Perdita woman: Marie Burghope


Little is known of Marie Burghope's biography, except that she was the daughter of the third Earl of Bridgewater's chaplain, the Rev. George Burghope. Her father was also rector of the church of St. Peter and St. Paul at Little Gaddesden. He preached the first sermon at Ashridge's new chapel, which was completed in 1699, and which the poem describes. George Burghope gave two charitable bequests: £30 to Little Gaddesden in 1707 and money to St. Mary's in Edlesborough in 1723 (Howard Senar, Little Gaddesden and Ashridge (Chichester: Phillimore, 1983), pp. 6 and 136; Victoria County History of Buckinghamshire, vol. 3, p. 360).

Lady Mary Egerton, Burghope's dedicatee, was the eldest daughter of John Egerton, third Earl of Bridgewater (1646-1701) and his second wife Jane Powlett (d. 1716; daughter of the first Duke of Bolton and his second wife Mary, the illegitimate daughter of Emanuel Le Scrope, Earl of Sunderland). Mary was born on 4 March 1676, making her about 23 when Burghope's poem was addressed to her. She married William, Lord Byron in 1703, but died of smallpox shortly afterwards, on 12 April 1703. Her sister Elizabeth married Thomas Catesby, Lord Paget on 3 May 1718. Her two eldest brothers Charles (b. 1675) and Thomas (b. 1679) were killed in a fire which destroyed Bridgewater House in Barbican in 1687. The third son, Scroop Egerton (1681-1745) is the Lord Brackley of the poem ('the auspicious riseing Peer'). Mary's other brothers were William (b. 1684-1732), Henry (d. 1746), John and Charles (d. 1725) (Complete Peerage, vol. 2, p. 313; Egerton Bridges, Collins's Peerage of England, vol. 3 (London, 1812), pp. 205-207).

Huntington Library: MS EL 35/B/62
"The Vision", a poem on Ashridge and the history of members of the Bridgewater family (1699)
Marie Burghope (Author, scribe)