A Celebration of Women Writers

Jane Welsh Carlyle - Reference

[Chronology]   [Locations]   [Further Reading]   [Selected Topics]

Carlyle Chronology

Abbreviations used:
TC = Thomas Carlyle,
JWC = Jane Welsh Carlyle
GEJ = Geraldine Endsor Jewsbury
1795TC born (4 Dec) in Ecclefechan (Dumfries), one of seven children of James Carlyle and Margaret Aitken
1801Jane Baillie Welsh, only child of John Welsh and Grace Welsh, born in Haddington (E. Lothian)
1808Caroline Sheridan (Norton) born
1809TC goes to Edinburgh Univ. (aged 14, he WALKED the 100 miles there, over 5 days)
1812GEJ born (22 Aug) in Measham, Derbyshire
1821TC and Jane Welsh meet
1826TC marries Jane Baillie Welsh (17 Oct)
- they live at "Comely Bank" Edinburgh
1827TC publishes "German Romance"
1828TC & JWC move to Craigenputtock (Dumfriesshire)
1829TC writes "Sartor Resartus"
1831Carlyle visits London; fails to publish "Sartor Resartus"
- Jane joins him in Sep (Ampton St)
1832James Carlyle (TC's father) dies
- TC & JWC return to Craigenputtock
- Winter 1832/3, back in Edinburgh
1834TC & JWC move to London, Cheyne Row, Chelsea "A side street off the Thames"
- TC begins work on "The French Revolution"
- John Stuart Mill accidentally burns first MS copy and TC has to start over
1837TC finishes "The French Revolution"
- Lectures to London Society (1837-40)
1839TC publishes "Chartism"
1841GEJ writes to TC after reading "Heroes". She is invited to Cheyne Row.
1842Mrs Welsh dies while JWC is at Liverpool en route to see her.
1843TC publishes "Past and Present" and starts on "Cromwell"
1852TC starts on "Frederick" (14 years to complete), and visits Germany
1854GEJ moves to Chelsea (Oakley Street)
1865TC finishes "Frederick"
1866TC elected Rector of Edinburgh Univ.; Inaugural Address (2 Apr); JWC dies 21 Apr. TC begins a 3-year task collecting JWC's correspondence and preparing them for possible publication.
1877Caroline Norton dies
1880GEJ dies in London hospital
1881TC dies
1883Froude publishes "Letters and Memorials"

Locations referred to in "Letters and Memorials"

WSth Wales
HHampshire/Isle of Wight
LLondon ..
TTroston (Suffolk)


Dingwall ("Kinloch Luichart", Cromarty Firth, Inverness), Lord Ashburton's residence in Scotland.

East Fife, across the Firth of Forth from Edinburgh

  • Linlathen, Dundee
  • Auchtertool, Kirkcaldy (seaside town NE of Dunfermline)
  • Humbie Farm, Aberdour - farmhouse rented for holiday; TC travelled by steamer with Charlotte & Fritz; JWC travelled separately by train - seen off by GEJ and J Cooke - to Sunny Bank, Haddington, then "over the 'frith' to Aberdour .." "And as for air, there can be none purer than this, blowing from the Atlantic [sic] fresh on a hill-top!" [Atlantic = North Sea!] - July, 1859


  • Comely Bank TC & JWC lived here after their marriage in 1826
  • Craigenvilla, Morningside
  • Green End (Mrs. Betty Braid)
  • JWC's Edinburgh aunts: Ann, Elizabeth and Grace Welsh

East Lothian

  • Haddington (Sunny Bank, Haddington), birthplace of JWC. In 1811 her father engaged Edward Irving as a "classical tutor". Irving introduced her to Carlyle


  • Thornhill (north of Dumfries) - Mrs Mary Russell; later (autumn 1859) moved to "Holm Hill" just outside Thornhill
  • Templand, nr. Thornhill; Mrs Welsh (JWC's mother) buried here
  • The Gill (near Annan, Dumfries) - Mrs Austin
  • Lann Hall, Tynron, Dumfriesshire (Mrs Pringle)
  • Moffat House, Moffat (NE of Dumfries)
  • Ecclefechan (Scotsbrig) - birthplace of TC, his brothers John and Alick and sisters Margaret, Mary, Jane and Jenny.
  • Craigenputtock - a vast, isolated, moorland farm. Originally purchased by Jane's father for £10,000. TC & JWC moved here from Comely Bank (Edinburgh) before their final move to London.


