Madwoman in the Attic #13 Elizabeth Vesey


Elizabeth Vesey was a well known member of The Bluestockings; whom I briefly mentioned in my piece about Elizabeth Griffith. You can read that piece HERE

Born in Ossory (Kilkenny)  in 1715, Elizabeth was the daughter of Thomas Vesey, the Bishop of Ossory and his wife Mary. She married William Hancock, the MP for Fore in Westmeath and after his death in the 1740s she married again to Agmondesham Vesey, a distant cousin who inherited wealth and land at Lucan in County Dublin. He was also an MP and the couple divided their time between London and Lucan. Agmondesham was continually unfaithful to his wife but she remained loyal nursing him through a number of bouts of illness as he suffered from epilepsy. 

Elizabeth was surrounded by a loyal group of friends; firstly her sister in law Miss Hancock, who lived with Elizabeth as a companion throughout their lives and later she formed a salon of creative and intellectual women; Elizabeth Montagu, Elizabeth Griffith, Hester Chapone, Hester Lynch Piozzi, Elizabeth Carter, Hannah Moore and Frances Burney. She was also a supporter of the arts and friend to Edmund Burke, David Garrick, Samuel Johnson, Joshua Reynolds and Richard Brinsley Sheridan. Although Vesey did write she never published her work and is remebered instead as a gracious and charming host and support of the literary set who inspired the generations of women writers to come including Jane Austen and Mary Wollstonecraft. 

With her husband's death Vesey was left in realtive poverty and relied on the assistance of relatives over her final years, she died in London in 1791.