Friends of Hastings Cemetery

Anna Shipton

AE H15

Anna Shipton was born Anna Savage in January 1815, four years after the marriage of her father Edward Savage, a solicitor from Evesham in Worcestershire, and her mother Emma Harrison whose family lived in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.  Her brother Edward Gregory had been born in February of the previous year but the two children became motherless very soon after, for Emma died in 1817.

She was brought up in some degree of comfort, if not wealth.  Her father never remarried, so it can be assumed that she was looked after, at least in her infancy, by relatives or close friends. Gifted with natural quickness of understanding and a sharp intellect, she made good use of it.  At 12, not only did she read The Times very carefully but thought deeply about the information she gleaned; for example, having decided opinions on what was necessary for the poor and unfortunate she read about.

Her love of reading led naturally towards the literary and quite early she began to write well enough for her first published work to appear in one of the literary annuals of 1829.  Nothing else seems to appear in print again until she was 22. From 1837 onwards she contributed to a variety of literary annuals and so began to establish herself as a writer. After her father's death in 1838, although financially independent, she continued to write because she felt she had "the power of writing" and saw it as a means of occupation since she "needed an aim".

According to an acquaintance, she was a "very intelligent, cultivated woman, with a considerable amount of wit and well bred humour". In 1848, she married Joseph Shipton, a wealthy land-owner from Warwickshire and they settled in Berkshire.  By 1852, Anna and her husband had separated. From all the evidence, it is fairly certain that the separation came as a result of Joseph Shipton's marital unfaithfulness.

In the years between 1855 and 1890 Anna Shipton published over twenty books, several running into two or more editions on both sides of the Atlantic. For health reasons, she travelled and lived on the Continent from the mid 1860s until the 1880s. On her return she settled in Sussex and then St. Leonard's on Sea, where she died in November 1901. []