Elizabeth Cookson

Daughter of John Cookson and Mary Jewsbury; born 11 Jan 1810 in Liverpool, she made her reputation with two small books of poetry in 1859/1860 - later gathered with other poems and published as a collected volume in 1868. Other members of the Cookson family had extended links with the Island

Her father was a collector of Customs and Excise (for more than 50 years) and was buried in Onchan on 27 Nov 1844 aged 80. In 1834 John Cookson writes of selling up and, by implication moving to the Island though still keeping his Customs post during the summer. He asks in a later letter for newspapers to be sent to Strathallan Crescent, however he is not found in the 1841 IoM census (subsequently found in Measham Debyshire), and in an 1837 letter his daughter Mary Ann Lloyd writes of her father coming to visit them in Ballasalla so it would appear that he was not at that time resident on the Island though in 1837 a John Cookson is noted at Castle Mona Lawn.

Elizabeth's parents were known in Island literary circles as friends of the Wordsworth's - Dorothy and William Wordsworth's parents were John Wordsworth and Ann Cookson (from Penrith) , their parents died whilst Dorothy was young and she lived for some time with her Maternal grandparents the Rev William Cookson and wife. However the exact family relationship, if any, between John Cookson and the Wordsworth's is not clear.

The Wordworth's family friends, Thomas Cookson (1771-1833) and Elizabeth Cookson (1774-1868) (note not the poetess Elizabeth discussed on this page), came from Staveley/Kendal . "The friendship was based on a schoolgirl relationship between the poet's sister-in-law, Sara Hutchinson, and Elizabeth Cookson. When the Wordsworths went to Grasmere they came to depend upon Thomas and Elizabeth in a neighbourly kind of way - it was a friendship that had a late flowering since, after Thomas became bankrupt when his woollen business in Kendal collapsed around 1829 and they moved to the Island where he died in 1833, his widow Elizabeth and several of her daughters returned to Ambleside and around 1843 moved into the poet's old home at Dove Cottage itself." (quoted from a private family letter). Thomas Cookson is buried at Ballure:

Sacred to the memory of Thomas Cookson of Kendal and Staveley in the county of Westmoreland, who died on the 20 October 1833, aged 63 years. Elizabeth his wife, who survived him thirty five years, died Nov 5, 1868, at Howfoot, in her ninety fourth year, and was buried at Grasmere Church.

Henry Crabb Robinson left a brief account of a visit in 1833 when he accompanied Wordsworth on a visit - "At Bala-sala we called on Mr. and Mrs. Cookson, esteemed friends of the Wordsworths (vide Yarrow Revisited," p. 205). I had seen Mrs. Cookson at Kendal formerly: there is something very prepossessing in her person and manners" A surmise is that Thomas died enroute to/from Whitehaven for which Ramsey would be the most convenient port. It is known from a letter from John Cookson that Mary Ann Lloyd (nee Cookson) had also rented a cottage in Ballasalla by July 1833 - John Cookson knew Thomas Cookson but refers to him in a letter to his brother-in-law as old Mr Cookson of Kendal which would seem to imply no close family connection - again it is strange that both Cookson families should have chosen to live in Ballasalla. It is also possible that some of Thomas Cookson's children also resided briefly on the Island.

Thomas was the eldest son of James Cookson (a dyer of Stramongate, Kendal) and also associated with the non-comformist chapel at Kendal - Thomas's and Elizabeth's children include:

William Strictland Cookson (1801-1877): Wordsworth's lawyer and executor; became President of the Law Society and died a very wealthy man.  
Henry Wilkinson Cookson (1810-1876), even more famous; Master of Peterhouse, Cambridge.
James: b. 18 Feb 1803 emigrated to America; d. abt 1885 no known children/married
John: b. 7 Sep 1804, also m., but no children, d. Great Barrington, America 3 Jan 1857
Tom: b. 31 May 1806; m. Esther Thompson; believed to die in railway accident

Later reports about Mary Ann Lloyd imply that the Peterhouse Henry Cookson was her cousin; Mary Ann also had another link with the Wordsworths in that her cousin Mary Jane Jewsbury made an extended stay with the Wordsworth family in 1825 and whilst there edited a family 'newspaper' - the Kent Bank Mercury.


Family Tree

The following is based on information posted by a relative and derives from a family bible and private letters held by the family, additional information from registers, census etc (many of the family are found in the 1841 census living in High Street, Mearsham).

