied from Alliance of Literary Societies web):

"In 1821 Lamb and his sister stayed at Margate, 'for a sea change' and were visited by Charles Cowden Clarke, the friend of Keats. The Lambs seem to have become very excited by the capture of a huge whale. In 'The Old Margate Hoy' Lamb describes seaside resorts in general and is particularly scathing about the stockbrokers of Hastings."

June 1821: My Relations, in which in which Charles describes his aunt (Hetty?) and his brother, John ("James Elia")

July 1821: Mackery End, In Hertfordshire, in which he describes his relationship with Mary as "Bridget Elia"

August 1821 Imperfect Sympathies

Sarah Burton p.315: "John Lamb became extremely ill towards the end of September 1821, occasioning a breakdown of Mary's equilibrium. Charles remained with her at Dalston....She recovered around the middle of November and they returned to Russell Street" [no references]

September 1821 The Old Benchers Of The Inner Temple

October 1821 Witches And Other Night-Fears

26.10.1821 John Lamb, brother of Mary and Charles, died. At the time Mary "was incapable of feeling it." By late November she was "perfectly recovered" and "pretty well resigned"

December 1821 My First Play

De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium Eater "This new sensation eclipsed Lamb's Essays of Elia, which were appearing in the same periodical. The Confessions of an English Opium-Eater was forthwith published in book form." (link)

Emma Isola fourteen years old

In 1822, the poet John Clare (1793-1864) made his second visit to London and met Charles Lamb, William Hazlitt and Thomas Hood.

January 1822 Dream-Children; A Reverie

February 1822 On Some Of The Old Actors

March 1822 Distant Correspondents

A Catalogue of a Small but Valuable Collection of Italian, French, Flemish and Dutch Pictures, the genuine property of John Lamb ... Also, a collection of high-finished ... pictures ... the genuine property of a man of taste ... : which will be sold by auction, by Mr. Christie ... on Thursday, March 14, 1822, and following day, etc Ten pages. (Microfiche in the British Library)

April 1822 On The Artificial Comedy Of The Last Century

13.4.1822: Charles to William Godwin, assuring him that he will arrange for the political economist and "Numberer of the People" John Rickman to see Mr Booth, author of Tables of Simple Interest (1818). [Peal collection]

May 1822 In Praise Of Chimney-Sweepers

June 1822 A Complaint On The Decay Of Beggars...

18.6.1822 Charles and Mary Lamb, with Monsieur Guichett and Sarah James, travelled to France. Mary Lamb by Ann Gilchrist Charles Lamb by Bryan Waller Procter
They crossed from Brighton to Dieppe. At Amiens, Mary was ill. ("the poor woman who went mad in a diligence on the way to Paris" Thomas Moore?). She and Sarah James, her nurse, stayed at Amiens. Guichett and Charles went on alone. Charles visited the Kenneys at Versailles, with whom, when she was well enough to leave Amiens, Mary Lamb stayed.

July 1822 Detached Thoughts On Books And Reading

India House, 31.8.1822 Letter from Charles to John Clare thanking him for a present of his poems and criticising his too frequent use of provincial phrases, with a receipt at the end for the cooking of frogs. [Bookseller's list]

31.8.1822 Thomas Noon Talfourd married Rachel Rutt

September 1822 A Dissertation Upon Roast Pig

September 1822 Charles Lamb's correspondence with the Quaker, Bernard Barton (1784-1849), began. (external connection)

11.9.1822. Charles Lamb to Mrs James Kenney and Miss Sophy Kenney:

"Mary got home safe on Friday night. She has suffered only a common fatigue, but as she is weakly, begs me thank you in both our names for all the trouble she has been to you."

November 1822. Mary Lamb to Mrs James Kenney and Miss Sophy Kenney:

"I am dying to see you -- we will talk, that is, you shall talk and I will listen from ten in the morning till twelve at night. My thoughts are often with you, and your children's dear faces are perpetually before me. . . . Thank you a thousand times for all your kindness to me. I know you will make light of the trouble my illness gave you; but the recollection of it often sits heavy on my heart. If I could ensure my health, how happy should I be to spend a month with you every summer!"

November 1822 Modern Gallantry

Sometime in 1822 Sarah and William Hazlitt divorced in Edinburgh:

"Sarah Stoddart - Despite the divorce, she remained his friend and most loyal reader, keeping cuttings of his essays, and often visiting him - even helping to nurse him in his final weeks. And it was she who wrote his death notice in the Times." (A memorial for Hazlitt)

Emma Isola fifteen years old. She may have been at school in Dulwich
It is in 1823 that Emma moved in with Charles and Mary, being, in effect, adopted. The event has been ascribed to the death of her father - but he died when she was five. Her aunt, Elizabeth Humphreys, who had been looking after her, was a witness at her wedding. So I do not know any precipitating cause for Emma moving in with Charles and Mary Lamb. After Emma became part of the household, the enlarged Lamb family moved to Colebrooke Cottage.

January 1823 Rejoicings In The New Year's Coming Of Age

January/February 1823 Barrenness Of Imagination In Modern Art

March 1823 Old China

William Hazlitt's "My First Acquaintance with Poets" was first published in the The Liberal in April 1823

4.4.1823: Thomas Moore? "A singular party. Coleridge, Rogers, Wordsworth and wife, Charles Lamb (the hero at present of the London Magazine) and his sister (the poor woman who went mad in a diligence on the way to Paris".

13.4.1823 Letter from Charles to Procter, quoted Burton p.326, resolved to spend some time in Dalston "to recruit, and have serious thoughts - of altering my condition, that is, of taking to sobriety".

May 1823 Poor Relations

Dulwich Emma Isola may have been a student at Dulwich Free School, which became James Allen's Girls School in Dulwich. [Unfortunately, they do not have admissions records before 1878. (Information from the archivist, Cynthia Pullin)]. The suggestion comes from the following:

23.5.1823 at Dulwich College Church, Dulwich, London, England. Emma Isola, daughter of Charles and Mary Isola, christened aged fifteen (Birth given as 1808) It seems this was the same Emma Isola. As it was her second christening it may have been because (with her parents dying when she was young) people were unsure if she had been christened.

[map link (Pigot and co. 1830) shows how far into the countryside Dulwich then was. London in north-east corner. Dulwich south of that. This link says that the chapel was used by the college and local people]. (See Victoria Cowden Clarke's recollections in Anna Gilchrist)

Sarah Burton p.332 says that the Lambs paid for Emma Isola to attend a school in Dulwich run by a Mrs Richardson, having her to stay with them in the holidays. [no references]

"Of Lamb's excursion's Daniel says: "His occasional rambles rarely extended beyond Finchley, on the north, Dulwich College (for its pictures!), on the south; and Turnham Green on the west..." (Lucas, E.V. 1921 p. 639).

June 1823 The Child-Angel, A Dream

June 1823: Charles, Mary and Mrs James in Hastings Mary Lamb by Ann Gilchrist

July 1823 The Old Margate Hoy

Click on the picture of Mary to read Ann Gilchrist on Russell Street squabbles and Dalston violence Mary Lamb by Ann Gilchrist

Charles and Mary lived at Colebrooke Cottage, 64 Duncan Terrace, Islington [N1 8AG] from August 1823 to 1827. The cottage is still there, with a plaque. It is the white building below.

Colebrook Cottage overlooked the New River (the canal bringing water from Hertfordshire to London. Along its banks, Charles and Mary could have walked to Enfield - which is where they next moved.

Colebrook Cottage is on the west of what is shown on street maps as Colebrook Row, at the north end near St Peters Street. (External link to map showing approximate position of Colebrooke Cottage. Notice how close it is to Cross Street and the site of Fisher House) 1830 map showing madhouse opposite Cross Street. Move to the south to see north end of Colebrook Row.
B.W Procter says visits to Cambridge became frequent about this time, leading to meeting with Emma Isola, but it seems "about this time" means the early 1820s rather than 1823 Charles Lamb by Bryan Waller Procter
August 1823: Cambridge History says the move out of London (as it then was) was in August 1823 and that they had practically adopted an orphan girl, Emma Isola, who later (1833) married Edward Moxon, the publisher. Emma Isola was

"the orphan daughter of Charles Isola, one of the esquire bedells of the university of Cambridge. They met her during one of their visits to a Cambridge friend, Mrs Paris; she came to them during her holidays from school, and was eventually adopted by them."

According to Elbert Hubbard:

"They adopted a little girl, a beautiful little girl by the name of Emma Isola. And never was there a child that was a greater joy to parents than was Emma Isola to Charles and Mary.

Mary set herself the task of educating this little girl and formed a class the better to do it - a class of three: Emma Isola, William Hazlitt's son, and Mary Victoria Novello. I met Mary Victoria once; she's over eighty years of age now. Her form is a little bent, but her eye is bright and her smile is the smile of youth. Folks call her Mary Cowden-Clarke.

And I want you to remember, dearie, that it was Mary Lamb who introduced the other Mary to Shakespeare, by reading to her the MS, of the Tales. And further, that it was the success of the Tales that fired Mary Cowden-Clarke with an ambition also to do a great Shakespearean work. There may be a question about the propriety of calling the Tales a great work -their simplicity seems to forbid it, - the term is all right when applied to that splendid life-achievement, the Concordance, of which Mary Lamb was the grandmother.

