Ann Yearsley

Standard Name: Yearsley, Ann
Birth Name: Ann Cromartie
Married Name: Ann Yearsley
Pseudonym: The Milkwoman
Nickname: Lactilla, or the Bristol Milkwoman
AY became famous at the outset of her career as a primitive or untaught poet: a role she herself rejected in the course of a bitter row with her patron Hannah More . She went on to publish without the help of patrons, and to add a play and a novel to her poetry. Her letters remained unpublished. Though actually far from uneducated (she packs her poems with literary allusions), she is a writer who lays less emphasis on formal structures or conventions than on sturdy individualism and on the Romantic outpouring of emotion.


Connections Sort descending Author name Excerpt
Dedications Anna Maria Porter
The first volume had a frontispiece designed by AMP 's brother R. K. Porter . The epigraph came from the introduction to Gay 's Fables (1727) : From objects most minute and mean, / A...
Family and Intimate relationships Elizabeth Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire
Her father, Frederick Augustus Hervey, later Earl of Bristol , entered the Church as a younger son, and rose to be Bishop of Derry. He is known to history as the earl-bishop, a...
Friends, Associates Eliza Fletcher
Eliza Dawson set herself to achieve a real friendship with Yearsley , who however was touchy about it, and took it on herself to lecture Eliza about her taste for novels, condemning them as the...
Friends, Associates Elizabeth Montagu
EM supported her friend Hannah More in organizing subscriptions for Ann Yearsley 's Poems, on Several Occasions.
Myers, Sylvia Harcstark. The Bluestocking Circle: Women, Friendship, and the Life of the Mind in Eighteenth-Century England. Clarendon.
Intertextuality and Influence Elizabeth Isabella Spence
She begins with Wales (whose countryside she praises but whose peasants she fairly sweepingly dismisses).
Spence, Elizabeth Isabella. Summer Excursions. Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme.
1: 24-5
Although her title-page does not name it, she returned to Wales on a later journey, and devotes a...
Leisure and Society Mariana Starke
MS and her family were great supporters of literature through the subscription system. She subscribed in 1781 to Anne Francis 's Poetical Translation of the Song of Solomon, from the original Hebrew, which was...
Literary responses Phillis Wheatley
Much initial response to PW as a poet saw her as a freak, a curiosity, or a political argument. A typical reviewer found her work merely imitative, without endemial marks of solar fire or...
Literary responses Christian Milne
CM knew from harsh experience that for a labouring-class woman, publishing poems invited personal criticism (as Elizabeth Hands in England had understood). She says she met with encouragement from patrons but that her neighbours assumed...
Literary responses Anna Letitia Barbauld
Recently William McCarthy has pronounced this poem seldom matched for conceptual density. (He cites as its peers in this respect Johnson 's The Vanity of Human Wishes and Ann Yearsley 's Addressed to Ignorance.)
McCarthy, William. Anna Letitia Barbauld, Voice of the Enlightenment. The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Literary responses Mary Whateley Darwall
Before the appearance of her first book, Mary Whateley was celebrated by a Walsall poet, Stephen Chatterton , for excelling Sappho 's odes. During the same period, in 1861, the Gentleman's Magazine published an exaggerated...
Occupation Eliza Fletcher
This friendship was built on a shared interest in literature, in patronising the poor or socially oppressed who aspired to writing, in encouraging inoculation and in promoting Sunday schools. Eliza was interested particularly in the...
Occupation Hannah More
HM embarked on helping Ann Yearsley in the terrible winter of 1783-4, when the Yearsley family were near destitution. Charity modulated into literary patronage over the year 1784, as More brought Yearsley to the attention...
politics Eliza Fletcher
EF 's patronage of writers was bound up with her political views as an abolitionist: in March 1788 she was actively circulating for sale Ann Yearsley 's A Poem on the Inhumanity of the Slave...
Textual Features Mary Robinson
To demonstrate, as well as arguing for, mental equality, MR learnedly surveys the course of political and literary history. She honours many women writers of the past (Aphra Behn and Susanna Centlivre as well...
Textual Features Anna Seward
The series (completed in 1791) developed from AS 's strictures on John Weston 's contributions to a book entitled Records of the Woodmen of Arden. She compared Dryden with Pope to the advantage of...


1764: German labouring-class poet Anna Luise Karsch...

Writing climate item


German labouring-class poet Anna Luise Karsch first reached print with four separate publications at Berlin, most importantly a collection, Auserlesene Gedichte (edited for publication by J. G. Sulzer ).

April 1789: The Gentleman's Magazine published Anna Seward's...

Women writers item

April 1789

The Gentleman's Magazine published Anna Seward 's selection of living celebrated Female Poets.

30 September 1793: Troops opened fire on citizens of Bristol...

National or international item

30 September 1793

Troops opened fire on citizens of Bristol who were demonstrating against the imposition of tolls on a bridge.

By June 1806: Poems Written on Different Occasions by the...

Women writers item

By June 1806

Poems Written on Different Occasions by the domestic servant Charlotte Richardson were selected, edited, and published with some account of the author by the middle-class activist and social reformer Catharine Cappe .


Yearsley, Ann. A Poem on the Inhumanity of the Slave Trade. G. G. J. and J. Robinson, 1788.
Yearsley, Ann. An Elegy on Marie Antoinette. Printed for the author, 1794, http://3 copies known: 2 BL, Houghton.
Yearsley, Ann. Earl Goodwin. G. G. J. and J. Robinson, 1791.
Yearsley, Ann. Poems, on Several Occasions. T. Cadell, 1785.
Yearsley, Ann. Poems, on Several Occasions. G. G. J. and J. Robinson, 1786.
Yearsley, Ann. Poems, on Various Subjects. G. G. J. and J. Robinson.
Yearsley, Ann. Reflections on the Death of Louis XVI. Printed for the author, 1793.
Yearsley, Ann. Sequel to the Reflections on the Death of Louis XVI. Printed for the author, 1793.
Yearsley, Ann. Stanzas of Woe. G. G. J. and J. Robinson, 1790, http://Few known copies:BL, Cambridge UL, Houghton, Huntington.
Yearsley, Ann. The Dispute. Printed for the author, 1791.
Yearsley, Ann. The Royal Captives. G. G. J. and J. Robinson, 1795.
Yearsley, Ann. The Rural Lyre. G. G. and J. Robinson, 1796.