             1802 (Measham, Derbyshire)
  John Cookson = Mary Jewsbury
 b 19 Aug 1762 |  d. 10 Sept 1820 age 45 (buried St Mary's Priory Church Graveyard, Lancaster).
+-- Mary Ann  b.10 Jul 1803  = Edward Lloyd, excise officer, (m. 17 Aug 1828 St Mary's Priory Church, Lancaster); 
|                            |
|                            +--John b. 1829; a John Cookson Lloyd is noted at KWC born 3 June 1829; 
|                            |  entered Nov 1838, left Midsummer 1840, re-entered Aug 1844; left May 1847, died 2 April 1848 Illinois ?
|                            |
|                            +--Elizabeth b.1832
|                            |
|                            +--Edward b. 1833
|        widowed by 1833 (in a letter dated 1837 states living on £20/year settled on her before her marriage [Manx Museum MD84] 
|        Letter from her father dated 14th July 1833 states that Mary Ann has got a 'very nice Cottage' at Ballaslla.
|        Found in 1841 census as Mary Ann Loyde living with 3 children in Castletown)
|        and by 1851 running Mirtiers Young Ladies School, St Mary's Square (Parade), Castletown
|        with daughter Elizabeth age 20 + sister Helen
|        (School was noted in 1843,1846 & 1852 directories; in 1857 had moved to Douglas 
|        [interestingly a Mary Ann Ray was noted as running a school in 1837 but in College Lane, 
|            Hinton Bird states that this is precursor  to Lloyd's]
+-- Ann/Jane b. Dec 30 1804, Measham, Derbyshire; d. Nov 17, 1861. St. Swift's Dublin 
+-- Thomas Jewsbury b. 1806, Carmathen, Wales; d. 16 Sept 1848, America; in 1841 addressed as Surgeon, Regent Road, Salford 
+-- Charles b. 14 March 1808, Yarmouth, England; d.19 Nov 1879,Chicago, IL;
|            m. Mary LEWIS (b. 18 July 1818, Manchester; d. 24 Dec 1882, Kansas City
+-- Elizabeth b. 11 Jan 1810, Liverpool 
|            living with sister Helen in Douglas 1861 census but missing from 1841, 1851 and 1881;
|            Spent time in France in late 1850's. 
|            in 1857 directory a Miss Elizabeth Cookson shown at 13 Windsor Place, Douglas
|            possibly buried West Derby Cemetery Liverpool (plot 8b 222) age 65 [1875]
+-- Harriet b. 27 May 1811, Liverpool; m. __ KEMP (in 1880 census as Widow, Chicago) 
+-- George b. 1812, Mt. Vernon, Liverpool; d. 23 Mar 1867 at Sydney Mount, Douglas bur 28 Mar 1867 Braddan New
|    was physician in Douglas for many years; founder member of Manx Soc;  graduate of Edinburgh Univ, 
|     In 1848 George Cookson is noted as a physician at Mona Cottage.
|     In 1851 census noted as unmarried living at Bath House (private Hotel) Douglas
|          m. Catherine Josephine Harrison b. 1822, m.24 Oct 1854 Braddan, bur. Braddan New 23 Jun 1897
|            |
|            +-- George Ridgeway b. 1854 d. 1915  
|            |    entered Manx Bar 1877, later chief clerk Rolls Office, 
|            |         Obituary in Manx Quarterly #15 1915; bur Braddan New 4 Jan 1915
|            |
|            +-- Edward H b. May 1857 bur age 2mo. 15 Jul 1857
|            |
|            +-- Catherine Mona ch. 2 Aug 1859
|            |
|            +-- Herbert Harrison b. 5 May 1860 (ch. 30 Jul 1860 - Robert in IGI) - attended KWC Jan 1876/Oct 1877 
|            |       Son of G. Cookson M.D. Edinburgh - In business Hyde St San Franscisco
|            |
|            +-- Wilfred ch. 12 Aug 1861 Douglas S.G. and 5 Sept 1861 Braddan
|            |
|            +-- Josephine Rose ch. 16 Sept 1862
|            |
|            +-- Cecil Henry ch. 12 Nov 1865 1866
+-- Helen b. 20, Nov 1813, Allesley, nr. Coventry, Warwickshire - 
|      in 1851 living in Castletown with sister Mary Ann
|      shared a house with Elizabeth for some years c.1860's
|      in 1881 found as Governess to family of Lt Col Henry Wilkinson at 9 Eaton Terrace London!
+-- Charlotte b.27, March 1815, Allesley, nr. Coventry, Warwickshire; d. week of 10 Sept 1820 (buried 26 Sept 1820)
|     (according to letter buried same day as mother but it appears about 2 weeks apart)
+-- John  b. 25 April 1818, Allesley, nr. Coventry, Warwickshire; 
|        m. Emily Vandeburgh, Douglas St George, 15 Aug 1850; d. 8 Sept 1851, at sea
|              (Widow m.Frank Hartly Jewsbury (Dewsbury in reg), Braddan, 4 Jun 1853)
+-- Henry  b. 2 May 1820, Lancaster; d. 15 Feb 1882 ?Chicago; 
     briefly attended King William's College from August 1833 to Sept 1834

There is also in IGI marriage of Geo Cookson to Mary Ann Callow 3 Oct 1864 
+ ch. dau Ada Mona 18 Aug 1867 (bur. age 5 1872)  both at Braddan
  (this is probably the 13 year George Cookson in Douglas in 1841 census
+ burials Braddan New -  Robert age 47 13 Aug 1886



Mylecharane M. A. Quiggin, Douglas. 1858. 2nd ed with many changes published as Legends I in 1859

Legends of Manx Land I. M. A. Quiggin, Douglas. 1859. - some confusion in Cubbon re this and Legends II as Quiggin's publication of 2nd Ed of Mylecharane shared same title as that printed by Harriet Curphey

Legends of Manx Land. Second Series. H. Curphey, Manx Sun Office. Douglas nd [? 1860]

Leters from Manx Land Douglas Middle School Magazine vol i. 1860

Poems from Manxland, with Legends and Translations from the Manx and German. London : Elliot Stock 1868 - contains the earlier poems.


 Manx Note Book Index


Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
© F.Coakley , 2004