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Longworth, Maria Theresa (c. 1832–1881)

Longworth, Maria Theresa (c. 1832–1881)

Irish writer best remembered as the plaintiff in a long-running British legal case. Born around 1832 in Ireland; died in 1881; married William Charles Yelverton, later 4th viscount Avonmore, in 1857 (marriage repudiated in 1858).

Selected writings:

The Yelverton Correspondence (1863).

Born in Ireland around 1832, Maria Theresa Longworth achieved her greatest recognition as a key player in the Yelverton case. In 1857, she was married to William Charles Yelverton, later the 4th viscount Avonmore, by a priest in a Roman Catholic church in Rostrevor, Ireland. William Yelverton soon repudiated the marriage and in 1858 married the widow of a Professor Edward Forbes. Furious at her husband's renunciation of their marriage, Longworth turned to the courts to resolve the matter. In 1861, an Irish court upheld the validity of her marriage to Yelverton. Only a year later, however, a Scottish court granted her husband an annulment. The Scottish court's ruling was confirmed by the House of Lords two years later.

Longworth published a number of novels between the years of 1861 and 1875. She also recounted the legal battle surrounding the validity of her marriage in a book entitled The Yelverton Correspondence, published in 1863. She died in 1881.

Don Amerman , freelance writer, Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania

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