Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Elizabeth Barrett was born in 1806, the eldest daughter of Edward Moulton Barrett, a merchant with connections in the West Indies. Elizabeth was born at Coxhoe Hall, county Durham. Another three sisters and eight brothrs were to be added to the family. In 1809 the growing family moved to Hope End, a few miles north of Ledbury. Her father built a striking mansion (since demolished) on the 475-acre estate. They were regular attenders at the Congregational chapel behind the High Street in Ledbury. The family enjoyed riding and walking in the countryside, which also inspired some of Elizabeth Barrett's poetry. A riding accident as a young girl left Elizabeth with serious health problems. In 1828 her mother, Mary, died, and four years later financial difficulties forced her father to sell Hope End. The family eventually settled in Wimpole Street, London, and it was there that she met the poet Robert Browning. They married in 1846 and moved to italy, where their son was born. Elizabeth died and was buried in Florence in 1861.
Although she never returned to Ledbury after leaving in 1832, the scenery of her childhood appears in a number of her verse, notably the long poem Aurora Leigh.. In the 1890s the town decided to honour its famous (almost) resident by naming the newly-built ireading room the Barrett Browning Institute.
Content generated during research for two paperback books 'Ledbury: A Market Town and its Tudor Heritage' (ISBN 13 : 978-1-86077-598-7) and 'Ledbury: People and Parish before the Reformation' (ISBN 13 : 978-1-86077-614-4) for the England's Past for Everyone series