Woolley, Hannah (DNB00)

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WOOLLEY or WOLLEY, Mrs. HANNAH, afterwards Mrs. Challinor (fl. 1670), writer of works on cookery, was born about 1623. Her maiden name is not known. She tells how her ‘mother and elder sisters were very well skilled in physic and chirurgery,’ and taught her a little in her youth. After teaching in a small school, she served successively two noble families as governess. She became an adept in needlework, medicine (which she practised with success), cookery, and household management. In later life she wrote copiously on all these topics. At the age of twenty-four she married one Woolley, who had been master of the free school at Newport, Essex, from 1644 to 1655. They resided at Newport Pond, near Saffron Walden, for seven years, when they removed to Hackney. Her husband died before 1666, and on 16 April in that year she was licensed to marry Francis Challinor ‘of St. Margaret's, Westminster.’

An engraved portrait by Faithorne appears in some editions of Mrs. Woolley's earlier works, and has been taken to represent the writer; but it seems more likely to have been the portrait of Mrs. Sarah Gilly, who died in 1659 (Granger, Biogr. Hist. iv. 112).

The following works are ascribed to Mrs. Woolley, though Granger thinks her authorship as doubtful as her portrait: 1. ‘The Ladies' Directory in Choice Experiments of Preserving and Candying,’ London, 1661, 1662. 2. ‘The Cook's Guide,’ London, 1664. 3. ‘The Queenlike Closet, or Rich Cabinet, stored with all manner of Rich Receipts,’ London, 1672, 1674 (with supplement), 1675, 1681, 1684. 4. ‘The Ladies' Delight … together with the Exact Cook. … To which is added the Ladies' Physical Closet; or excellent Receipts and rare Waters for Beautifying the Face and Body,’ London, 1672; German translation, Hamburg, 1674, under the title of ‘Frauen-Zimmers Zeit-Vertrieb.’ 5. ‘The Gentlewoman's Companion,’ London, 1675, 1682 (3rd edit.).

[Mrs. Woolley's Works, passim; Chester's Marriage Licences; Bromley's Cat. of Engraved Portraits, p. 112; Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting, iii. 194.]

B. P.