Frances Blogg

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Frances Chesterton
BornFrances Alice Blogg
(1869-06-28)28 June 1869
Died12 December 1938(1938-12-12) (aged 69)
Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire
LanguageEnglish
CitizenshipBritish
EducationNotting Hill High School
Alma materSt Stephen's College, Clewer
Genresverse, song
SpouseG. K. Chesterton
RelativesMary Margaret Heaton (aunt)

Frances Chesterton, born Frances Alice Blogg (1869–1938) was an English author of verse, songs and school drama.[1] She was the wife of G. K. Chesterton and had a large role in his career as amanuensis and personal manager.

Early life[edit]

Frances was born on 28 June 1869, the first of seven children of George William Blogg and Blanche Keymer.[2] Frances’ mother taught her and her sisters to think independently, having them attend London’s first kindergarten. [1] She was educated at a progressive Ladies' School in Fitzroy Square run by Rosalie and Minna Praetorius, followed by Notting Hill High School.[2] Her father died when she was fourteen years old. Later, she attended St. Stephen’s College for two years, with the dream to become a teacher. She taught Sunday school at an Anglican church in Bedford Park. Here, she became very involved in her faith by reading the Bible and devoting herself to the Saints. [2] In 1895, Frances began working as a secretary and administrator at the Parent’s National Educational Union. She worked here, planning and organizing conferences, giving speeches, and editing their publications until her marriage to G.K. Chesterton.[3]

Marriage[edit]

She first met Gilbert Keith Chesterton in 1896 and married him on 28 June 1901 in St Mary Abbots, Kensington.Throughout their marriage, Frances encouraged his writing. Putting her duty to her husband first, she effectively worked as his manager, keeping his appointments' diary and his accounts, negotiating on his behalf with publishers, and hiring his typists.[4]

Faith[edit]

G. K. Chesterton admired Frances' faith and how she lived it out by reading the Bible, teaching Sunday school, and taking care of the sick and elderly. Frances introduced him to the Holy Trinity and Jesus. In G.K. Chesterton's poem, The Ballad of the White Horse, he gives Frances the recognition of this impact in his life, showing that she was the reason he converted and now knows Jesus.[3]

“Therefore I bring these rhymes to you

Who brought the cross to me.”[3]

Frances was received into the Catholic Church on 1 November 1926, four years after her husband.[4] Within their marriage, Frances' faith was tested while coping with her brother's suicide, yet the Chestertons helped one another through hard times to maintain their relationship with Jesus.[3]

Personal Inspiration[edit]

Frances desired to have a large family; however, due to infertility, she was unable to bear any children. This emptiness was filled with hope, which she sought through Jesus' birth. The nativity scene of Mother Mary holding Jesus was an image that she longed for, which inspired her works to be Christmas themed. She frequently described baby Jesus' feet and hands.[5] Each Christmas she wrote a poem for their Christmas card, one of which, "How far is it to Bethlehem?", was later published as the hymn "Is It Far To Bethlehem?".[6]

Death[edit]

In 1909 the couple moved to Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, where they lived to their deaths.[6] She was widowed on 14 June 1936, and died on 12 December 1938.

Legacy[edit]

The Charity of Frances Alice Chesterton was established by her will and was registered as a charity in 1965 (registered charity number 252034). It supports the work of the Roman Catholic Church in the parish of Beaconsfield.

Works[edit]

Plays[edit]

The Children’s Crusade[7]

  • Sir Cleges[7]
  • The Christmas Gift[7]
  • Piers Plowman’s Pilgrimage[7]
  • The Three Kings[7]
  • Legends of Gods and Saints[7]

Christmas Card Poetry[edit]

  • Christmas 1911 In Her Warm Arms Our Lady[7]
  • Christmas 1912 Upon a Little Bank of Grass[7]
  • Christmas 1917 How Far Is It To Bethlehem?[7]
  • Christmas 1918 Seen and Unseen[7]
  • Christmas 1921 The Beast of Burden[7]
  • Christmas 1922 A Ballade of Christmas[7]
  • Christmas 1923 The Crusaders’ Carol[7]
  • Christmas 1925 The Carol of Three Brothers[7]
  • Christmas 1926 A Lullaby Carol[7]
  • Christmas 1927 Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh[7]
  • Christmas 1928 What Manner of Salutation?[7]
  • Christmas 1929 Sed Ex Deo Nati Sunt[7]
  • Christmas 1930 The Cradle of the Winds (Notre Dame)[7]
  • Christmas 1931 The Lowly Gifts[7]
  • Christmas 1932 And It Was Winter[7]
  • Christmas 1933 Lux Mundi[7]
  • Christmas 1934 In Coelo Et Terra[7]

Christmas 1937 Now Is Our Salvation[7]

Music[edit]

  • Words to Geoffrey Shaw's "A Lullaby Carol"[8]

Further reading[edit]

  • Nancy Carpentier Brown: The woman who was Chesterton : the life of Frances Chesterton, wife of English author G.K. Chesterton, Charlotte, NC : ACS Books, [2015] [©2015], ISBN 978-1-50510-478-3

References[edit]

  1. ^ How Far is it to Bethlehem: The Plays and Poetry of Frances Chesterton, edited by Nancy Carpentier Brown (2012).
  2. ^ a b Nancy Carpentier Brown, The Woman Who Was Chesterton (Charlotte, NC, 2015).
  3. ^ a b c d "Frances Alice Blogg Chesterton: G.K. Chesterton's Remarkable Wife, by guest writer Nancy Carpentier Brown". Off the Shelf. 2016-04-15. Retrieved 2017-11-17.
  4. ^ a b "Requiescant", The Tablet, 17 Dec. 1938. Accessed 11 November 2015.
  5. ^ "Frances Chesterton". American Chesterton Society. 2014-02-26. Retrieved 2017-11-17.
  6. ^ a b Anne Thaxter Eaton, ed., Welcome Christmas! A Garland Of Poems (New York, 1955).
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Brown, Nancy Carpentier (2012). How far is it to Bethlehem: the plays and poetry of Frances Chesterton. Chesterton & Brown Publishing. ISBN 1469907402.
  8. ^ Chesterton, Frances; Shaw, Geoffrey (1926). "A Lullaby Carol". The Musical Times. 67 (1006): 1101–1108. doi:10.2307/912617. JSTOR 912617.