Bathsua Makin



Jean R. Brink, ‘Bathsua Reginald Makin: “Most Learned Matron”’, HLQ, 54/4 (Fall 1991), 313-26


Frances Teague, Bathsua Makin, Woman of Learning (Lewisburg & London, 1998)


Bathsua Makin (née Reynolds or Reginald), scholar and teacher, who in the 1640s tutored Charles I's daughter Princess Elizabeth, was commonly acknowledged in her time to be the most learned woman in England. Her various writings bear witness to her knowledge and teaching skills, not only in English but also in Latin, Greek, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Hebrew, and even shorthand. A number of her poems in praise of James I and his family were published by her father, Henry Reynolds, as Musa Virginea (London, 1616). What is generally, but uncertainly, attributed to her (having a prefatory epistle declaring the author to be a man) is the anonymously published treatise An Essay to Revive the Antient Education of Gentlewomen (London, 1673), which may perhaps have been written by, or heavily indebted to, Mark Lewis (1621/2-81), schoolmaster and educationalist. This essay is edited in Teague, pp. 109-50.

Makin's surviving manuscripts, in prose and verse, some also multi-lingual, bear witness to more private concerns, particularly her relationship with members of the Hastings family, several of whom (notably Sir John Davies's daughter Lucy, Countess of Huntingdon, and her daughter Elizabeth) she tutored. Written in her neat italic or roman hand, these manuscripts offer verse memorials on the death of Hastings family members (MaB 1-4).

They are supplemented by a few surviving letters to Lucy Hastings and to other notable scholars in Makin's circle (MaB 5-10).

Peter Beal