Burrell, Sophia (DNB00)

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BURRELL, Lady SOPHIA (1750?–1802), poetess and dramatist, was the eldest daughter of Charles Raymond of Valentines, Essex (Ladies' Mag. 1773; Home News, p. 223), and was born about 1750. On 13 April 1773 she married William Burrell, member of parliament for Haslemere [see Burrell, Sir William], and came into possession, it is said, of 100,000l. A baronetcy was granted to her father in 1774, the year after her marriage, with remainder to her husband and her male issue by him. From 1773 to 1782 Lady Burrell's pen was employed on vers de société, varied by such heavier matter as ‘Comala,’ from Ossian, in 1784. In 1787 her husband's health failed, and they retired to a seat at Deepdene. Lady Burrell published two volumes of collected poems anonymously in 1793; in 1794, the ‘Thymriad’ from Xenophon, and ‘Telemachus,’ with her name attached. In 1796 Sir William Burrell died, Lady Burrell having had two sons and two daughters by him; and on 23 May 1797 she was married, at Marylebone Church, by the Bishop of Kildare (Gent. Mag. lxvii. part i. 484), to the Rev. William Clay, a son of Richard Augustus Clay of Southwell, Nottinghamshire. In 1800 Lady Burrell produced two tragedies. The first was ‘Maximian,’ dedicated to Mr. William Lock; the second was ‘Theodora,’ dedicated by permission to Duchess Georgiana of Devonshire. Lady Burrell and Mr. Clay retired to West Cowes, Isle of Wight, where she died, 20 June 1802, aged about 52.

In 1814 Lady Burrell's tragedy ‘Theodora’ was reprinted in ‘The New British Theatre’ (vol. i.), a collection of rejected dramas.

[Biog. Dram. i. 79; Gent. Mag. lxvi. part i. 86, &c. (infra); Ladies' Mag. 1778; Home News, p. 223; Lady Burrell's own Works; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. ix. 797; The New British Drama, i. 336.]

J. H.