Caroline Norton

Standard Name: Norton, Caroline
Birth Name: Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Sheridan
Pseudonym: A Young Lady of Distinction, aged eleven years
Married Name: Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton
Pseudonym: Pearce Stevenson, Esq.
Married Name: The Honourable Mrs Norton
Pseudonym: Aunt Carry
Pseudonym: Cxxxy
Pseudonym: Libertas
Publishing over forty years of the nineteenth century, professional woman of letters CN produced poetry and songs, four novels, stories, and a few unsuccessful plays. She edited annuals and periodicals, where she also published work of her own, including reviews. The circumstances of her life led her also to publish on the social-reform topics of child labour, divorce law, and married women's property, in pamphlets, letters to the Times, and well-researched monographs. Though she thought of herself as primarily a poet, her polemical writing is now her best-known, just as her contribution to reforming the laws for women in Victorian England has now overshadowed the scandal that dogged her in and beyond her lifetime.
Photograph of a painting of Caroline Norton by Sir George Hayter, 1832. She is seated at a desk with her chin resting pensively on her left hand while she pauses in writing with a quill pen in a large open book. Behind her is red drapery, a large column, and a nighttime scene. Her bare shoulders emerge from a white gauzy bodice with puffed, bound sleeves, gold trim at the neckline, and a gold mantle over it. She has gold bracelets on both her wrists; her black hair, parted in the middle, is coiled over her
"Caroline Norton, portrait" Retrieved from This work is licensed under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication license. This work is in the public domain.


Connections Sort descending Author name Excerpt
Anthologization Dora Greenwell
DG also contributed during this decade, in collaboration with Jean Ingelow , Caroline Norton , and several other women, to Home Thoughts and Home Scenes, In Original Poems, published in 1865, a book of poetry for children.
death Lucie Duff Gordon
Caroline Norton , one of LDG 's closest friends, wrote following her death: A great reader, a great thinker, very original in her conclusions, very eager in impressing her opinions, her mind was not like...
death Edmund Spenser
Spenser's early women readers who were also poets seem to have included An Collins and Alicia D'Anvers . Later women writers in English either found him useful for raising the status of the romance genre...
Dedications Matilda Charlotte Houstoun
She dedicated it to Caroline Norton 's brother, who shared the name of his grandfather Richard Brinsley Sheridan , and to the memory of Houstoun's own brother, John Heneage Jesse .
Houstoun, Matilda Charlotte. A Woman’s Memories of World-Known Men. F. V. White, 1883.
I: prelims
Education Dora Greenwell
Thereafter, she taught herself, studying philosophy, Latin, German, Italian, French, political economy, and theology.
“Dictionary of Literary Biography online”. Gale Databases: Literature Resource Center-LRC.
Matthew, Henry Colin Gray, Brian Harrison, and Lawrence Goldman, editors. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
Dorling, William. Memoirs of Dora Greenwell. James Clarke, 1885.
She was very well read and took a particular interest in the writings of Caroline Norton , Felicia Hemans
Family and Intimate relationships Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington
Respectable women had always shunned Blessington on account of her past; now her present too was publicly unacceptable. Her sister Ellen, now well married, dropped her.
Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington,. “Introduction”. Conversations of Lord Byron, edited by Ernest J. Lovell, Princeton University Press, 1969, pp. 3 - 114.
Camilla Crosland later recalled how as an unmarried...
Family and Intimate relationships Maria Riddell
Her daughter, Anna Maria , married a naval officer, Charles Montagu Walker , and had eight children. Most of her inheritance vanished in mortgages and contested ownership. One of MR 's grandsons took an interest...
Family and Intimate relationships Mary Ann Cavendish Bradshaw
According to her first daughter-in-law writing years later, MACB suggested, while she and the young people were in Paris, that Emily ought to advance her husband's career by either sleeping with or at least...
Family and Intimate relationships Caroline Blackwood
Through her father, CB was descended from the writer Frances Sheridan , though the Sheridan blood was thought of in the family as bad blood, and CB 's biographer seems to associate it solely...
Family and Intimate relationships Harriette Wilson
On the journey to Newcastle HW had begun a flirtation with the witty Tom Sheridan (born 1775, son of the playwright, grandson of Frances Sheridan , and father of Caroline Norton ). He and his...
Fictionalization Lucie Duff Gordon
LDG was an inspiration to several of her literary peers. George Meredith probably had her in mind in drawing his character Lady Dunstane in Diana of the Crossways. (His Lady Dunstane is a close...
Friends, Associates Matilda Charlotte Houstoun
In her youth MCH 's family associated with various prominent figures. Living close to John Wilson Croker , she became acquainted with many literary people, including Theodore Hook and the family of Caroline Norton ...
Friends, Associates Thomas Moore
His social circle included prominent literary women: Mary Tighe , sisters Lady Morgan (Sydney Owenson) and Olivia Clarke , Mary Shelley , Marguerite Blessington , Louisa Stuart Costello , and Caroline Norton . He knew...
Friends, Associates Sydney Owenson, Lady Morgan
In London in 1824 she had a socially unsuccessful meeting with Wordsworth , who was by now a thorough reactionary in politics. He went to some pains to snub her; she refused to notice this...
Friends, Associates Lucie Duff Gordon
Living once again with her parents in London, Lucie Austin began an active social life. She was introduced to Queen Victoria , met and became friendly with Caroline Norton , and was introduced to...


3 June 1829
Publisher Henry Colburn went into partnership with Richard Bentley (1794 - ­1871) (who, in order to do this, had just dissolved the partnership between himself and his brother Samuel Bentley as printers).
July 1832
A monthly periodical for women entitled The Court Magazine and Belle Assemblée swallowed up La Belle Assemblée and began publishing under this title in London.
16 October 1834
Fire destroyed the British Houses of Parliament, which were then rebuilt from 1841 to 1863 in the Gothic style.
April 1837
Sergeant Talfourd , a Member of Parliament and a friend of Caroline Norton , introduced an Infant Custody Bill.
July 1838
An article on the Custody of Infants Bill in the British and Foreign Quarterly Review attacked both the proposed legislation and its proponent Caroline Norton .
4 December 1845
The position of Peel 's Conservative government was severely shaken by a report in the Times that it was about to repeal the Corn Laws.
March 1848
Chartist uprisings took place in London, Glasgow, and Manchester.
James Ridgway published a pamphlet entitled Remarks on the Law of Marriage and Divorce; suggested by the Honourable Mrs Norton 's Letter to the Queen.
December 1855
Barbara Leigh Smith , later Bodichon, founded the Married Women's Property Committee (sometimes called the Women's Committee) to draw up a petition for a married women's property bill.
May 1856
Lord Chancellor Cranworth presented a second divorce bill, to which there were several successful amendments affecting married women's property.
April 1873
The Custody of Infants Act made provision for women separating from their husbands to be awarded custody of children up to the age of sixteen.
By 14 March 1885
George Meredith published Diana of the Crossways, a novel based on the life of Caroline Norton .