Thursday, January 06, 2011

Thursday Thirteen: Great Englishwomen

Inspired by this article by historian Bettany Hughes listing her choice of the ten greatest Englishwomen - I'm not claiming these are the greatest, and if I did the list again next week it would probably be different, but today I am picking this list of thirteen:

(1) Saint Hilda of Whitby ... abbess of a double monastery (monks and nuns), and the brains behind the Synod of Whitby, which settled that the English Church should follow the customs of Rome rather than the Celtic Church.

(2) Julian of Norwich ... medieval mystic, whose influence spread far beyond her anchoress's cell.

(3) Queen Elizabeth I ... love her or hate her, she ruled as a woman in a man's world for over forty years, in many respects successfully.

(4) Venerable Mary Ward ... a seventeenth century English nun, founder of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Declared Venerable (the first step to sainthood) by Pope Benedict in 2009.

(5) Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough ... the power behind the throne for much of Queen Anne's reign, and also an ancestor of Winston Churchill.

(6) Jane Austen ... one of the greatest of English writers, male or female.

(7) Elizabeth Fry ... Quaker and prison reformer.

(8) Florence Nightingale ... nursing pioneer.

(9) Emmeline Pankhurst ... leader of the Suffragette movement, who fought to win the vote for women.

(10) Charlotte Mason ... determined to give children a "living" education, she had a strong influence on both schools and the training of teachers.

(11) Beatrix Potter ... not just for her children's books, but because she was one of the founder members of the National Trust and saved large tracts of the natural beauty of the Lake District for future generations to enjoy.

(12) Rosalind Franklin ... a pioneering scientist who made the initial discoveries of the structure of DNA.

(13) Margaret Thatcher ... whatever you think of her politics, as the first female prime minister she has to be on the list.

2 comments:

Minnie said...

Aphra Behn? Writer, possibly a spy and definitely a dramatic publiciser of causes, e.g. slavery ...

Karen E. said...

Great list!