Bray, Anna Eliza (1790–1883)

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Bray, Anna Eliza (1790–1883)

English novelist. Name variations: Mrs. Bray. Born Anna Eliza Kempe at Newington, Surrey, on December 25, 1790; died in London, England, on January 21, 1883; daughter of J. Kempe; married Charles A. Stothard (an artist and son of artist R.A. Stothard), in 1818 (died 1821); married Reverend Edward Atkyns Bray, vicar of Tavistock, in 1823 (died 1857).

Anna Bray wrote about a dozen, chiefly historical, novels. Considered perhaps the most valuable of her writings, The Borders of the Tamar and the Tavy (3 volumes, 1836), was an account of the traditions and superstitions of the neighborhood of Tavistock in the form of letters to Robert Southey, of whom she was a close friend. In 1818, she married artist Charles Alfred Stothard. Three years later, while working on his book The Monumental Effigies of Great Britain, Charles was making drawings of stained-glass windows when he fell from a ladder in the church at Beerferris and was killed. With the help of her brother Alfred John Kempe, Anna Bray completed the work. Among her writings are De Foix (1826), Courtenay of Walreddon (1844), A Peep at the Pixies, or Legends of the West (1854), Life of Thomas Stothard (1856), as well as Trelawney of Trelawney, Branded, Good St. Louis and his Times, and White Hoods. Her autobiography was published posthumously in 1884.