Elizabeth Richardson (Ashburnham)


Elizabeth Richardson (née Beaumont; Ashburnham by her first marriage), Baroness of Cramond, made notable contributions to the genre of religious meditations prepared for the instruction of children. The culmination of this was A Ladies Legacie to her Daughters. In three Books, addressed to her four adult daughters and two daughters-in-law, published in 1645. Two printed exempla of this work, presented to members of her family and containing her autograph additions, have been recorded (*RiE 3, *RiE 4). There also exist two much earlier manuscript volumes of prayers and meditations by her (*RiE 2, *RiE 5) which, also prepared for immediate use by her family, represent in some measure prototypes of her Legacie. As has been noted by commentators, Richardson seems to have been a constant reviser of her texts, which were never truly complete and which she asked at least one recipient to continue correcting.

Peter Beal