Mary Chandler

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Mary Chandler (1687–1745) was an English poet. George Crabb writes that she left several poems, ‘the most esteemed of which was her “Bath”’.[1]


Born at Malmesbury, Wiltshire, she was the eldest daughter of Henry Chandler, a dissenting minister, later at Bath, Somerset. Her mother was a Miss Bridgman of Marlborough, and Samuel Chandler was one of her brothers. In her youth her spine became crooked, and her health suffered; but she set up a shop in Bath about 1705, when not yet out of her teens, and wrote rhyming riddles and poems to friends. The neighbouring gentry had her to visit them, among them Mrs. Boteler, Mrs. Moor, Lady Russell, and the Duchess of Somerset. Jonathan Swift's friend Mary Barber was her neighbour, and she was also a friend of Elizabeth Rowe. She died on 11 September 1745.[2]


She printed a book of verses inscribed to Princess Amelia. It was called A Description of Bath, and, going quickly through two editions, a third was issued in 1736, a fourth in 1738, and a fifth in 1741. A wealthy gentleman, of sixty, struck with one of her poems, travelled eighty miles to see her, and, after buying a pair of gloves from her, offered to make her his wife. Miss Chandler turned the incident into verse, and a sixth edition of her book being called for in 1744, it appeared with a sub-title, ‘To which is added a True Tale, by the same Author.’ She retired from business; and she began a poem ‘On the Attributes of God,’ left unfinished.[2]

A seventh edition of her poems was issued in 1755, and an eighth in 1767. She dedicated her book to her brother John, and her ‘Life,’ in Theophilus Cibber's Lives of the Poets, was written by her brother Samuel. [2]


  1. ^ George Crabb, Universal historical dictionary, enlarged edn, 2 vols (London: Baldwin and Cradock, and J. Dowding, 1833), I, s.v.
  2. ^ a b c Humphreys 1887.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHumphreys, Jennett (1887). "Chandler, Mary". In Stephen, Leslie. Dictionary of National Biography. 10. London: Smith, Elder & Co. p. 39.