Lady Harriet Acland

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Lady Harriet Acland
Lady Christian Henrietta Caroline Harriot Acland KNH 922317.jpg
Hon. Christian Henrietta Caroline Fox-Strangways

3 January 1750
Died21 July 1815(1815-07-21) (aged 65)
OccupationNoblewoman, nurse, diarist
m. 1770; died 1778)

Lady Harriet Acland[1][2] (née Fox-Strangways; 3 January 1750 – 21 July 1815) was a British noblewoman and diarist. She accompanied her husband to British North America and became celebrated for her personal courage. She is commemorated on one of the bronze reliefs on second floor of the Saratoga Monument[3] in the State of New York.

Early life[edit]

She began life as The Honourable Christian Henrietta Caroline "Harriet" Fox-Strangways, daughter of Stephen Fox-Strangways (then Baron Ilchester), and his wife, the former Elizabeth Horner. When her father was raised to his earldom, Harriet became "Lady Harriet Fox-Strangways".

Marriage and issue[edit]

In 1770, at the age of twenty, she married John Dyke Acland,[4] son of Sir Thomas Dyke Acland, 7th Baronet, and his wife, Elizabeth Dyke. Lady Harriet and her husband had two children:

American Revolution[edit]

Lady Harriet travelled with her husband to the Provence of Quebec and the Thirteen Colonies when he commanded the 20th Regiment of Foot.[6] At the time of the Battles of Saratoga, during the American Revolutionary War, Lady Harriet heard that her husband had been wounded and travelled through the rebel lines to find him. Her husband, who had been shot through both legs, improved with her careful nursing. The next year they returned to England, where Colonel Acland died at Pixton Park, Dulverton near Exmoor on 31 October 1778.

Widowhood and death[edit]

During the long period of her widowhood, 1778-1815, Lady Harriet remained at Pixton Park, building the lane now known as Lady Harriet Acland's Drive to connect to where her daughter, Elizabeth, the Countess of Carnarvon, lived near Wiveliscombe.

Lady Harriet died, aged 65, at Tetton, near Taunton.

American War of Independence[edit]

Lady Harriet Acland on the Hudson River, drawn & engraved by Robert Pollard, 1784

A 1784 engraving by Robert Pollard depicting Lady Harriet Acland on the Hudson River is inscribed as follows:

This amiable Lady accompanied her Husband to Canada in the Year 1776, & during two Campaigns, under went such fatigue & distress as female fortitude was thought incapable of supporting; and once She narrowly escaped with life from her Tent which was set on fire in the Night. The Event here commemorated deserves to be recorded in History. In the unfortunate Action between G. Burgoyne & G. Gates Oct,, 7, 1777, Major Ackland was wounded & made Prisoner, when his Lady received the news She formed the heroic Resolution of delivering herself into the hands of the Enemy that she might attend him during the Captivity For this purpose, with a Letter from G. Burgoyne to G. Gates, accompanied by the Rev. Mr. Brudinell who carried a Flag of Truce, one female servant, & her husbands Valet, she rowed down Hudsons River in an open boat towards the America Camp, but Night coming on before she reached their outposts the Guards on duty refused to receive her & threatened to fire upon her if she moved till morning In this dreadful situation for 7 or 8 dark & cold hours, she was compelled to wait on the Water half dead with anxiety & terror. The morning put an end to her distress, she was receiv'd by Gen. Gates & restored to her husband with that politeness & humanity her sex, quality, & Virtue so justly merited. / See G. Burgoynes Narrative'.


  1. ^ Acland, Christian Henrietta Caroline. Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 01.
  2. ^ "Lady Christian Henrietta Caroline Acland (née Fox-Strangways; 1750-1815), Diarist". National Portrait Gallery, London.
  3. ^ Stillwater, Mailing Address: 648 Route 32; Us, NY 12170 Phone:670-2985 Saratoga National Historical Park information desk available daily from 9am- 5pm Contact. "Saratoga Monument Virtual Tour part 6 - Saratoga National Historical Park (U.S. National Park Service)".
  4. ^ wikisource-logo.svg Gilman, D. C.; Peck, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "Acland, Christian Henrietta Caroline". New International Encyclopedia. 1 (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead. p. 78. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
  5. ^ Acland, 1981, p.37; Vivian, Lt.Col. J.L., (Ed.) The Visitations of the County of Devon: Comprising the Heralds' Visitations of 1531, 1564 & 1620, Exeter, 1895, pedigree of Acland, p.5
  6. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Acland, Christian Henrietta Caroline" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 149.

Additional sources[edit]