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 Her letters remained unpublished.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.
Sepia version of engraving of Ann Yearsley by Wilson Lowry, 1787, from an unknown artist. She is turned 3/4 to the left and wears a large shady hat, jacket, and dress. The portrait has an oval frame embellished with flowers, ribbons, and an urn. Underneath is written "Ann Yearsley. The Bristol Milk Woman & Poetess."
"Ann Yearsley" 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
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 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, 1990.
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...
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, 1809.
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 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, 2008.
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...
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...
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...
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...
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 Maria Colling
As its extended title suggests, the book is prefaced by three letters from Bray to Southey. The correspondence provided the Poet Laureate with MMC 's life history, as well as examples of her poems. The...
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...


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 selection of living celebrated Female Poets.
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 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 .