Emma Isola married Edward Moxon, and the Moxon home was the home of Mary Lamb whenever she wished to make it so, to the day of her death. The Moxons did good by stealth, and were glad they never awoke and found it fame."

I think the chidren's class probably was formed in 1823. Mary Cowden-Clarke's description of it is quoted by Anna Gilchrist

September 1823 Sonnets Of Sir Philip Sydney

9.9.1823 A letter from Mary Shelley to Leigh Hunt after she had seen Charles Lamb. He

"said one thing which I am sure will give you pleasure. He corrected a new edition of Elegant Extracts, in which the Living Poets are included. He said he was much pleased with many of your things, with a little of Montgomery and a little of Crabbe. Scott he found tiresome. Byron had many fine things but was tiresome but yours appeared to be the freshest and best of all. These extracts have never been published. They have been offered to Mr Haunter and seeing the book at his house, I had the curiosity to look at the extracts which pleased Lamb"

17.9.1823 A letter written by Charles, initialed "C.L. & M.L" greatly appreciating Allsop's gift of "the delicatest rainbow-hued, melting piece" of Stilton cheese Lamb has ever "flavoured." Mary is at home, but "has gone back rather than improved." [Peal collection]

October 1823 "Letter of Elia to Robert Southey, Esquire" printed in The London Magazine [Reprinted, amended, in 1833 as On The Tombs In The Abbey] Charles Lamb responding to a review in which Southey had said Essays of Elia was "A book, which wants only a sounder religious feeling to be as delightful as it is original"

"I am a Dissenter. The last sect to which you can remember me to have made common confession, were the Unitarians. You would think it not very pertinent, if (fearing that all was not well with you), I were gravely to invite you (for a remedy) to attend with me a course of Mr Belsham's Lectures at Hackney"

December 1823 Amicus Redivivus

Emma Isola sixteen years old

The Pharmacopoeia of the Royal College of Physicians of London 1824 Translated into English [from Latin?] by Sir George Leman Tuthill. 12 page introductory plus 160 pages. Longman's catalogue on last four leaves

"Through the greater part of 1824, [Charles Lamb] suffered from depression and nervous weakness, which led him to refer to himself as Tremulus or Tremebundus`" Cambridge History

1.2.1824 South Place Chapel, Finsbury (near the present Liverpool Street Station), opened. The chapel was universalist (not believing in hell), unitarian (not believing in the trinity) and later developed to humanist. Minister William Johnson Fox. The literary people who sometimes attended included Leigh Hunt, Thomas Campbell, William Hazlitt, John Forster, Crabb Robinson, Thomas Noon Talfourd, Harriet Taylor and John Stuart Mill. In 1824, Hazlitt described Fox in contrast to Edward Irving:

"There is a Mr Fox, a dissenting minister, as fluent a speaker, with a sweeter voice and a more animated and beneficent countenance than Mr Irving, who is the darling of his congregation; but he is no more, because he is diminutive in person. His head is not seen above the crowd the length of a street off. He is the Duke of Sussex in miniature; but the Duke of Sussex does not go to hear him preach, as he attends Mr Irving, who rises up against him like a martello tower."

September 1824 Blakesmoor in H---shire

The copy on the link above omits a passage linking the picture of "that beauty with the cool blue pastoral drapery and a lamb" to Mary's poem High-born Helen:

"From her, and from my passion for her - for I first learned love from a picture - Bridget took the the hint of those pretty whimsical lines, which thoust mayest see... in the margin" [footnotes the poem]

7.10.1824 Charles Lamb unable to attend Procter's marriage as he was walking with Mary. Charles Lamb by Bryan Waller Procter

November 1824 Captain Jackson

Emma Isola seventeen years old

Spirit of the Age by William Hazlitt. [In Gilchrist's "Authorities"]

"The first letter of any importance in 1825 is to Manning, mentioning that Lamb has seen Sir George Tuthill, the physician and his old friend, who has done for him what may

'To all my nights and days to come
Give solely sovran sway and masterdom'

- in other words, has communicated with the East India Company. concerning Lamb's health. And to Barton on February 10th, he says, 'O that I were kicked out of Leadenhall with every mark of indignity, and a competence in my fob!" (Lucas, E.V. 1921 p.661)

April 1825 Barbara S-----

May 1825 The Superannuated Man

June 1825 Charles retired from East India House. He and Mary lived at Enfield and Edmonton. His health was poor, and Mary's insane periods became longer.

"Charles and Mary stayed at Clarendon Cottage, Gentleman's Row, Enfield in 1825 and 1827." (External link to map of Gentleman's Row.

June 1825 The Wedding

July 1825 The Convalescent

August 1825 Stage Illusion

September to October 1825: Mary ill, but maintained at home (separate from Charles) by her nurse.

9.9.1825 Charles Lamb to Thomas Allsop:

"I am very feeble, can scarce move a pen; got home from Enfield on the Friday, and on Monday following was laid up with a most violent nervous fever second this summer, have had Leeches to my Temples, have not had, nor can not get, a night's sleep."

14.9.1825 Charles Lamb to Thomas Allsop:

"We came down on Monday with Miss James. The first night I lay broad awake like an owl till 8 o'clock, then got a poor doze. Have had something like sleep and a forgetting last night. We go on tolerably in this deserted house. It is melancholy, but I could not have gone into a quite strange one."

24.9.1825 Charles Lamb to Thomas Allsop:

"Come not near this unfortunate roof yet a while. My disease is clearly but slowly going. Field is an excellent attendant. But Mary's anxieties have overturned her. She has her old Miss James with her, without whom I should not feel a support in the world. We keep in separate apartments, and must weather it."

30.9.1825 Charles Lamb to William Hone:

"I came home in a week from Enfield, worse than I went. My sufferings have been intense, but are abating. I begin to know what a little sleep is. My sister has sunk under her anxieties about me. She is laid up, deprived of reason for many weeks to come, I fear. She is in the same house, but we do not meet. It makes both worse. . . . This gloomy house does not admit of making my friends welcome."

3?.10.1825 Charles Lamb to William Ayrton:

"All this Summer almost I have been ill. I have been laid up (the second nervous attack) now six weeks. I have only known what sleep is, and that imperfect, for a week past. I have a medical attendant on me daily, and am brought low, though recovering. In the midst of my sufferings Mary was overcome with anxiety and nursing, and is ill of her old complaint which will last for many weeks to come, she is with me in the house."

10.12.1825 Charles and Mary Lamb to Thomas Manning:

"We have had sad ups and downs since you saw us, but we are at present in untroubled waters though not by them, for our old New River has taken a jaundice of the muds and rains . . ."

Emma Isola eighteen years old

Table Talk by William Hazlitt. [In Gilchrist's "Authorities"]

Charles Lamb to William Wordsworth (about here) on Edward Moxon who worked for Longmans:

"a young lad with a Yorkshire head, and heart that would do honour to a more Southern county", "one of Longman's best hands". "He is a friendly serviceable fellow, and thinks nothing of lugging up a cargo of the newest novels once or twice a week from the row to Colebrooke to gratify my Sister's passion for the newest things. He is her Bodley."

Founded in 1784, in 1826 it was Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown and Green, Paternoster Row. Bodley is the Bodleian Library of Oxford University.

Emma Isola nineteen years old. Her album of poems (now in Harvard University Library) contains a cluster, fairly early on, dated in the summer of 1827.

Emma Isola learning Latin.

29.8.1827: Letter from Charles Lamb to Robert S. Jameson, seeking a position as governess for Emma Isola. It took about a year to find a suitable position for her: in the household of a Bury St Edmunds clergyman.

[Lambs lived at 'The Poplars', Chase Side, Enfield, Middlesex, 1827 - 1829 (plaque) (External link to map of Chase Side The "Church Street" at the foot of this map is not the same as Church Street, Edmonton)]

Their house was next door to a family named Westwood, whose son, Thomas, 13 at the time, noticed them, and escribed his memories in Notes and Queries 1866:

"Leaning idly out of window, I saw a group of three issuing from the gambogey-looking cottage; close at hand: a slim middle-aged man, in quaint, uncontemporary habiliments; a rather shapeless bundle of an old lady, in a bonnet like a mobcap; and a young girl. While before them, bounded a riotous dog, holding a board with 'This House to Let' on it, in his jaws. Lamb was on his way back to the house-agent, and that was his fashion of announcing that he had taken the premises."

"in September, 1827, Lamb, who had found a welcome refuge from Islington in summer visits to Enfield, took a house at Enfield known as Chase side, "the snuggest, most comfortable house, with every thing most compact and desirable." He found delight in the neighbourhood of his favourite Hertfordshire and in correspondence with, and occasional visits from, his friends. Bryan Waller Procter, George Darley, Talfourd, Vincent Novello and Henry Crabb Robinson are among those who shared his intimacy at this time, with Walter Wilson, the biographer of Defoe, and others with whom his friendship had ripened during his later residence in London. Occasionally, he went to London to draw his pension. Once, he dined at Talfourd's to meet Wordsworth, always his idol among contemporary poets" Cambridge History

Autumn 1827 Edward Moxon had left Longman "to better himself" and Charles Lamb recommended him to Henry Colburn as "a young man of the highest integrity and a thorough man of business" (Letters 25.9.1827). Moxon was employed by Hurst's publishing house, St Paul's Churchyard, apparently as literary adviser. He formed a useful friendship with Mr Evans, later of the printing firm, Bradbury and Evans. (DNB)

October to December 1827 Mary ill. At one point, Charles concerned that Mary "hears every person and every knock".

