Rachel Speght


Along with ‘Constantia Munda’ and ‘Ester Sowernam’, Rachel Speght was one of the contributors to a series of vigorous pamphlet attacks on the anti-feminist ‘bayter of women’ John Swetnam, her pamphlet being entitled A Mouzell for Melastomus (London, 1617). Unlike the other two authors, Speght was using her own name, and her pamphlet was indeed written by a woman, not simply in the persona of a woman. There are no known manuscripts of this, or of any other writings by Speght in verse and prose, although one interesting printed exemplum of her Mouzell is recorded in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (SpR 1).

Peter Beal