Manchester/Liverpool/Nth Wales

  • Manchester - JWC stays with GEJ
  • Alderley Park, Congleton, Cheshire (Lord Stanley)
  • Liverpool - JWC's Uncle John (Welsh) & family (6 "cousins" Helen, Margaret, Alick, Jeannie, Walter & Mary)
  • Seaforth sea-side resort outside Liverpool (the Paulets)
  • Benfryden (Nth Wales) - with Mrs Paulet (Jul 1849)


Sth. Wales

Cowbridge & Carmarthen (Glamorgan) - TC's "Welsh Tour" 1843 and 1850, staying in Charles Redwood's country cottage.



Seaforth Lodge, Seaton (just west of Lyme Regis). Lady Ashburton's new country house, started in June 1864 and completed towards the end of 1864 (NLM 251)

.. "The house is within a hundred yards of a high cliff overhanging the sea; so we have fresh air enough! The Country all round is extremely beautiful, and new to me. Chiefly I am delighted to see clear, running waters, like what we have in Scotland; also the wee lambs, quite white, are a treat to see after the sooty sheep near London!" (NLM254)



  • Ryde (Isle of Wight), Aug 1843 and Aug 1858.
  • The Grange (8 mls from Winchester)
  • Bay House, Alverstoke (nr Portsmouth). Lord Ashburton's country estate. " .. It is the place of all others to get strong at. Close by the sea, - nothing between me and the sea but a lawn, a terrace walk, and a little fringe of Scotch firs; then such a lofty airy House, with such beautiful grounds; long drives in an open carriage every day; sails too in the Bay when I like .." (NLM 191)
  • Sherborne House (Dorset) - Jane's eventful visit to Macready (the actor) and his wife (LAM 143).



  • Ramsgate (Kent) Jane on holiday with GEJ, annoyed by the scraping of her pen Aug 1861
  • Dover (Kent) Jane holidaying with the Bromleys Oct 1862
  • Folkestone (Kent) with the Ashburtons and Miss Bromley (Jul 1862) and with Miss Bromley (Aug 1865).
  • St. Leonards (nr Hastings, Susses). Old servant "Bessie" and her husband Dr Blakiston nurse Jane during her illness, Apr 1864.



  • Cheyne Row on the north bank of the Thames between Battersea Bridge and Albert Bridge.
  • Addiscombe nr. Croydon (Surrey), 15 miles SE of London; the Baring's residence and farm.
  • Bath House (Piccadilly), the Barings "town" residence.



Trotson, Bury St. Edmunds ("St Edmundsbury" in the text)

  • Jane visiting the Bullers - LAM35-39
  • "Cromwell" country where TC researches his book on Cromwell



Belfast, Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Cork - TC's itinerary during a six-week visit in 1849.


Further Reading and Links

While many of the books in this list are out of print now, they are readily available in Public Libraries:

  • The Carlyles: A Biography of Thomas & Jane Carlyle John Stewart Collis, hbk 186p, Sidgwick & Jackson, 1971
  • Thomas Carlyle: Selected Works Thomas Carlyle, ed. Julian Symons, hbk 784p, Rupert Hart-Davis (Reynard Library) 1955
  • Reminiscences Thomas Carlyle, ed. Kenneth Fielding and Ian Capmbell, OUP (World Classics) 1997
  • Thomas Carlyle: Selections A M D Hughes, hbk 172p, Clarendon Press Oxf, 1957
  • Thomas Carlyle: Letters to his Wife ed. Trudy Bliss, hbk 414p, Gollanz 1953
  • Thomas Carlyle: Essays Vol. 1: Scottish & Other Miscellanies Thomas Carlyle, hbk 339p Everyman Lib (Dent) 703 (1915), 1964
  • Thomas Carlyle: Essays Vol. 2: English and Other Critical Essays Thomas Carlyle, hbk 341p Everyman Lib (Dent) 704 (1915), 1964
  • Moral Desperado: A Life of Thomas Carlyle Simon Heffer, hbk 420p Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1995
  • Froude's Life of Carlyle Abr./ed. John Clubbe, hbk 725p John Murray 1979
  • The Carlyles at Home Thea Holme, ill. Lynton Lamb, hbk 204p OUP 1965
  • Jane Welsh Carlyle: A New Selection of Her Letters arr. Trudy Bliss, hbk 355p Victor Gollancz 1950
  • Necessary Evil: The Life of Jane Welsh Carlyle Lawrence & Elizabeth Hanson, hbk 618p Constable 1952
  • Ambitious Heights: Writing, Friendship, Love - The Jewsbury Sisters, Felicia Hemans and Jane Carlyle Norma Clarke, pbk 245p Routledge 1990
  • Geraldine Jewsbury: Her Life and Errors Susanne Howe, hbk 236p Allen & Unwin 1935. The appendix (p211) contains a copy of the only surviving letter of Jane Carlyle to Geraldine Jewsbury.