John Hollingshead (9.9.1827-2.10.1904), writer and theatre manager, was born in Union Street, Hoxton. [On the east of Kingsland Road. Click for 1830 map]. As well as overlooking the yards of one of the Hoxton madhouses from his father's house, two of his maiden aunts were matrons at Whitmore House [Click for 1830 map], which he frequently visited as a boy. In My Lifetime (1895) he described how

"My family association with mental disease brought us into friendly contact with Charles and Mary Lamb, who had both suffered from the curse of lunacy ... he had passed a few weeks voluntary confinement in the madhouse at Hoxton which was overlooked by my little bedroom"

"I was very young when Charles Lamb died, and have a hazy recollection of a little Bob Cratchitt of a man, who might have been a tutor at a school, with a neat frail body carrying a large head that looked somewhat top-heavy. A great aunt of mine, named Sarah James, who helped in taking charge of his sister, was his friend and companion"

Emma Isola twenty years old

Mary Victoria Novello married Charles Cowden Clarke. In 1829 she began her Concordance to Shakespeare, inspired by the Lamb's Tales from Shakespear. It began publication in 1844

9.8.1828: Henry Herbert Southey was a Metropolitan Commissioner in Lunacy from 1828 to 1845.

In the Autumn of 1828 John Stuart Mill read Wordsworth for the first time. Reading poetry became his cure for depression. [Highly recommended, although I would suggest composing your own as well]

Emma Isola twenty one years old

Paris : A. and W. Galignani published a composite collection of poets "complete in one volume" with each poet separately paginated. The poetical works of Rogers, Campbell, J. Montgomery, Lamb, and Kirke White I think the poets could also be bought separately. The others were Samuel Rogers, Thomas Campbell (1777-1844), James Montgomery (1771-1854) and Henry Kirke White (1785-1806)]

Lamb's dedication (1828) is to S.T. Coleridge. The works include a collection of twenty-three numbered Sonnets, including Harmony in Unlikeness which is about Charles, Mary and Emma Isola walking "by Enfield lanes, and Winchmore's verdant hill". Charles speaks of "brown" Emma. Cynthia Kimpton notes that a "number of Agostino's descendants ... have a Mediterranean type completion which does not burn and tans beautifully". Emily Isola Mobbs, who died in February 2003, still had black hair, even though she was ninety two years old - "again the Isola genes I would imagine". (email 19.6.2003) It also includes the dark The Gipsy's Malison which Cambridge History ascribes to Album Verses, and appears to believe a late production.

March 1829 Edward Moxon's book of verse Christmas, dedicated to Charles Lamb: "It has no pretensions and makes none, but parts are pretty" (Charles to Bernard Barton) DNB

20.5.1829 to 12.8.1829: Mary a patient at Normand House
"For some time, Mary had been able to remain at home during her long illnesses, but, for Lamb, these were periods of enforced solitude. In the summer of 1829, he was obliged to send her to Fulham, and he felt lonely and out of spirits. His pity was always for her; of himself, he seldom spoke without a touch of humour to relieve his melancholy. But his anxieties led him, in 1829, to seek lodgings with his neighbours, the Westwoods..." Cambridge History

An entry in the official visitors register for Normand House, Fulham reads:

"309 Lamb, Mary Ann of Chase Side, Enfield, certified 21 and 22 May 1829 by W. Ritchie and C.B. Kauf admitted May 20 by Charles Lamb, Brother discharged cured August 12 1829"

House licensed for 20 private patients to Edward and Ann Talfourd -
The parents of Edward Noon Talfourd

Lambs boarded with Mr and Mrs Westwood at Westwood Cottage, Chase Side, Enfield, Middlesex, from mid-October 1829 to May 1833, when they both moved in to Walden's secluded house for lunatics in Enfield. Whilst boarding with Mr and Mrs Westwood, Mary was again a patient at Normand House for several months, and, later, a patient at Walden's. (External link to map of Chase Side The "Church Street" at the foot of this map is not the same as Church Street, Edmonton)]

Emma Isola twenty two years old. (see poem)
Emma Isola ill. Charles refuses a profitable engagement
It appears that Emma visited Mary and Charles for holidays, but on this occasion, came home specifically due to a worrisome bout with "brain fever". After a month of bedrest, Emma recovered and returned to her job.
Charles Lamb by Bryan Waller Procter

Spring 1830 Edward Moxon began business as a publisher at 64 New Bond Street, using £500 capital advanced him by Samuel Rogers. Sidney Lee (DNB) says that Moxon decided to set up as an independent publisher "encouraged by Lamb's sympathy and advice". The first volume he issued was Charles Lamb's Album Verses, with a few others (August 1830). In 1833 he moved to 44 Dover Street, Piccadilly. Lamb wrote (Enfield 1.6.1830) a "Dedication to the Publisher" in which he explains that Moxon was "desirous of exhibiting a specimen of the manner in which Publications, entrusted to your future care, would appear".

1.6.1830 "Dedication to the Publisher" (above). Album Verses contained To a young friend on her twenty-first birthday and To the same

6.7.1830 to 13.10.1830: Mary a patient at Normand House again:

An entry in the official visitors register for Normand House, Fulham reads:

"787 Lamb, Mary age 37 of Southampton Buildings certified 5 July 1830 by W.S. Ritchie and H.C. Field admitted 6 July 1830 by Charles Lamb, Brother discharged 13 October 1830 well"

Mary Lamb was about 67. Possibly there is an error in Valerie Argent's notetaking respecting the age. Charles and Mary Lamb previously lived in Southampton Buildings in 1800/1801, when she was aged 35/36. They may have returned there briefly in 1809, and friends, including Matthew Gutch and William Hazlitt (from 1820) had offices or lodgings there. Charles and Mary may have moved back there whilst nursing William Hazlitt.

External link to map showing Normand Park, Fulham, the site of Normand House private lunatic asylum, shown on an 1874 map on North End Lane between Old Greyhound Road and North End Road]

18.9.1830 William Hazlitt died at No. 6 Frith Street. (map). Those who nursed him during his last illness were Charles Lamb, Mr Patmore (father of the poet) and Basil Montague. Charles Lamb was with him when he died. A memorial for Hazlitt says another who nursed him was Sarah Stoddart and that Charles Lamb arranged the funeral.

In September 1830, the correspondence began between the young Lord Ashley and Robert Southey, which helped to shape Ashley's political and religious ideas

13.10.1830 Mary discharged from Norman House "well"

12.11.1830 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon:

"I have brought my sister to Enfield, being sure that she had no hope of recovery in London. Her state of mind is deplorable beyond any example. I almost fear whether she has strength at her time of life ever to get out of it. Here she must be nursed, and neither see nor hear of anything in the world out of her sick chamber. The mere hearing that Southey had called at our lodgings totally upset her. . . . I dare not write or receive a letter in her presence; every little task so agitates her."

A.D. Morris (1958) quotes the following from a letter from Lamb to Basil Montague, possibly written autumn 1830:

"I have received the inclosed from Miss James. Her sister Mrs Trueman is a most worthy person. I know all their history. There are four daughters of them, daughters of a Welsh clergyman of the greatest respectability, who dying the family were obliged to look about them, and by some fatality they all became nurses at Mr Warburton's, Hoxton.

Mrs Parsons, one of them, is patronised by Dr Tuthill, who can speak for her character. I can safely speak to Miss James's for fifteen years or more.

Trueman has been a keeper at Warburton's. Himself and wife are willing to undertake the entire charge at £200 a year. I think you hardly pay less now. They propose to take a cottage near the Regent's Park, to which by omnibuses you can have short and easy access at any time." (the source given for this letter is Lucas, E.V. 1935, volume three, p. 263)

December? 1830 Charles Lamb to Edward Moxon:

"I am happy to say Mary is mending, but not enough to give me hopes of being able to leave her."

Emma Isola twenty three years old

Charles Lamb to John Forster, that he does not see him enough.

Emma Isola twenty four years old

English Songs, and other small poems by Barry Cornwall published by Edward Moxon: pp. xxii. 228. Another edition brought out in 1844 had pp. xvi. 284.

Single houses Mary Lamb was confined and cared for in Walden's as a single lunatic in April? 1832. Then in May 1833 Charles and Mary resided there together. Later she was confined and cared for in Parsons'. [Law on single houses]

24.4?.1832 In a letter to Edward Moxon, Charles says "I have placed poor Mary at Edmonton". The editor adds a note that this was "Walden House, Edmonton, where mental patients were received."

24.8.1832 In a letter to Henry Crabb Robinson, Charles says "Mary hopes soon to have a rubber with you", which would indicate she was home from Edmonton.

In December 1832, Charles Lamb and Leigh Hunt were contributing to The Reflector, a short lived series of weekly essays that Edward Moxon had just commenced under John Forster's direction.

