Pakington, Dorothy (d. 1679)

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Pakington, Dorothy (d. 1679)

English author and moralist. Died on May 10, 1679; daughter of Thomas Coventry, 1st baron of Coventry; married Sir John Pakington (1620–1680).

The daughter of a baron, and well educated as a woman of rank, Dorothy Pakington was recognized for her intellect as well as her piety. She was reputedly the author of a series of theological volumes, including The Gentlemen's Calling, The Ladies' Calling, The Government of the Tongue, The Christian's Birthright, and The Causes of the Decay of Christian Piety. At the time of her death, she was working on a book entitled The Government of the Thoughts, which, although unfinished, was highly praised by a Dr. Fell, who characterized her as "wise, humble, temperate, chaste, patient, charitable, and devout." He added that she lived a life of austerity, throughout which she maintained "an undisturbed serenity."

In 1697, years after her death, another volume, The Whole Duty of Man, was also attributed to her, although internal evidence determined that the author was probably Richard Allestree, a practicing divine, who indeed may have also authored some of the other works ascribed to Lady Pakington.


The Concise Dictionary of National Biography (Vol. III). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992.

King, William C., ed. Woman. Springfield, MA: King-Richardson, c. 1900.

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