Miles, Sibella Elizabeth (DNB00)

MILES, SIBELLA ELIZABETH (1800–1882), poetess, born at Falmouth 28 Sept. 1800, was daughter of John Westby Hatfield, auctioneer in West Cornwall, who died at York 13 Jan. 1839, aged 72, by his wife Sibella, who died on 1 June 1832, aged 68. For some years previous to 1833 she kept a girls' boarding-school at Penzance, and occupied her leisure hours with the composition of poetry. On 13 Aug. 1833 she married, at Madron, Cornwall, Alfred Miles, a commander in the royal navy, who was afterwards an assistant in the hydrographic department of the admiralty, and edited two editions (1841 and 1852) of Horsburgh's ‘Indian Directory.’ He died at Lympston, Devonshire, 28 Nov. 1851, leaving one son, Frederick Arundel Miles, who died 3 June 1862, aged 26, and one daughter, Helen Jane Arundel Miles, a book illustrator. Mrs. Miles died at 54 South Lambeth Road on 29 March 1882.

She wrote: 1. ‘The Wanderer of Scandinavia, or Sweden delivered,’ in five cantos, 1826, 2 vols. 2. ‘Moments of Loneliness, or Prose and Poetic Efforts,’ 1829. 3. ‘Fruits of Solitude,’ 1831. This was dedicated to Sir R. T. Wilson, and a letter from him to her is printed in his ‘Essay on Canning's Administration.’ 4. ‘Essay on the Factory Question’ (anon.), 1844. 5. ‘Leisure Evenings, or Records of the Past,’ 1860. 6. ‘The Grotto of Neptune,’ 1864. Many of her contributions appeared in the ‘Forget-me-Not’ for 1825 and subsequent years, the ‘Selector or Cornish Magazine,’ 1826–8, the ‘Oriental Herald’ for 1827 and later volumes, and the ‘Nautical Magazine’ for 1833 onwards. Some poems in ‘Original Cornish Ballads,’ 1846 (pt. ii.), with the introductory essay, were by her, and she wrote the introduction to ‘Te Deum, with illustrations by Helen J. A. Miles’ (1877). Her lines on ‘St. Michael's Mount, Cornwall,’ are quoted in works on West Cornwall.

[Boase and Courtney's Bibl. Cornubiensis; O'Byrne's Naval Biog. Dict.; Ellen C. Clayton's English Female Artists, 1876, ii. 110–11.]

W. P. C.