Florence Marryat

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Florence Lean (Marryat)

Also Known As: "Florence (Marryat) Church Lean"
Birthplace: Brighton, Sussex, England, United Kingdom
Death: Died in London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
Cause of death: Diabetes and pneumonia
Place of Burial: London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Capt. Frederick Marryat and Catherine Marryat
Ex-wife of Maj-Gen. Thomas Ross Church and Lieut-Col. Frances Lean
Mother of Eva Florence Stevens; Ethel Maude Barry; Frederick Francis Marryat Church; Florence Charlotte Henriette Church; Violet Theadora Dobie and 3 others
Sister of Frederick Marryat; William Marryat; Norman Marryat; Samuel Francis "Frank" Marryat; Catherine Marryat and 5 others

Occupation: Novelist, playwright, actress, singer, spiritualist, Author, Actor.
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Florence Marryat

Florence Marryat (1833-99) was a novelist, editor, playwright, spiritualist, singer and actress. She wrote around seventy novels during her extraordinary career, adapting some of them for the stage. She also acted with the D’Oyly Carte company in Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, and toured with George Grossmith in his revue Entre Nous.

Marryat is best remembered in some circles for her ardent belief in Spiritualism, an interest that was reflected in her writing, most famously in There is No Death.


  • Parents: Frederick Marryat, Catherine Shairp
  • Married: Thomas Ross Church, Francis Lean
  • Children: Eva, Ethel, Francis, Violet, Sybil, George, Daisy & Florence Church

Biographical notes

Florence Marryat (1882, 1883) [Born Brighton, Sussex 9 Jul 1837 (sic: see note below); died St. John's Wood, London 27 Oct 1899]

Florence Marryat was the daughter of the famous author Captain Frederick Marryat. At the age of eleven, this singular anomaly wrote and illustrated her first novel, and for much of her life devoted herself to literature, writing some 70 volumes, mostly sensation novels and works dealing with spiritualism. She also wrote a biography of her father ("Life and Letters of Captain Marryat") in 1872, and a few works for the stage. She was married at 16 and raised eight children. Her first published novel "Love's Conflict," 1865, was reportedly written to distract her mind while nursing her children through scarlet fever. Many of her novels were translated into French, German, Russian, Flemish, and Swedish. She was a frequent contributor to newspapers and magazines. From 1872 to 1876 she served as editor to the monthly magazine London Society, and later managed a school of journalism.

In 1876 Miss Marryat collaborated with George Grossmith on a program called Entre Nous. It was a series of piano sketches, alternating with scenes and costumed recitations, and topped off with a two-person 25-minute "satirical musical sketch" by Grossmith called Cups and Saucers. Entre Nous toured until spring or summer of 1877.

Miss Marryat was coauthor (with Sir C. L. Young) of Miss Chester, a drama in three acts first produced in Holburn in 1872, and in February 1881 she took the lead at the Adelphi, London, in her own drama Her World Against a Lie.

In August 1882 Florence Marryat joined Mr. D'Oyly Carte's No. 2 "Patience" Company, touring as Lady Jane until December 23. She had another brief stint as Jane in March 1883 with Carte's No. 1 "Patience" Company.

In January 1884 she appeared as Queen Altemire in a revival of Gilbert's fairy comedy The Palace of Truth at the Prince's Theatre, London.

Her last appearance on the London Stage was as Casandra Doolittle in a single matinee performance of an operetta called The Dear Departed (Comedy, May 29, 1890). Her last work for the stage was The Gamekeeper, a drama written in collaboration with Herbert Macpherson and performed at the Aquarium, Brighton, in May 1898.

ref: David Stone, "D'Oyly Carte Opera Company" (1875-1982) Boise State University website

Birth date notes

From Catherine Pope:

"The christening record, divorce files and death certificate are all incontrovertible evidence to prove that Florence Marryat made her first appearance in 1833. An account of her funeral published in The Era also mentions that the birthdate on her coffin was 9th January 1833. Perhaps Florence lost count of her age with advancing years? Then again, there’s a strong possibility that she was simply being mischievous."

"Unfortunately, many scholars continue to refer to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and thus the incorrect birthdate is perpetuated. The ODNB has now confirmed that they will amend Marryat’s birthdate in the next edition."


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Florence Marryat's Timeline

August 21, 1833
Brighton, Sussex, England, United Kingdom
August 21, 1833
Brighton, Sussex, England, United Kingdom
June 13, 1854
Age 20
Penang, Straits Settlement, Malaya
Age 21
Age 23
Madras, India
Age 25
Age 26
Age 28
Age 29
Age 34
Brighton, Sussex