A Seventeenth Century 'Blue Stocking'

  • 16 Jan 2012
  • Historical Studies
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Lady Dorothy Pakington was one of the most notable of Worcestershire ladies, and the reputed author of a celebrated work entitled 'The Whole Duty of Man'. She was a Coventry; daughter of the Lord Keeper Coventry, and grandmother of 'Sir Roger de Coverley'. Her marriage into the Pakington was the result of her father being the guardian of young Pakington. In those days it was the natural order of things that the ward should marry his guardian's daughter. Her husband was the grandson of Queen Elizabeth's ' Lusty Pakington', and took a distinguished and prominent part of the Civil War.

Whether she did write the celebrated work has been disputed, and probably the 'blue stocking' received advice, and even assistance from one or perhaps more of the eminent divines with whom she was on terms of intimacy. After her death, a manuscript of the book in her handwriting was found at Westwood, but whether it was the original book or a copy has never been satisfactorily cleared up. At her death, she was 'buried in linen', a forfeiture being paid under the Act, which, for the encouragement of the wollen industry, required that everyone should be buried in wool.