Sarah Kemble

  • 16 Jan 2012
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Her juvenile beauty brought her much admiration. Her affections were, however, bestowed on William Siddons, a young actor who had joined the company from Birmingham, who was good-looking and able. Her preference led to his discharge from the company. At his farewell benefit at Brecon, Siddons recited some doggerel, soliciting sympathy for the discarded lover, and had ghis ears boxed for his pains by Mrs. Kemble. Perhaps he drew a paralled between the daughter and the mother which provoked such reaction from Mrs. Kemble, for when she was Sarah Ward, she too disobeyed her father's refusal to allow her to marry an actor.

Sarah Kemble was sent away to be a companion-lady's maid to a friend of the family, Mrs. Greathead at Guy's Cliff, Warwickshire, where she used to recite Milton, Shakespeare and Rowe in the servant's hall, and sometimes before aristocratic company. She returned home still constant in her affection, and wrung from her parents a reluctant consent to her marriage, which was solemnised on November 26, 1773, at Trinity Church, Coventry. The Kembles did not however re-instate them in their company, and the young couple accepted an engagement with the Chamberlain and Crump Company at Bath, where their straits were dire. They played in various county towns, returning to the King's Head Theatre in April 1775, directly after the Kemble season