Mary Berry (1763 - 1852)

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About Mary Berry

Mary Berry (1763 – 21 November 1852) was an English author, born at Kirkbridge, North Yorkshire.

For an unusually lengthened period of years she formed a centre round which beauty, rank, wealth, power, fashion, learning, and science were gathered; merit and distinction of every degree were blended by her hospitality in social ease and familiar intercourse, encouraged by her kindness, and enlivened by her presence. She was not only the friend of literature and of literary people, but she assiduously cultivated the acquaintance of intellectual excellence in whatever form it might appear, and to the close of her existence she maintained her interest in all the important affairs in life, whether social, literary, or political.

—Lady Theresa Lewis


She and her sister Agnes (younger by 14 months) had a remarkable association with Horace Walpole. In his letters Walpole spoke of both in terms of the strongest affection and endearment, in one instance addressing them as his "twin wives." It was solely for their amusement that he wrote his Reminiscences of the Courts of George I and II (1789). He established the sisters at Teddington, in 1789, and two years later he induced them to make their home at Little Strawberry Hill, the sometime residence of his friend, Kitty Clive. Walpole's will provided for them by a bequest to each of £4000, and to both, the house and property at Little Strawberry Hill.


Mary Berry's literary productions include the comedy, Fashionable Friends; England and France, a Comparative View of the Social Conditions in both Countries (1844), and an edition of the Works of Horace Walpole (1798), which she collected and edited.

Her journals were edited and published by Lady Theresa Lewis in 1865 as Extracts of the Journals and Correspondence of Miss Berry from the year 1783 to 1852.

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Mary Berry's Timeline

Age 89