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CHUDLEIGH, MARY, Lady (1656–1710), poetical writer, daughter of Richard Lee of Winslade, Devonshire, was born in 1656. About 1665 she was married to Sir George Chudleigh of Ashton, in the neighbourhood; but the marriage was far from happy, and Lady Chudleigh found little pleasure, except in retirement and reading. Her first publication was a poem in 1701, 'The Ladies' Defence,' in answer to a sermon on 'Conjugal Duty' preached by Mr. Sprint. This was anonymous, but Lady Chudleigh put her initials to the epistle dedicatory. It made a stir, and was followed in 1703 by 'Poems on several Occasions,' dedicated to Queen Anne. Lintott desired to republish 'The Ladies' Defence;' Lady Chudleigh refused her consent, and he issued it unknown to her. Her next work was 'Essays upon several Subjects,' 1710, dedicated to the Electress Sophia, for which that venerable princess sent her an autograph letter of thanks in June. Lady Chudleigh died at Ashton the same year, and was buried without monument or inscription. Posthumous editions of 'Poems' were issued in 1713 and 1722, and selections from this work, with 'The Ladies' Defence,' were reprinted in 'Poems of Eminent Ladies,' 1755. Lady Chudleigh left also some unpublished works. She had three children — a daughter, whose death caused her great affliction, and two sons. 'Corinna' and she corresponded, her own poetical name being 'Marissa.'

[Ballard's Memoirs of Ladies, 409 et seq.; Preface to 'Three Children' in Poems; Letters to Corinna, Duke of Wharton's Poetical Works, ii. 109 et seq. These letters are also in Gwinnett's Honourable Lovers, 247 et seq.]

J. H.