Emma Isola twenty five years old. In July she married Edward Moxon (thirty one years old)

Charles and Mary Lamb lived with the Walden's at Bay Cottage, Church Street, Edmonton [N9], from early May 1833 to Charles's death on 27.12.1834. Mary continued to live with the Waldens afterwards. The cottage is now known as Lamb's Cottage (plaque)] external link to map of Church Street, Edmonton

Mr and Mrs Walden, who took in mental patients, arranged to lodge and board the brother and sister exclusively. The cottage is a late 17th century timber-frame house with an early 18th century facade and period features. It is a grade two listed building. Nearby is All Saint's Church, where both Charles and Mary are buried in the churchyard. A church has existed on this site since the early 12th century.

external link: the church. . Does anyone know why it also has a monument to William Cowper?

"The couple very kindly took me into the house and said that the living room had not been changed since the Lamb's lived there. Only a few families owned the house over the years after the Lambs lived there. Those present owners had torn out many "improvements" which had been made over the years, getting down to the oldest conditions, which they had lovingly restored. It was quite a thrill to sit there, looking at the book cupboards and the fireplace with the little arm upon which to suspend a kettle and know that Mary and Charles had once sat there before that very fireplace." [Elaine Madsen]
8.5.1833: Charles Lamb to Thomas Noon Talfourd:

"after eight weary years at Enfield I have emancipated myself and am, with my sister ill, at Mr Walden's, Church St. Edmonton. I feel happier than I have been for all those years. . . . Walden and wife had the charge of Mary in her last illness. Now we need move no more -- with love to Mrs T --
23.5.1833: Charles Lamb to Miss Rickman:

"By a sudden illness of my Sister (they now last half the year, in violence first, and a succeeding dreadful depression) I have come to the resolution of living with her under it at a place where she is under regular treatment, and am at Mr Walden's, Church Street, Edmonton. In few weeks, I should like one quiet day among you, but not before."

Late May 1833: Charles Lamb to William Wordsworth:

"Mary is ill again. Her illness encroach yearly. The last was three months, followed by two of depression most dreadful. I look back upon her earlier attacks with longing. Nice little durations of six weeks or so, followed by complete restoration -- shocking as they were to me then. In short, half her life she is dead to me, and the other half is made anxious with fears and lookings forward to the next shock. With such prospects, it seem'd to me necessary that she should no longer live with me, and be fluttered with continual removals, so I am come to live with her, at a Mr. Walden's and his wife, who take in patients, and have arranged to lodge and board us only. They have had the care of her before. I see little of her; alas! I too often hear her. Sunt lachrymae rerum -- and you and I must bear it --"

30.7.1833: Marriage of Emma Isola to Edward Moxon (born 1801, died 1858), the publisher and poet. Charles Lamb gave Emma away. Mary was too ill to attend. The parish registers for St George's Hanover Square record :

"Edward Moxon a bachelor of this parish and Emma Isola of the town of Cambridge were married in this church by licence this thirtieth day of July in the year 1833 by me James Glen curate. This marriage was solemised between us [Edward Moxon, Emma Isola] in the presence of [Charles Lamb, William Moxon, Mary Moxon, Elizabeth Humphreys]

Some of their children: Emma: 1835, John: 1837?, Charles J: 1839, Mary L: 1841,
Kate J: 1843, Mary W: 1845, Arthur Henry: 1848, Lucy G: 1853
Based on the 1881 Census
External link to Oxford Companion to English Literature article on Edward Moxon
[Since 17.6.2003: no longer there. xref has gone commercial]

Early February 1834 Charles Lamb in a letter to Mis Fryer, an old school friend of Emma Isola, describes Mary's mental condition. Talfourd later eleborated on this from his own knowledge of Mary

25.7.1834: Samuel Taylor Coleridge died. Funeral 2.8.1834

14.7.1834?, Charles Lamb and Charles Le Grice dined together at the Bell, Edmonton.

29.12.1834. Death of Charles Lamb from erysipelas as a result of an injury to his face when he fell over during a walk. After Charles' death, Mary's mental health got worse. She probably continued living with the Waldens until 1841.

Yale University has a letter from Charles Ryle to Francis John Field [East India House], telling him of the death of Charles Lamb.

Charles Lamb "left the small savings of his office and literary labours to his sister for life, and willed it after to Miss Isola, or rather Mrs Moxon (anonymous 1890 Prefatory Memoir). "Lamb left his books to Moxon who brought out a colection of his friend's prose works in , with Talfourd's memoir, in 1836, and undertook the first collection of Lamb's prose and poetry in 1840" (DNB) Thomas Noon Talfourd was an executor and trustee under the two wills made by Charles Lamb. Mr Ryle and he were trustees of a trust set up which presumably catered for Mary, as Talfourd wrote to Edward Moxon (no date) expressing his annoyance 'that a difficulty has arisen respecting the transfer to you of the residue of the fund of which Mr.Ryle & I are the trustees' (autographed letter on sale for £150 in 2003)

31.12.1834: Letter to Henry Crabb Robinson from T. N. Talfourd, Temple:

"My dear Robinson, I am very sorry that I did not know where you were, that I might have communicated poor Lamb's death to you before you saw it in the newspaper; ... on Saturday morning I went to see him. He had only been seriously ill since the preceding Wednesday. The immediate disease was erysipelas; but it was, in truth, a breaking up of the constitution, and he died from mere weakness. When I saw him, the disease had so altered him that it was a very melancholy sight; his mind was then almost gone, and I do not think he was conscious of my presence; but he did not, I believe, suffer any pain, nor was he at all conscious of danger. Ryle saw him the day before; then he was perfectly sensible; talked of common things, and said he was only weak, and should be well in a day or two. He died within two hours after I saw him... I doubt whether Mary Lamb will every be quite herself again, so as to feel her loss with her natural sensibility... Miss Lamb is not capable of deriving that comfort from seeing you which I am sure she would so, if she were herself."

Mental deterioration of Dorothy Wordsworth began
Wordsworth entrusted
Edward Moxon with the publication of his works from 1835 onwards (1911 Encyclopedia)

Henry Crabb Robinson Diary, 12.1.1835:

"I resolved today to discharge a melancholy duty, and went down by the Edmonton stage to call on poor Miss Lamb. It was a melancholy sight, but more so to the reflection than to the sense. A stranger would have seen little remarkable about her. She was neither violent nor unhappy; nor was she entirely without sense. She was, however, out of her mind, as the expression is; but she could combine ideas, although imperfectly. On my going into the room where she was sitting with Mr Waldron, she exclaimed with great vivacity, "Oh! here's Crabby". She gave me her hand with great cordiality, and said, "Now this is very kind -- not merely good-natured, but very, very kind to come and see me in my affliction". And then she ran on about the unhappy, insane family of my old friend _____. It would be useless to attempt recollecting all she said; but it is to be remarked that her mind seemed turned to subjects connected with insanity, as well as with her brother's death. She spoke of Charles repeatedly. She is nine years and nine months older than he, and will soon be seventy. She spoke of his birth, and said that he was a weakly, but very pretty child. I have no doubt that if ever she be sensible of her brother's loss, it will overset her again. She will live for ever in the memory of her friends as one of the most amiable and admirable of women."

7.4.1835 Sir George Leman Tuthill died "at his house in Cavendish Square" from "inflammation of the larynx". He was buried at St Albans."Sir George Tuthill was a sound classical scholar and a good chemist" (Munk's Roll).

Catalogue of the medical, botanical, classical and miscellaneous Library of Sir G. L. Tuthill ... sold by auction 1835, in the British Library

Henry Crabb Robinson Diary, 3.12.1835:

"Went in the evening to Moxon's. With him was Miss Lamb. She was very comfortable -- not in high spirits -- but calm, and she seemed to enjoy the sight of so many old friends. There were Carey, Allsop, and Miss James. No direct talk about her brother. Wordsworth's epitaph she disapproves. She does not like any allusion to his being a clerk, or to family misfortunes. This is very natural. Not even dear Mary can overcome the common feeling that would conceal lowness of station, or a reference to ignoble sufferings."

Hubbard on Mary Lamb and the Moxons
Emma Moxon, their eldest child, was born in 1835

This 1836 map segment covers all the places that Mary Lamb lived in Middlesex - as far as I know. Islington can be see to the north of London, Hackney somewhat to the east of Islington. If Mary was sheltered by the protestant dissenters when she left the Islington madhouse, that would have been the area marked Homerton (which is where I live). Hoxton is the area of London poking up below Hackney. Following the road north leads to Edmonton. Enfield, much more isolated, is to the north west. Fulham is in the curve of the river Thames to the south east of the map and Regents Park can be seen to the immediate north west of London.
Hanwell in Middlesex 1836
The full copy of Thomas Moule's 1834 map of Middlesex is on Alan Stanier's web.

a John Moxon born in Lambeth.

Talfourd's first biography of Charles

The Letters of Charles Lamb, with a sketch of his life by T. N. Talfourd [Thomas Noon Talfourd], published by E. Moxon, London.

Henry Crabb Robinson Diary, 23.8.1837:

"I went down to Edmonton, and found dear Mary Lamb in very good health. She has been now so long well, that one may hope for a continuance. I took a walk with her, and she led me to Charles Lamb's grave."

The Works of Charles Lamb, with a sketch of his life by T. N. Talfourd [Thomas Noon Talfourd], published by E. Moxon, London, in three volumes. This was a reprint of 1818 plus the two volumes of Essays of Elia and some letters.

