Mary Leapor

(26 February 1722 - 14 November 1746)

Works in ECPA

alphabetical listing / listing in source editions

Source editions

  • Leapor, Mrs. (Mary), 1722-1746. Poems upon several occasions: By Mrs. Leapor of Brackley in Northamptonshire. London: printed: and sold by J. Roberts, 1748. 15,[5],282p. ; 8⁰. (ESTC T127827; Foxon p. 413; OTA K101776.000)

Biographical note

Mary Leapor, the only child of Philip Leapor (1693–1771), a gardener, and his wife, Anne Sharman (d. 1741), was born on 26 February 1722 at Marston St Lawrence, Northamptonshire. She probably attended the free school in the nearby town of Brackley, which would have been her only formal education. Mary began writing verse as a child, but was discouraged by her parents. Leapor went into service as a kitchen maid at Weston Hall, a few miles from Brackley, where her employer, Susanna Jennens (the "Parthenissa" of Leapor's poetry), may have encouraged her reading and writing. She later took up a position at nearby Edgcote House, which she described under the name Crumble Hall in her poem of that title. In 1745 Leapor was dismissed from this position and returned to Brackley to look after her widowed father. Here she met Bridget Freemantle (1698–1779), a local clergyman's daughter, who encouraged her writing and who suggested a subscription edition of Leapor's verse. Leapor died very suddenly from measles at the age of twenty-four and thus did not live to see her poems in print. Freemantle approached Isaac Hawkins Browne to edit the volume and in April 1748 Leapor's Poems upon Several Occasions appeared. A second volume of her verse was printed by Samuel Richardson in 1751.


ODNB 16246; DMI 1824


  • Greene, Richard and Ann Messenger, eds. The Works of Mary Leapor. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2003. Print.



  • Greene, Richard. Mary Leapor: A Study in Eighteenth Century Women's Poetry. Oxford; New York: Oxford UP, 1993. Print.

Reference works

  • Baines, Paul, Julian Ferraro, Pat Rogers, eds. The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Eighteenth-Century Writers and Writing, 1660-1789. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011. 214-215. Print.
  • Batt, Jennifer. "Mary Leapor". Great Writers Inspire. University of Oxford. Web. 16 Jul. 2016.
  • Radcliffe, David H., ed. Mary Leapor (1722-1746). Spenser and the Tradition: ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830. Center for Applied Technologies in the Humanities, Virginia Tech, 2006. Web. 14 Oct. 2011.
  • Todd, Janet, ed. A Dictionary of British and American Women Writers 1660-1800. Paperback edition, revised. Lanham et al.: Rowman & Littlefield, 1987. 192-193. Print.


  • Chaden, Caryn. 'Mentored from the Page': Mary Leapor's Relationship with Alexander Pope. Mell, Donald C., ed. Pope, Swift, and Women Writers. Newark, NJ: University of Delaware Press, 1996. 31-47. Print.
  • Dalporto, Jeannie. Landscape, Labor, and the Ideology of Improvement in Mary Leapor's "Crumble Hall". The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation 42 (2001): 228-44. Print.
  • Greene, Richard. Mary Leapor: The Problem of Personal Identity. The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation 42 (2001): 218-27. Print.
  • Griffin, Dustin. Literary Patronage in England, 1650-1800. Cambridge: CUP, 1996. 189-203. Print.
  • Janssen, Anke. Frühe Lyrikerinnen des 18. Jahrhunderts in ihrem Verhältnis zur Poetik und zur 'Poetic Diction'. Anglia: Zeitschrift für Englische Philologie 99(1-2) (1981): 111-113. Print.
  • King, Kathryn R. Jane Barker, Mary Leapor and a Chain of Very Odd Contingencies. English Language Notes 33 (1996): 14-27. Print.
  • Lilley, Kate. Homosocial Women, Martha Sansom, Constantia Grierson, Mary Leapor and Georgic Verse Epistle. Armstrong, Isobel and Virginia Blain, eds., Women's Poetry in the Enlightenment, The Making of a Canon, 1730-1820. London, England; New York, NY: Macmillan/St. Martin's, with Centre for English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, 1999. 167-83. Print.
  • Mandell, Laura. Demystifying (with) the Repugnant Female Body: Mary Leapor and Feminist Literary History. Criticism 38 (1996): 551-82. Print.
  • Rizzo, Betty. Molly Leapor: An Anxiety for Influence. The Age of Johnson 4 (1991): 313-43. Print.
  • Rumbold, Valerie. The Alienated Insider: Mary Leapor in "Crumble Hall". British Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies 19 (1996): 63-76. Print.