Bessie Rayner Parkes

Standard Name: Parkes, Bessie Rayner
Birth Name: Elizabeth Rayner Parkes
Nickname: Bessie
Married Name: Elizabeth Rayner Belloc
Bessie Rayner Parkes (later Belloc) , a late nineteenth-century feminist, focused her writings especially on issues relating to women's work. During her life she published a collection of miscellaneous essays, a collection of vignettes, numerous articles in periodicals, a travel book, and political treatises. Though her feminist writings have been better recognized, her passion was poetry. She published a lengthy philosophical poem in addition to three volumes of poems, some of which were later compiled into a collection.
Sepia toned photograph of Bessie Rayner Parkes, seated on an upholstered chair, with an ornate table next to her. Her hands are clasped in her lap, she is wearing a dark dress with a voluminous skirt and long sleeves. She has dark, wavy, shoulder-length hair.
"Bessie Rayner Parkes" 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
Birth Marie Belloc Lowndes
MBL , the elder of two children, was born at 11 George Street, Marylebone, in lodgings, since her mother had returned from France for the birth but her grandmother did not want it to...
Cultural formation Adelaide Procter
AP may have converted to Roman Catholicism from Anglicanism by this date; certainly she had by 1851.
Sources conflict on the date of AP 's conversion, most of them dating it in 1851. Bessie Rayner Parkes
Cultural formation Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon
Barbara Leigh Smith , Christina Rossetti , Elizabeth Siddal , Bessie Rayner Parkes , Anna Mary Howitt , and Mary Howitt conducted a series of seances at the Hermitage, the Howitt family home.
Herstein, Sheila R. A Mid-Victorian Feminist: Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon. Yale University Press, 1985.
Cultural formation Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon
By December 1860 BLSB was sufficiently interested in Roman Catholicism (to which Bessie Rayner Parkes later converted) to write about her interest to George Eliot , who responded with sympathy but a clear statement of...
death Adelaide Procter
Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon wrote of her grief to Bessie Rayner Parkes : Adelaide's death is as a light gone from among us.
Hirsch, Pam. Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon 1827-1891: Feminist, Artist and Rebel. Chatto and Windus, 1998.
AP was buried in the Catholic St Mary's Cemetery, Kensal Green...
Family and Intimate relationships George Eliot
Lewes was married. He and his wife had agreed as rational free-thinkers that monogamy was unnatural. He had thus tolerated her relationship with his friend Thornton Hunt , and supported her children by Hunt, who...
Family and Intimate relationships Georgiana Fullerton
Alexander Fullerton was heir to estates in Gloucestershire and Northern Ireland, including Ballintoy Castle in County Antrim. He was an officer with the Royal Horse Guards (the Blues) before his marriage. There was some...
Family and Intimate relationships Marie Belloc Lowndes
Her English mother, who conducted her distinguished feminist writing career as Bessie Rayner Parkes , had married at thirty-eight (after converting to Catholicism about three years earlier). She met her husband while renting a chalet...
Family and Intimate relationships Matilda Hays
Marie Belloc Lowndes , daughter of Bessie Rayner Parkes , recalled MH as a tall, handsome woman with a strongly featured face, very clever, and with a great deal of charm, particularly for other women...
Friends, Associates Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon
In May 1869 George Eliot recorded in her diary Bodichon's steady friendship at the time when G. H. Lewes 's son Thornie was dying of tuberculosis of the spine. Bodichon visited twice a week and...
Friends, Associates George Eliot
Bessie Rayner Parkes (already a friend of Marian Evans—later GE ) introduced her to Barbara Leigh Smith , who became her close confidant and supporter.
Karl, Frederick R. George Eliot: Voice of a Century. W.W. Norton, 1995.
Friends, Associates Edith J. Simcox
Elma Stuart , who had also been an intimate friend of George Eliot , became a close friend of EJS . In March 1881 they spent a week together at Malvern, where they exchanged...
Friends, Associates Pamela Frankau
Her aunt Eliza Aria introduced the very young PF to many of her older, god-like friends: first of all actress Sybil Thorndike and writers Michael Arlen and Osbert Sitwell .
Frankau, Pamela. I Find Four People. I. Nicholson and Watson, 1935.
Later came John Van Druten
Friends, Associates Mary Howitt
MH served on the reception committee for Harriet Beecher Stowe at the time of her visit to England in April 1853. She had by that time become friendly with titled people and with members of...
Friends, Associates Jessie Boucherett
Partly through her membership of the Kensington Society (a social and political discussion group of about fifty women inaugurated in 1865), JB broadened her acquaintance with significant members of the feminist movement, including Frances Power Cobbe


8 June 1847
A Factory Act, also known as The Ten Hours Act, restricted the length of British women's and teenagers' working day in textile factories to ten hours.
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.
February 1856
The Waverley Journal: For the Cultivation of the Honourable, the Progressive and the Beautiful, began fortnightly publication, advertising itself as Edited and published by Ladies.
Harrison, Royden, Gillian B. Woolven, and Robert Duncan. The Warwick Guide to British Labour Periodicals, 1790-1970: A Check List. Harvester Press, 1977.
February 1858
Bessie Rayner Parkes described to George Eliot , in a letter, the limited company established by the Langham Place group to support The English Woman's Journal.
February 1858
Bessie Rayner Parkes described to George Eliot , in a letter, the limited company established by the Langham Place group to support The English Woman's Journal.
March 1858
The English Woman's Journal, a monthly magazine on the theory and practice of organised feminism, began publication in London, with financial support from Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon and others, under the editorship of...
7 July 1859
The first meeting of the Society for Promoting the Employment of Women was held in London; founding members included Anna Jameson , Emily Faithfull , Jessie Boucherett , Adelaide Procter , Bessie Rayner Parkes , Isa Craig , and Sarah Lewin .
October 1859
Late 1859
The offices of The English Woman's Journal moved from Cavendish Square to 19 Langham Place, where a ladies' club was also planned.
September 1860
Emily Faithfull and Bessie Rayner Parkes spoke on the employment of women in printing trades at the fourth annual conference of the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science held in Glasgow.
Maria Rye established the Female Middle Class Emigration Society in response to the scarcity of jobs in England for girls and women.
August 1864
The English Woman's Journal, a practical and theoretical source of organized feminism from London, merged into The Alexandra Magazine and English Woman's Journal.
18 August 1882
The Married Women's Property Act gave women the right to all the property they earned or acquired before or during marriage.