More, Hannah

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More, Hannah (1745–1833). One of the best-known and most prolific polemicists of her day, Hannah More was born at Stapleton, near Bristol, and joined her sisters in running a school. She became acquainted with London literary circles and was a particular favourite with Dr Johnson. A poem Sir Eldred was well received (1776) and her play Percy had a good run at Covent Garden in 1777, thanks to David Garrick's support. Her growing evangelical interest was evident in Thoughts on the Importance of the Manners of the Great to General Society (1788). From her cottage at Cowslip Green, near Blagdon, south of Bristol, she started in the 1790s Sunday schools for the Mendip villages: ‘I allow of no writing for the poor,’ she told Wilberforce in a memorable phrase. Meanwhile the outbreak of the French Revolution gave her a chance to write simple and didactic tracts, in which the poor were invited to count their blessings, and which sold and were distributed in vast quantities. She died a wealthy woman, leaving her money to religious institutions and charities.

J. A. Cannon

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Hannah More

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