Maria Louisa Charlesworth

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Maria Louisa Charlesworth (1 October 1819 in The Rectory, Blakenham Parva – 6 January 1880 in Nutfield, Surrey) was an English author of religious books.[1]


Maria Charlesworth was the daughter of John Charlesworth (1782-1864), an Evangelical clergyman who was rector of Flowton when Maria was born and later rector of a London parish.[2] A visitor in her father's parish from a young age, Maria Charlesworth drew on her experiences for The Female Visitor to the Poor (1846), as well as the fictionalised Ministering Children (1854). Ministering Children, set in a town modelled on Ipswich, sold over 170,000 copies during her lifetime – designed to teach children by example, it was especially popular as a 'reward book' for Sunday school prizes – and was translated into French, German and Swedish.[3]

On her father's death in 1864 Maria Charlesworth lived for a while with her clergyman brother in Limehouse and then sent up a ragged school and a mission in Bermondsey.[3] She retired to Nutfield in Surrey, where she died on 16 October 1880.[4]


  • The Female Visitor to the Poor, 1846
  • Ministering children, 1854
  • Africa's Mountain Valley, 1865
  • A Sequel to Ministering Children, 1867
  • Oliver of the Mill, 1876
  • The Old Looking-Glass; or Mrs. Dorothy Cope's Recollections of Service, 1877
  • Sunday Afternoons in the Nursery, or Familiar Narratives from the Book of Genesis, 1885.


  1. ^ Maria Charlesworth at FemBio
  2. ^ "Charlesworth, John (CHRT822J)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  3. ^ a b 'Charlesworth, Maria Louisa', in Louise Shattock, The Oxford Guide to British Women Writers, p. 99
  4. ^ Boase 1887, p. 115.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainBoase, George Clement (1887). "Charlesworth, Maria Louisa". In Stephen, Leslie. Dictionary of National Biography. 10. London: Smith, Elder & Co.