Wynn, Charlotte Williams (DNB00)

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WYNN, CHARLOTTE WILLIAMS (1807–1869), diarist, born on 16 Jan. 1807, was the eldest daughter of Charles Watkin Williams Wynn [q. v.] Her childhood was passed at Dropmore on the Thames, the seat of her great-uncle, Lord Grenville. There, and at her father's house in London, she became acquainted with some of the most distinguished persons of the day, both in literature and in politics. Her father's declining health compelled him to journey in 1836 to Wiesbaden, and while proceeding in the steamboat from Rotterdam to Biebrich she met Varnhagen von Ense. During her father's annual visits to Germany Varnhagen made a point of coming to see them, and their friendship lasted until his death in 1858.

Miss Wynn knew many parts of England, and travelled much in Italy and Switzerland as well as in Germany. She was in Paris during the troubled period from 2 Nov. 1851 to the end of February 1852, and describes in detail the events of that time. Later on, in her English home at 43 Green Street, London, she formed ‘close and lasting friendship’ with Bunsen, Rio, Thomas Carlyle, and F. D. Maurice. Letters to her from Maurice are printed in his ‘Life’ (ii. 315–16, 346, 382, 463, 511, 569, 575–8), and one from him, descriptive of her character, is found in the preface (pp. ix–xi) of her ‘Memorials.’ In 1866 Miss Wynn was compelled through illness to reside nearly all the year in a foreign climate. She died at Arcachon on 26 April 1869, and was buried in the cemetery there.

A volume, entitled ‘Memorials of Charlotte Williams-Wynn, edited by her Sister’ (Mrs. Harriot H. Lindesay) was published in 1877, and reissued in 1878. Many of the letters and extracts had previously appeared in a volume printed solely for private circulation. They show her to have been well read in modern literature, both English and foreign, and to have possessed a cultivated mind instinct with religious feeling. Prefixed to both the published editions of her ‘Memorials’ is a signed engraving, by H. Adlard, from a drawing of her by H. T. Wells, R.A., in 1856.

[Gent. Mag. 1807, i. 88; preface to Memorials, 1877.]

W. P. C.