Acton, Eliza (DNB00)

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ACTON, ELIZA (1799–1859), authoress, daughter of John Acton, brewer, of Hastings, afterwards of Ipswich, Suffolk, was born at Battle, Sussex, 17 April, 1799. She was of delicate health in her youth, and was taken abroad. Whilst in Paris, she became engaged to be married to an officer in the French army; but this marriage did not take place, and she returned to England, where she published, by subscription, a volume of poems, at Ipswich, in 1826. A second edition, again of 500 copies and by subscription, was published in 1827. In 1835 Miss Acton contributed a poem, ‘The Two Portraits,’ anonymously, to the ‘Sudbury Pocket Book.’ In 1836, in the same annual, she published ‘Original Poetry by Miss Acton, author of the “Two Portraits.”’ In 1837 she was living at Bordyke House, Tunbridge; and on the arrival of Queen Adelaide in that town shortly after the death of William IV, Miss Acton presented the queen with some verses commemorating her devoted attendance on her husband during his last illness. In 1838 she published the ‘Chronicles of Castel-Framlingham’ in ‘Fulcher's Sudbury Journal.’ In 1842 she published another poem, ‘The Voice of the North,’ a welcome to Queen Victoria on her first Scotch visit. In 1845, after further fugitive poems, Miss Acton had completed the popular work, ‘Modern Cookery,’ with which she is chiefly associated; a second and a third edition of it were called for the same year; a fourth and fifth in 1846; with numerous editions in successive years. In May 1857 she brought out her last work, ‘The English Bread-Book,’ treating of the various ways of making bread, and of the constituent parts of various bread-stuffs. At this date Eliza Acton was living at Snowdon House, John Street, Hampstead, and there, after much illness, she died in February 1859.

[Clarke's History of Ipswich, p. 445; Gent. Mag. 1859; Suffolk Garland; private correspondence.]

J. H.