Life of Coleridge by Gillman. Volume one. [In Gilchrist's "Authorities"]

May 1838, Charles Le Grice contributed to the Gentleman's Magazine some reminiscences of Coleridge and Lamb

Early Recollections of Coleridge by J. Cottle. [In Gilchrist's "Authorities"]

Charles J. Moxon born
In 1839 Moxon issued the first complete edition of Shelley's poems.

24.1.1839: Letter to Henry Crabb Robinson from T. N. Talfourd, Serjeants' Inn:

"...Mr Ryle's conviction is that Mary Lamb would not be so comfortable elsewhere; he says she repeatedly told him so; and said (what I had heard, but agreed with you in thinking improbable) that she was greatly comforted by walking in the churchyard and looking at Charles's grave, and could not bear to be deprived of those walks...He found the top of her head of a burning heat -- so hot that leeches, which he ordered, died without having bitten...She looks very old; but her voice is strong and clear, and I should think she may live for years."

4.6.1839 Robert Southey married Caroline Bowles. The severity of his mental decline became evident to her within three months of the marriage.

Henry Crabb Robinson Diary, 29.8.1839:

"After an early dinner I walked to Edmonton, where I stayed more than two hours. Poor dear Mary Lamb has been ill for ten months; and these severe attacks have produced the inevitable result. Her mind is gone, or, at least, has become inert. She has still her excellent heart -- is kind and considerate, and her judgment is sound. Nothing but good feeling and good sense in all she says; but still no one would discover what she once was. She hears ill, and is slow in conception. She says she bears solitude better than she did. After a few games of piquet, I returned by the seven o'clock stage."

From this point on Mary Lamb's life, records are sparse or nonexistent that indicate to us the extent of her health or symptoms.

The following comes from Arbuckle, J. 1881:

"In her very old age it was her habit, so Mr Carew Hazlitt remembers, to visit the houses of her friends with three or four snuff-boxes, which she brought empty and carried away full. She bought also several large silk pocket-handkerchiefs, one of which became the receptacle of some article from the table to which she took a fancy, and this she carried home with her. Mr. Hazlitt tells us that it was the custom to humour the old lady's whims."

The Works of Charles Lamb, A new edition in five parts. Edited by T. N. Talfourd [Thomas Noon Talfourd], published by E. Moxon, London. Included the works published in 1838, plus the letters and life from 1837

Mary L. Moxon born
2.3.1841 Death of George Dyer

In 1841 Henry Hetherington, on the advice of Francis Place, brought a test prosecution for blasphemy against Edward Moxon for publishing Percy Shelley's Queen Mab. Talfourd, then Serjeant, defended Moxon, and pleaded that there "must be some alteration of the law, or some restriction of the right to put it in action". The jury found Moxon guilty, but there was no punishment.

from Waldens, Enfield to Alpha Road, St Johns Wood

On the night of Sunday 6.6.1841, when the Census was taken, Mary Lamb was still living with the Waldens. The census reads (I am not sure about "Louisa")

Frederick Walden aged "40"
Ann Walden aged "40"
Louisa Walden aged "15"
Mary Lamb aged "75"

Monday 21.6.1841 B.W. Procter visited Mary Lamb and found her alone. He wrote to T.N. Talfourd on 22.6.1841

"The woman of the house was out, and did not return while I remained, which was upwards of an hour. I took Miss L. a drive out (a mile or so) and she seemed very glad to have a little fresh air. She tells me that whilst the children were young, she was desirous of staying, to mediate between them and the mother (whose temper she says amounts to a disease) and partly (as far as I could collect) because she thought it might be serviceable to the people themselves. Miss Lamb was, yesterday, perfectly well... In my opinion, her mere desire to leave the place - repeatedly and strongly expressed - is a sufficient reason for her leaving it. No one could talk more sensibly or better in any respect than she did yesterday. She enquired after all her friends and acquaintance - and I think if she were nearer to London, the friends of her brother and herself would have many opportunities of rendering the last days of her life more happy than they are at present"

Sometime afterwards, Mary Lamb moved to St John's Wood. The details (even in the same account) are confusing.

St John's Wood was in the far north west of the Parish of St Marylebone. New villa developments led to a separate parish being set up in the 1840s. See external link to history of the parish church. This 1830 map shows the villas surrounded by large gardens.

June/July 1841 Mary living with Mrs Parsons. (sister to Miss James) at 41 Alpha Road, Regents Park. October 1842 Moved to 40 Alpha Road. [Alpha Road was an extension of Church Street [NW8] to the east of Grove Road. It may be the present Lillestone Street. (modern map)]

A.D. Morris (1958) footnote 26, says Mary Lamb lived with Mrs Trueman at Alpha House, St John's Wood, for the last six years of her life, but I think this is a mistake based on the earlier proposal, and that the house was Mrs Parsons'

Mrs Trueman was the sister of Miss [Sarah?] James, who Charles Lamb knew for fifteen years or more. Another sister was Mrs Parsons. Four daughters of a Welsh clergyman had become nurses at Warburton's Hoxton when their father died. [I added, here, "and that seems to be where Charles Lamb met Sarah James", but I am very unsure about this now.] See letter about Miss James and Mrs Trueman 1830 (?)

1841 Census:

Grove Road: At the top appears to be "Grove House" then: Sarah James aged "65" Lodging Keeper [profession indistinct, name clear] There appear to be lodgers - But this is indistinct

Alpha Road: Although numbers are not usually given, someone (the enumerator?) has noted an occasional number in the margin. Numbers 39 and 40 are noted. The residents of 40 are:

Margaret Parsons aged "45" Daniel Parsons aged "10" Margaret Parsons aged "20" Elizabeth Parsons aged "5" Jane Fenn aged "20" FSS

Margaret and John Parsons had a daughter Margaret Parsons on 27.2.1820 who was christened on 3.4.1820 at Old Church, Saint Pancras, London. This Margaret Parsons (unmarried) was living with her servant, Louisa Jill Fenn at 19 Blomfield Street, London in 1881. They had a visitor, Jane Fenn, now aged 65. John and Margaret Parsons had other children, including John Parsons who was also christened Old Church, Saint Pancras in 1818 and died in 1819 and John James Parsons, born in 1824 and christened at Saint Mary, Saint Marylebone, a year later.

Nick Hervey (1987) says that near Regents Park there was a whole row of houses, called Alpha Cottages or Hanover Cottages which were in Alpha Road, Regents Park, and were supervised by Monro and Sutherland - He says evidence has been found for patients in Nos 2, 8, 11, and 14. In 1858, Sutherland appointed a Dr Blandford, the resident medical officer of Blacklands House, as visiting medical officer to Otto House and superintending officer for the Alpha Road Cottages. I have not been able to find these cottages on the 1841 Census and numbers 1 to 28 Alpha Road (not numbered separately but in the enumeration sheet description) seem to be mostly family houses without indication of lodgers (One exception). It may be that the lodgings called Alpha Cottages and Hanover Cottages developed after 1841.

Chancery lunacy inquisitions: include December 1859: Richard Sitwell of 26 Alpha Road, Regents Park; May 1868: Caroline Longfield of 29 Alpha Road, St Johns Wood; July 1888 His Emminence Cardinal Edward Howard (external link to biography) of Oakly House, 16a Alpha Road, St John's Wood. They also include The Rev John Milne, care of Mrs Elrey, Alpha Cottage, Warwick Road, Upper Clapton, in November 1871

20.5.1847. Death of Mary Lamb at "Alpha Road, St John's Wood", she was "buried beside her brother". (Alfred Ainger in DNB).

"Moxon maintained affectionate relations with Mary Lamb till her death in 1847, when Mrs Moxon was appointed Mary's residuary legatee" (DNB) [Residuary under Charles' will. See 1834]

Arthur Henry Moxon born in Westminster. See 1858, 1869, 1877, 1881 census, 1891,

February/May 1848 The British Quarterly Review published a review of the The Works of Charles Lamb, including his Life and Letters, collected into one volume. In this review, the author revealed the story of Mary Lamb's madness.

"Little did the majority of those who saw this social, punning, gentle, frolicsome, stammering, quaint humorist, imaging the awful shadow which for ever rested upon his spirit, mingling with and deepening by contrast the brightness of its sunshine. Yes, in that queer-looking clerk -- in the gentle-hearted Charles -- in the delicate Elia, underneath the lightsome wit and playful fancy, there was shrouded a dark tragedy, such as would have broken many a robust spirit. The story is known but to few, and those few have hitherto, from obvious motives of delicacy, refrained from speaking of it. The time has now come, we believe, when the grave having closed over all whom it may concern, the story ought to be told as a noble example of unobtrusive heroism." (What the reviewer revealed)

Talfourd's second biography of Charles

Final Memorials of Charles Lamb; consisting chiefly of his Letters not before published, with sketches of some of his companions by T. N. Talfourd [Thomas Noon Talfourd], one of his executors, in two volumes, published by E. Moxon in London. Purple cloth binding. The principal companions here are Wordsworth, Coleridge, Hazlitt, Godwin, Haydon, and Mary Lamb. Reviewed in Athenaeum 29.7.1848 [Although a bookseller's list says that an 8- page publisher's catalogue at the front of Volume One has the date 2.10.1848] The copy in the Peal collection has the presentation inscription "Mrs Shelley - With the Publisher's best respects."

[Because this is the only book by Talfourd in Gilchrist's "Authorities", I have linked her quotes from Talfourd to it. They could, however, have come from a later, secondary source]

Susan Tyler Hitchcock (by email) describes this book as "primarily a collection of letters of Charles Lamb, with an introduction and short commentaries, occasionally revealing, between each letter. These notes includes quotations from letters themselves (also to be found in Lucas and Marrs) and from Talfourd's comments."

From Talfourd's preface, discussing the breach in the secrecy surrounding Mary's insanity:

"Nearly twelve years have elapsed since the Letters of Charles Lamb, accompanied by such slight sketch of his Life as might link them together, and explain the circumstances to which they refer, were given to the world.

In the Preface to that work, reference was made to letters yet remaining unpublished, and to a period when a more complete estimate might be formed of the singular and delightful character of the writer than was there presented.

That period has arrived. Several of his friends, who might possibly have felt a moment's pain at the publication of some of those effusions of kindness, in which they are sportively mentioned, have been removed by death; and the dismissal of the last, and to him the dearest of all, his sister, while it has brought to her the repose she sighed for ever since she lost him, has released his biographer from a difficulty which has hitherto prevented a due appreciation of some of his noblest qualities.

Her most lamentable, but most innocent agency in the event which consigned her for life to his protection, forbade the introduction of any letter, or allusion to any incident, which might ever, in the long and dismal twilight of consciousness which she endured, shock her by the recurrence of long past and terrible sorrows; and the same consideration for her induced the suppression of every passage which referred to the malady with which she was through life at intervals afflicted.

Although her death had removed the objection to a reference to her intermittent suffering, it still left a momentous question, whether even then, when no relative remained to be affected by the disclosure, it would be right to unveil the dreadful calamity which marked one of its earliest visitations, and which, though known to most of those who were intimate with the surviving sufferers, had never been publicly associated with their history. When, however, I reflected that the truth, which in no wise affecting the gentle excellence of one of them, casts new and solemn lights on the character of the other; that while his frailties have received an ample share of that indulgence which he extended to all human weaknesses, their chief exciting cause has been hidden; that his moral strength and the extent of his self-sacrifice have been hitherto unknown to the world; I felt that to develop all which is essential to the just appreciation of his rare excellence, was due both to him and to the public.

While I still hesitated as to the extent of disclosure needful for this purpose, my lingering doubts were removed by the appearance of a full statement of the melancholy event, with all the details capable of being collected from the newspapers of the time, in the British Quarterly Review, and the diffusion of the passage, extracted thence, through several other journals. After this publication, no doubt could remain as to the propriety of publishing the letters of Lamb on this event, eminently exalting the characters of himself and his sister, and enabling the reader to judge of the sacrifice which followed it."

Biographia Literaria by Coleridge. Second edition. [In Gilchrist's "Authorities"]

The Letters of Charles Lamb, with a sketch of his life by Thomas Noon Talfourd - A New Edition. Published by E. Moxon, London.

The story about Charles and Mary weeping together on the way to an asylum was told to Talfourd by Charles Lloyd, who said he had met them once like this. Charles Le Grice heard this story in 1849 and wrote this poem:

"An angel's wing is waving o'er their head,
While they, the brother and the sister walk;
Nor dare, as heedless of its fanning, talk
Of woes which are not buried with the dead

Hand clasped in hand they move; adown their cheek
From the full-hearted-spring, tears o-erflowing gush;
Close and more close they clasp, as if to speak
Would wake the sorrows which they seek to hush.

Down to the mansion slow their footsteps tend,
Where black despair is soothed by mercy's spell;
Pausing in momentary pray'r to bend,
Ere the cheered sister passes to her cell.

Strong in the hope that yet there will be given, Calm and sweet hours - foretastes [to them] of heaven"

Life of Wordsworth by Rev Dr C. Wordsworth. [In Gilchrist's "Authorities"]

13.3.1854 Thomas Noon Talfourd was addressing a jury in Stafford when he died of apoplexy. He was buried in Norwood Cemetery, London.

Isola and Edward Moxon may have lived in Wandsworth, as Lucy G. Moxon was born there.
John Moxon: London, published some books in 1856 and 1857

My Friends and Acquaintance by P.G. Patmore. [In Gilchrist's "Authorities"]

3.6.1858 Death of Edward Moxon at Putney Heath. He was buried in Wimbledon churchyard. This external link suggests death due to publisher's anxiety about delays in Rosetti's illustrations for Tennyson.

"The publishing business did not prosper after Moxon's death. Until 1871 it was carried on in Dover Street, at first under the style of Edward Moxon & Co , and from 1869 as Edward Moxon, Son, & Co. During this period a manager, J. Bertrand Payne, conducted the concern on behalf of Moxon's relatives... In 1871 Messrs Ward, Lock, and Tyler purchased most of the firm's stock and copyrights, and carried on a part of their business under the style of Edward Moxon, Son, & Co. until 1878, when Edward Moxon's name finally disappeared from the list of London publishers." DNB

James Bertrand Payne was born 1833 and died 1898

31.12.1858 Charles Valentine Le Grice of Trereife, died aged 85

Moxon imprint became E. Moxon & Co or Edward Moxon & Co 1859 to 1868. "Co" included Mr J. B. Payne who may have been the manager of the firm.

First edition of Life of William Blake by Alexander and Ann Gilchrist published. This was the first biography of Blake. One chapter discusses his sanity Mad or not mad?. Later, Ann researched and wrote the first life of Mary Lamb. (Published 1883).

Autobiographical Sketches and Lakes and Lake Poets by De Quincy. [In Gilchrist's "Authorities"]

Letters, Conversations, and Recollections of Coleridge by Thomas Allsop. Third edition. [In Gilchrist's "Authorities"]

Charles Lamb: a memoir [With portraits] by Bryan Waller Procter, published by Edward Moxon and Co. Reviewed in Athenaeum 18.8.1866. [In Gilchrist's "Authorities"]

"Whenever the approach of one of her fits of insanity was announced, by some irritability or change of manner, Lamb would take her, under his arm, to Hoxton Asylum. It was very affecting to encounter the young brother and his sister walking together (weeping together) on this painful errand; Mary herself, although sad, very conscious of the necessity for temporary separation from her only friend. They used to carry a strait jacket with them." (read in context) (origin?)

Barry Cornwall was Bryan Waller Procter. He knew the Lambs from about 1817 (I think). In 1832 he became a Metropolitan Lunacy Commissioner (on of the first two "legal" ones), later national (1842 onwards) and remained one even after his retirement (honorary commissioner). He would not use the wrong title for the asylums, or forget that there were once three asylums in Hoxton.

Hoxton House, in 1866, was "Hoxton House Asylum" (name used in 1859 and 1881). Holly House and Whitmore's had closed. "Hoxton Asylum" could only be Hoxton House.

As we have two people with knowledge of the asylums: Hollingshead who lived near them and visited them and was the nephew of the nurses who looked after Mary (Sarah James and Mrs Parsons) - and Procter - saying Lambs used Hoxton House, I have taken it that when correspondence says that Mary was in a Hoxton madhouss that it was Hoxton House. I also think that Whitmore's would have been too expensive. Nobody that I have come across has suggested Holly House

Memoir of William Hazlitt by William Carew Hazlitt [In Gilchrist's "Authorities"]

A chronological list of the writings of Hazlitt and Leigh Hunt, preceded by an essay on Lamb, and a list of his works by Alexander Ireland. printed for private circulation. [In Gilchrist's "Authorities" with the note "The copy used contains many MS additions by the author]

Diary, Reminiscences, and Correspondence of Henry Crabb Robinson Edited by Dr Sadler [In Gilchrist's "Authorities"] London, Macmillan, three volumes, 1869. The third edition in two volumes appeared in 1872.

A men's theatrical and dining club was formed in London and named The Lambs, in honour of Charles and Mary Lamb. The Lambs, New York, was formed in 1874. The London Lambs closed in 1879, and its archives are preserved by the New York club.

The Complete Correspondence and Works of Charles Lamb, With an Essay on His Life and Genius by Thomas Purnell, Aided by the Recollections of the Author's Adopted Daughter [Thomas Purnell (1835 - 1889), author of Literature and its Professors aided by Emma Isola, widow of Edward Moxon. Four volumes published by E. Moxon, Son, and Co.: London, 1870. 8o. Advertised as the "Only Complete Edition", it contains considerable amount of material not in previous collections published by Moxon. [The first volume was originally issued separately in 1868, with an essay by Sala, G. A.]

Memoirs and Letters of Sara Coleridge. Edited by her daughter [In Gilchrist's "Authorities"]

Sometime about 1873 The Poetical Works of William Cowper, with a critical memoir by William Michael Rosetti, illustrated by Thomas Seccombe, published London, E. Moxon, son, and co., Dover Street, and 1 Amen Corner, Paternoster Row. Rosetti argued that Cowper's religious experiences were all insane:

"... it appears to me more than questionable whether Cowper was strictly sound-minded in any stage of his exceptional religious experiences. If he was insane when he believed himself to be secure of damnation, intermediately between the attempted suicide and the acknowledged raving madness, I do not see why we should suppose that he was perfectly sane when the religious exultation took another turn, and he regarded himself as converted, and a monument of the invisible miracle of grace."

Charles Lamb's early enthusiasm for Cowper Charles Lamb by Bryan Waller Procter

Mary and Charles Lamb: Poems, Letters & Remains now first collected, with reminiscences & notes by W.Carew Hazlitt, Chatto & Windus. [In Gilchrist's "Authorities"]

1874 or 1875: The complete works in prose and verse of Charles Lamb: from the original editions with the cancelled passages restored, and many pieces now first collected Edited and prefaced by R. H. Shepherd (Richard Herne Shepherd, 1842-1895) published by Chatto and Windus, Piccadilly, London. 776 pages plus 15 introductory pages.

Life, Letters, and Writings of Charles Lamb edited by Percy Fitzgerald, MA. FSA. [In Gilchrist's "Authorities"]

William Godwin, his Friends and Contempories by Kegan Paul [In Gilchrist's "Authorities"]

The Works of Charles Lamb Edited by Charles Kent [In Gilchrist's "Authorities" with note "in which for the first time, the dates and original mode of publication were affixed to the essays, etc"]

Poetry for Children, by Charles and Mary Lamb Edited by Richard Herne Shepherd. [In Gilchrist's "Authorities"]

Recollections of Writers by Charles and Mary Cowden Clarke. [In Gilchrist's "Authorities"]

Six Life Studies of Famous Women by M. Betham Edwards. [In Gilchrist's "Authorities"] [presumably Matilda Betham Edwards]

engraving based on portrait of 
Mary and Charles Lamb March 1881 Article by John Arbuckle in Scribners Monthly, an illustrated magazine for the people Volume 21, Issue 5, published by Scribner and son, New York. The article contains an engraving of a portrait of Mary and Charles.

external link to: index of pages   first page   page with picture   Encyclopedia Britannica site using the picture

The following text follows the engraving in the magazine:

"Edward R. Hughes, Esq., a young English portrait-painter of reputation, nephew of the artist Arthur Hughes, lately came into possession of an oil- painting of interest to the literary world,_namely, Cary's portraits from life of Charles and Mary Lamb. In this picture Charles is seated and Mary is standing by his side; the figures are full- length and about half life-size. In copying the portraits for our engraver, Mr. Hughes has imitated Mr Cary's work very closely, giving not only the likeness but the handling as well. In order, however, that the heads should not be too small on our page, he has copied these only, and has placed them side by side. Lithographs from these heads appear in Charles Lamb, A Memoir, by Barry Cornwall.

Mr Cary is still living, and we are permitted to print a letter written by him to Robert Bateman, Esq., who was once his pupil.

Abinger, Dorking, 7th December, 1878.

Dear Bateman: I commenced the portraits of Charles and Mary Lamb, which were painted entirely from life, at my studio in Hart street, Bloomsbury, in the summer of 1834. There had been for some time an engagement that they should dine with us at my father's residence, in the British Museum, on the third Wednesday of each month. My father wishing me to paint their portraits, it was arranged that one or other of them should give me a sitting every Thursday, before their return home to Edmonton, where they then resided, and this continued up to the time of his death, in December, 1834. I suppose you are aware that H. C. Robinson mentions in his diary having gone, with Mr. Scharf, the director of the National Portrait- Gallery, to look at a portrait by me of C. Lamb, and that he condemns it s being not the least like. I do not know what picture that was or where he saw it; he certainly did not see the picture of C. Lamb and his sister which Mr. Hughes possesses, it not having been out of my studio until many years after he wrote his criticism. I can only suppose it was a copy of the figure of C. Lamb which I commenced after his death, my father wishing me not to touch the original portraits, although they were, as you see, not finished. I was unsuccessful in this attempt, and the canvas was sent away as useless. Probably this is what Robinson saw. It would be well if Mr. Hughes would call on Mr. Scharf and ask him what picture he saw. Until H. C. Robinson's diary was published, nobody doubted the resemblance of my portraits of C. Lamb and his sister. You will find a very good description of the personal appearance of C. Lamb in Fitzgerald's work, vol. i., pages 7, 75, 282. My health has been so bad the last four years that I seldom leave home, or I should have had much pleasure in calling to see you and the "Lambs" and Mr Hughes. Yours very truly, F. S. Cary."

The oil on canvas painting of Mary Lamb and Charles Lamb by Francis Stephen Cary is now owned by the National Portrait Gallery (NPG 1019), but not on display. It measures 44 1/2 inches x 33 1/2 inches (1130 mm x 851 mm) (external link)

1881 Census: Household of Emma Moxon, widow, 31 Preston Rd, Preston, Sussex, England. a John Moxon 2 Lee Terrace, Lee, Kent, England (born Lambeth) -

    41 Tasman Road, Lambeth, Surrey, England:
    Arthur Henry Moxon, aged 33, born Westminster, Middlesex. Publisher
    See 1848

    Mina Moxon, aged 30, wife, born Stockwell, Surrey
    Edward Ernest Moxon, son, aged 8, born Tooting, Surrey. Scholar
    Maud Ethel Moxon, daughter, aged 6, born Brixton, Surrey. Scholar
Anne Gilchrist, 8 Well Road, London, Middlesex, England.

Ann Gilchrist's Life of Mary Lamb finished. (External link about Gilchrists)

Gilchrist, Mrs. Mary Lamb London: W.H. Allen and Co, 1883. Cloth. 255pp. 8vo.; bound in yellow cloth.

Alexander Ireland's Memoir of William Hazlitt, preceding his selection of Hazlitt's works, published by Frederick Warne in London and New York.

A book was published in 1889 by E. Moxon, Son & Co.; Ward, Lock & Co.. After this, genuine Moxon (London) imprints cease, although the name was sometimes used by publishers trying to gain credit by association. (To put it nicely!)

Chandos Classics edition of Poems and Essays of Charles Lamb published (London and New York) by Frederick Warne and Co. Includes an anonymous six page Prefatory Memoir

2.2.1891 Emma Moxon (Isola) died at Brighton, aged 82. She left one son, Arthur, and five daughters (Illustrated London News 14.2.1891, with portrait of Mrs Moxon). (DNB)

The Illustrated London News, 14 February 1891

Charles Lamb's Adopted Daughter

One of the few remaining links that united the present with the literary past of the earlier years of our century has been severed by the death of the widow of the "poets" publisher, Edward Moxon, which occurred at Brighton on February 2.

Mrs Moxon had attained the age of eighty-two years and was the Emma Isola who was the "nut brown maid" the "girl of gold" the adopted daughter of Charles and Mary Lamb, of whom the gentle hearted author of the "Essays of Elia" spoke with such warm affection in various of his charming letters. Writing to his friend Proctor (Barry Cornwall) in January 1829, Lamb says incidentally

"I have another favour to beg which is the beggarliest of beggings - a few lines of verse for a lady's album (six will be enough) . M Barney will tell you who she is I want 'em for. A girl of gold - six lines - make 'em eight - signed Barry C-. They need not be very good as I chiefly want 'em as a foil to mine. But I shall be seriously obliged by any refuse scrap. We are in the last ages of the world, when St Paul prophesied that women should be "headstrong", lovers of their own wills, having albums."

It was for Miss Isola that Lamb wanted the lines.

Emma Isola was Italian by extraction. In the latter years of the last century there lived at Cambridge as a Professor Languages, an Italian gentleman. Agostino Isola, who had been compelled to leave Milan, it was said, because a prohibited English book had been found on his table. Gray, the poet, William Pitt , and, nearly at the end of his life, Wordsworth were numbered among Agostino Isola's pupils. His son, Charles Isola, took a degree at Emmanuel College, and was afterwards chosen one of the "Esquire bedells" of the University: a shy, retiring man, described as "ready to undertake any duty that did not include dining with a large party".

Mr Charles Isola's daughter Emma was born in 1809. She was early left an orphan, and as a child attracted the notice, and won the regard of Lamb, who, with his sister, sometimes made a holiday visit to Cambridge, and saw the little girl at his friend Mr Ayrton's, at whose house he played many an evening rubber.

Both Charles and Mary Lamb took a great fancy to the child who, for a series of years became accustomed to pass her holidays with them, and was afterwards domiciled in their house almost as a daughter. She used to accompany Lamb in his rambles about Enfield, and he taught her Latin.

She was afterwards for a time in the family of a clergyman and his wife as a governess. Writing to Bernard Barton, Lamb excuses himself for having "condescended to acrostics" by explaining that they were written

"at the request of the lady where our Emma is, to whom I paid a visit in April to bring home Emma for a change of air after a severe illness, in which she has been treated like a daughter by the good parson and his whole family."

At Lamb's, Miss Isola made the acquaintance of Mr Edward Moxon. - "He is the young poet of Christmas." writes Lamb to Barton, "whom the author of the "Pleasures of Memory" has set up in the bookvending business with a volunteered loan of £500. Such munificence is rare to an almost stranger, but Rogers, I am told, has done many good-natured things of this kind."

To Mr Moxon, Miss Isola was married on July 30, 1833. For some years the publishing business flourished, and the works of various poets - Rogers and Tennyson among the number, - were issued by the house. But misfortunes came at last , and the house became involved in difficulties, in the midst of which, Mr Moxon died. The result of the complications was, however, better than might have been expected. Messrs Ward and Lock came forward with an offer to pay all the creditors to the estate fifteen shillings in the pound. They fought in the Law Courts the battle of the family against the manager, who set up extensive claims to copyrights &c, and taking over the property, paid to Mrs Moxon a large sum, and, moreover, agreed to pay that lady an annuity of £250 , and a further sum to the family on her death. This was in 1877, and for fourteen years the deceased lady enjoyed the provision thus made for her. How great a position she occupied in the affections and home thoughts of Elia and his sister is abundantly testified in the correspondence of the immortal "Carolus Agnus" by whom her husband also was regarded as a dear and valued friend.

Mrs Moxon leaves one son, Mr Arthur Moxon, and five daughters. She was buried on Feb 5 in the Brighton Cemetery,

Volumes 31 to 33 of the Dictionary of National Biography published 1892/1893. The article on Charles Lamb was written by Rev Alfred Ainger (9.2.1837 to 8.2.1904) who had published a biography of Charles Lamb in 1882.

Volumes 37 to 39 of the Dictionary of National Biography published 1894. The article on Edward Moxon was written by Sidney Lee, the then editor of DNB.

Little Journeys - Famous Women by Elbert Hubbard, The Knickerbocker Press, New York contains the story of Mary and Charles Lamb

Volumes 55 to 57 of the Dictionary of National Biography published 1899/1899. The article on Thomas Noon Talfourd was written by Richard Garnett.

The life of Charles Lamb By Edward Verrall Lucas published by Methuen and Co.: London in two volumes. A fifth edition in 1921 was "similar to the original edition. save for the omission of illustrations and four appendices, and the addition of certain corrections and a few new passages"

Adoption: see Emma Isola. Before the 1926 Adoption of Children Act, it was only by private arrangement that the child of other parents became part of some one else's family. Although legal adoption was a common practice in continental Europe, English law did not provide for it until 1926. The Act also required a register of adopted children to be kept by the Registrar General.

The Letters of Charles Lamb, to which are added those of his sister Mary Lamb Edited by Edward Verrall Lucas published by J. M. Dent and Sons; Methuen and Co.: London in three volumes. [With portraits]

The Charles Lamb Society founded in London to advance knowledge and publish studies of the life, works, and times of the writer Charles Lamb and his circle, and to form and preserve for the public a collection of Eliana. external link
Some contents of the society's Bulletin are listed on the Romantic Circles website

1940 Ross, Ernest C. (Ernest Carson). The ordeal of Bridget Elia: a chronicle of the Lambs. University of Oklahoma Press.


Charles Lamb and Emma Isola. A survey of the evidence relevant to their personal relationship by Ernest Carson Ross, published by the Charles Lamb Society as Elian booklet number one. 38 pages. Reprinted 1991 (but now out of print)


The letters of Charles and Mary Anne Lamb edited by Edwin Wilson Marrs, Jr Volume 1. Letters of Charles Lamb, 1796-1801. London. Cornell University Press

The letters of Charles and Mary Anne Lamb edited by Edwin Wilson Marrs, Jr Volume 2. 1801-1809. Ithaca. London. Cornell University Press


The letters of Charles and Mary Anne Lamb edited by Edwin Wilson Marrs, Jr Volume 3. 1809-1817. Ithaca. London. Cornell University Press


The Silence of the Lambs: anti-maniacal regimes in the writings of Mary Lamb by Bonnie Woodbery. Women's Writing, Vol. 5, No. 3, 1998 at http://www.triangle.co.uk/wow/

Hoxton House - click for source 21.7.2001 to 3.8.2001 "I Love Your Work", exhibition of new work by young London artists, held at Hoxton House. The picture of the remaining part of the asylum is from the website about the building and the artists that Aidann Bowley created for this exhibition. Click on it to visit. click for source

Pictures used with permission of Aidann Bowley


A Double Life - A biography of Charles and Mary Lamb by Sarah Burton. Viking (an imprint of Penguin Books published London, 28.8.2003 Reviews: Guardian; Spectator; Times.

September 2004 The Devil Kissed Her: The Story of Mary Lamb by Kathy Watson published in the United Kingdom (Bloomsbury) and the United States (Jeremy P. Tarcher).

January 2005 Mad Mary Lamb: Lunacy and Murder in Literary London by Susan Tyler Hitchcock published. Susan's biography focuses on Mary's life as it led to her literary creations. It is the book for people who value Mary's stories and poems - or who would like to do so. It is also one creative writer's effort to understand the life and work of another, who she could never know, and whose life was shrouded in secrecy and her work in anonymity.
go to Susan Tyler Hitchcock's own page


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Chapel Street: 45 and 36

Charles' madness:

Christ's Hospital (Bluecoat School

City Links

Colebrooke Cottage

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Crimes and Horrors of... Whitmore House

Dalston 1816

Fisher House, Islington

John Forster

1863: William Blake
1883: Mary Lamb

Hackney 1797

William Hazlitt meets Coleridges and Wordsworths, meets Lambs and Southey, on the Lambs' evenings, marriage to Sarah Stoddart 1.5.1808, 1820: essay on the conversation of authors, divorce 1822, 1826: Of persons one would wish to have seen, died 18.9.1830

John Hollingshead

Hoxton: 1780?, 1795, 1803, 1807.


Islington 1796

Islington 1823

Emma Isola

Sarah James

Fanny Kelly

Legrice = Le Grice

Little Queen Street, Holborn

Margaret Green: The Young Mahometan

Mary's children

Mary's madness: (blue admission, red discharge, black home confinement etc) September 1796, Hackney rooms April 1797, August 1798, May 1800, June 1800 March 1803, 3.6.1805, August 1805, June 1807, June 1809, Autumn 1810, March 1811, May 1811, 1812?, Crimes and Horrors? 1813?, December 1814, February 1815, September 1815, April 1817?, July 1818?, September/October 1820, brother's death October 1821, France June 1822, September 1825, October 1827, 20.5.1829, 12.8.1829, 6.7.1830, 13.10.1830, 1830, Walden's April 1832, Walden's May 1833, Parsons' 1841

Mary's treatment:
Fisher House 1796-1797,

Mary's writing

Mitre Court

Edward Moxon

murder of Elizabeth Lamb

Normand House

Charles Lamb



William and David Pitcairn

Poetry for Children

Bryan Waller Procter

Quaker connections

Henry Crabb Robinson

Russell Street

single houses:
Trueman's (proposed)

Southampton Buildings: 1800-1801; 1809 reference 1830 reference

Robert Southey

Sarah Stoddart: Mary's letters to and mother's madness1805; marriage to Hazlitt 1.5.1808; divorce 1822; death of Hazlitt 18.9.1830

Tales from Shakespear


Edward and Ann Talfourd

Thomas Noon Talfourd

Temple to 1792; from 1801 to 1809; from 1809 to 1817


Dr George Leman Tuthill



William Bird's Academy

William Wordsworth

Mad Mary Lamb on Susan Tyler Hitchcock's web site
Mad Mary Lamb: Lunacy and Murder in Literary London by Susan Tyler Hitchcock

I have put links from this page to Charles Lamb's essays on Christian Lloyd's website. This is a valuable source, but note that passages from some essays are omitted and you should consult a printed edition for the full text

Cynthia Kimpton is married to a descendent of Charles and Mary Isola. Her research has provided much of the information about the family.

Elaine Madsen is the Coordinator for the Playwright Director Unit of the Actors Studio West in Los Angeles. It is hoped that her play about Mary Lamb, Dear Murderess, will be produced in Los Angeles in the near future. The play is about the murder of the mother of Charles and Mary Lamb in 1796; and the consequences of decisions made at the time of the murder on the lives of the Lamb family. It focuses on the relationship of Mary and Charles from their childhoods until the publication of their Tales from Shakespear in 1807. Elaine is the grandmother of nine grandchildren who won an Emmy in the 1980s for her documentary, Better Than It Has To Be, about film making in Chicago. Several of her poems and one of her paintings have been published in From the Mouths of Angels, an Anthology of California Women poets by 12 Guage Press in California: weblink: http://pages.sbcglobal.net/12gaugepress/

External link to 1907/1921 Cambridge History of English and American Literature entry on the Lambs

I have used pencil notes that Valerie Argent made of entries in the 1829/1830 Records of the Metropolitan Commissioners in Lunacy.

David Watkins
and Susan
Hitchcock by the memorial to Catherine and William Blake Susan Tyler Hitchcock published her book about Mary Lamb in January 2005. Most of the quotes I give from the correspondence of the Lambs have been taken from notes she shared with me when she was writing it.

This picture of David Watkins and Susan Tyler Hitchcock was taken on what must have been the rainiest day in London for many months. We chose that day to look for the madhouses associated with Charles and Mary Lamb. Here, the rain and we paused to remember Catherine and William Blake, whose memorial stone, in Bunhill Fields, always has flowers.

Mad Mary Lamb: Lunacy and Murder in Literary London published in January 2005 by W.W. Norton

Dr Clare Rider is Archivist of the Inner Temple Archives. Read her article Charles and Mary Lamb in the Inner Temple in The Inner Temple Archive