Roche, Regina Maria (c. 1764–1845)

Updated About content Print Article Share Article
views updated

Roche, Regina Maria (c. 1764–1845)

Irish novelist. Name variations: Regina Maria Dalton. Born Regina Maria Dalton in Wexford County, Ireland, around 1764; died in Waterford, Ireland, on May 17, 1845; daughter of Captain Blundel Dalton; married Ambrose Roche, in 1793 or 1794 (died 1829).

Selected writings:

The Vicar of Lansdowne (1789); The Maid of the Hamlet (1793); The Children of the Abbey (1796); Clermont (1798); The Nocturnal Visit (1800); The Discarded Son; or, The Haunt of the Banditti (1807); The Houses of Osma and Almeria; or, The Convent of St. Ildefonso (1810); The Monastery of St. Colomb (1812); Trecothiek Bower (1813); London Tales (1814); The Munster Cottage Boy (1819); The Bridal of Dunamore and Lost and Won: Two Tales (1823); The Tradition of the Castle; or, Scenes in the Emerald Isle (1824); The Castle Chapel (1825); Contrast (1828); The Nun's Picture (1834).

An early appreciation of literature turned into a full-time passion for Regina Maria Roche, a Dubliner who published 16 novels. Two of these—The Vicar of Lansdowne and The Maid of the Hamlet—were published under her maiden name of Dalton, before she married Ambrose Roche in 1793 or 1794. It was her third novel, The Children of the Abbey, that brought Roche to fame. Ten editions of that novel, plus a mention in Jane Austen 's Emma, established her as a popular writer (Children of the Abbey rivaled the success of Ann Radcliffe 's Mysteries of Udolpho). Roche would continue to write in Abbey's vein—described as both Gothic and realist—for the remainder of her career. Her novel Clermont received another Austen mention: it was described as "horrid" in Northanger Abbey. Roche published 11 titles after 1800, and Childrenof the Abbey remained in print as late as 1882. She died at her home in Waterford, an Irish seaport, at age 81.


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

Kunitz, Stanley J., ed. British Authors of the Nineteenth Century. NY: H.W. Wilson, 1936.

Shattock, Joanne. The Oxford Guide to British Women Writers. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Stephen Tschirhart , freelance writer, Birmingham, Michigan