Hannah More


Hannah More was a well known writer and philanthropist in 18th century Britain. She got her start by writing pastoral plays for the girls school that she attended with her four sisters. One of her plays, entitled The Search after Happiness was published when she was only eighteen, and was moderately successful. After a failed engagement, she went to London and due to her charm and talent won the attention of the literary circle there. Some of her friends and patrons included David Garrick, the well known actor, Joshua Reynolds, the painter, and Samuel Johnson, the most eminent literary man of his age. She wrote several other plays over the next few years, and enjoyed reasonable acclaim.

In 1785 she started on a second career of philanthropic ventures, mainly centered on providing free schools and education to the children of the minors of Somersetshire. She established several schools and used her connections to fund them, in spite of some resistance by local churches and farmers. She wrote political tract encouraging the government funding of schools before the idea was popular, and as a result was criticized when the French revolution broke out, for sympathizing with the rebels. She spent most of the rest of her life promoting education, and attempting to help the poor.

Key events during the life of Hannah More:

Birth of Hannah More
Attending boarding school with older sisters.
Published The Search after Happiness, a pastoral play for young ladies.
Traveled to London, and became acquainted with David Garrick.
Wrote Percy, a play that was acted out in Covent Garden
Death of her patron, David Garrick.
Published Sacred Dramas
Established a school for the children of miners in Somersetshire.
Published Village Politics urging government to help the poor.
  Criticized during the French Revolutionary wars for supporting the revolution.
Established twelves schools where the children of poor were taught to read and right.
Death of Hannah More

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Hannah More  in  Great Englishwomen  by  M. B. Synge

Short Biography
Sir Joshua Reynolds Prominant British painter who specialized in portraits and historical scenes.
David Garrick Highly influential stage-actor of 18th century Britain.
William Wilberforce Influential abolitionist who led the fight to outlaw slavery in all of Britain's territories.
Samuel Johnson Eminent literary figure in England. Wrote the first British Dictionary.
Edmund Burke Very influential Political Philosopher, whose works are a basis of constitutional law.
Patty More Sister of Hannah who shared in her philanthropic efforts.