Margaret Catchpole entry: Overview screen.
Writing and Life
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Margaret Catchpole was a late eighteenth-century labouring-class woman whose extraordinary experience as a transported felon propelled her (through the influence of Elizabeth Cobbold, her employer and an active woman writer) to express herself in letters, of which eleven are extant. A copy of her confession also survives. These writings, as well as her life-story, were thoroughly appropriated by a nineteenth-century novelistic version. Even recent and sophisticated commentators have found it hard to separate her voice from still-continuing ventriloquism.
14 March 1762 MC was born, probably at Hoo in Suffolk. Bibliographic Citation link.
6 July 1797 According to Richard Cobbold's semi-historical novel (apparently accurate in this instance), MC wrote her first letter to her former employer, Elizabeth Cobbold, from jail. Bibliographic Citation link.
21 January 1802 A month after landing in Australia, MC wrote her first letter from Sydney to Elizabeth Cobbold. Bibliographic Citation link.
13 May 1819 MC died from influenza at Richmond in New South Wales. Bibliographic Citation link.
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