Some relevant online links:

A Selection of References in the Letters

In the absence of an index, the following is a selection of links to some topics and incidents covered in the Letters.
L1, p5 "The English women turn up the whites of their eyes, ..."
L5, p18 "In spite of the honestest efforts to annihilate my I-ity .."
L5, p19 ".. I am loth to believe that I have married a Pagan .."
L20, p100 "You are to know, dear, fifty pounds is exactly $224.22 .." - Emerson forwards a bill of exchange for TC's "French Revolution" sales in America.
L26, p123 "At present, I have got a rather heavy burden on my shoulders .." - Helen Mitchell (servant) takes to drink
L31, p140 News from Templand of her mother's death.
L33, p157 Night noises in Suffolk country
L35 "I went to church yesterday afternoon .."
L42 Jane suggests a book for her Uncle to read
L44 "Thank you passionately for giving me Vittoria Accoramboni .."
L45 Writing in her artificial "gypsy-tent" in the garden (Jul 1843)
L50, p220 Fr Matthew (temperance preacher)
L51 Bugs on the Isle of Wight
L52, p232 "After some hours of the deadest sleep I ever slept on earth .."
L54, p240 A "colony of bugs" in Helen's bed
L56, p254 Jane haggles over the price of a second-hand sofa
L60, p264 "upheaval" at Cheyne Row; TC restless and bilious as he starts on "Cromwell"
L61, p273 " .. a precious specimen of the regular Yankee .."
L65, p286 Teenager discontent (her cousins in Liverpool)
L66 TC & Jane have different tastes in reading
L69 More discontent caused by "Cromwell"
Note Book Jane's "Note Book" (Apr 1845)
Note Book Jane rescues a stray child
Note Book Three "hot live Irishmen" visit Cheyne Row
Extract Jane refuses to go to Church
Extract Geraldine Jewsbury at Seaforth smoking "cigaritos"
L72, p326 Jane defends TC's approval of Cromwell's "atrocities" in Ireland
L75 Letter to Charles Gavan Duffy Sep 1845
L80 Jane "driven distracted" by a dog
L81, p356 Jane's household account depleted
L83 Jane and "the impulses of her heart"
L84 Jane's opinion of Lady Harriet Baring
L87 Jane thinks TC has forgotten her birthday
Much Ado .. Templand - visiting her father's grave (Much Ado About Nothing)
Much Ado .. "The surest way to get a thing in this life is to be prepared for doing without it, to the exclusion even of hope."
L122 From "Nero" to TC
L128, p116 "Geraldine left me last night, very unwillingly..."
L143 Jane visits the Macreadies at Sherborne
L150, p204 A robbery at Cheyne Row
L151, p209 Jane sleeps with two loaded pistols
L161, p243 "Oh, my dear! never does one feel oneself so utterly helpless as in trying to speak comfort for great bereavement."
L162, p246 "I am hoping for a considerable acquisition before long .."
Journal, p263 "I have been fretting inwardly all this day at the prospect of having to go and appeal before the Tax Commissioners .."
Journal, p267 "When one has been threatened with a great injustice, one accepts a smaller as a favour."
L179, p322 "Oh, heaven! or rather, oh, the other place! 'I am degenerating from a woman into a dog .."
L186, p341 "I haven't got through the American novel yet .."
L207 "Will you think me mad if I tell you that when I read your words, 'I am going to be married,' I all but screamed? .."
L213, p15 "Blessed be the inventor of photography! It has given more positive pleasure to poor suffering humanity than anything else that has "cast up" in my time -- this art by which even the "poor" can possess themselves of tolerable likenesses of their absent dear ones."
L216 Death of Nero
L232 "Have you seen that Tale of Horror .."
L237, p83 ".. scrape, scraping .." of GEJ's pen in Ramsgate
L241 "Oh, you agonising little girl! .." - Invitation to Miss Barnes wedding; TC's refusal to go
L274, p174 Jane's accident Oct 1863

[Letters and Memorials of Jane Welsh Carlyle]

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

This chapter has been put on-line as part of the BUILD-A-BOOK Initiative at the
Celebration of Women Writers.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom