Charlotte Mary Yonge was born on 11 August 1823 at Otterbourne, near Winchester. She was the daughter of William Crawley Yonge JP and Frances Mary Yonge (née Bargus), her brother being Julian Bargus Yonge (born in 1831).
She was educated by her parents who imbued her with their own High Church sympathies which were to be further developed by the biggest influence in her life, John Keble (appointed to the living of Hursley, Otterbourne's neighbouring parish, in 1835). She never married, but devoted herself to writing and promoting her religious principles (coloured by the ideas of the Oxford Movement), principally amongst children. She was an extremely prolific writer, being the author of about 120 books (novels, school manuals and biographies mainly). Her work was extremely popular at the time and the not inconsiderable money from the sales of The Heir of Redclyffe (1853) was devoted to the missionary schooner The Southern Cross, whilst that raised by the early sales of The Daisy Chain (1856) was put towards the building of a missionary collage at Auckland, New Zealand.
In 1854 her father died and four years later her brother married, making it necessary for her to move from her childhood home with her mother to a smaller house in Elderfield nearby. Here she stayed for the rest of her life, rarely travelling far (with the exception of one trip to Paris in 1869, her only foreign visit). She died at Otterbourne on 24 March 1901.
She had many friends, including members of the family of George Moberly (headmaster of Winchester Collage until 1866, then Bishop of Salisbury), and Miss Wordsworth, principal of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. However, she always retained a special affection for her cousins, the Yonges of Puslinch (in Newton Ferrers, Devon): the children of her mother's sister, Alethea Yonge (née Bargus) and the Rev John Yonge. It is to them that most of these letters are written and thanks are due to their descendants for their preservation. Primary sources for the study of Charlotte Mary Yonge are very rare, since her biographer and literary executor, Christabel Coleridge, seems to have destroyed all the material in her possession on the completion of her biography in 1903.
Consequently any such evidence assumes great importance in the insight it can provide of a once famous author's life.
Footnotes - numbers refer to various people named in the letters.
1 Mary Davys - Mary and Julia Davys used to visit the Yonges at Otterbourne. They were daughters of one of CMY's mother's childhood friends, Marianne Mapletoft, who went on to marry Dr Davys, Dean of Chester, Preceptor to QPrincess Victoria, and editor of the Cottager's Monthly Visitor, one of the earliest magazines for the poor. In 1837 Mary Davys had an appointment at the palace on the accession of Queen Victoria.
2 M de Normanville was Charlotte Mary Yonge's French master
3 Brambridge Gardens, 5 miles west of Winchester
4 Mrs Heathcote The Heathcote family of Hursley Park, (5 miles south west of Winchester) owned the patronage of the parish of Otterbourne. See note 28
5 Edmund and Graham ? Worsley
6 Dr Harris was probably the Reverend Dr J H Harris, vicar of Tormohan, father of the Reverend G C Harris, vicar of St Luke's, Torquay, of whom Charlotte Mary Yonge wrote a short memoir, published in 1875
7 Normal Schools In 1839 the Whig government proposed the establishment of these, operating on a non-denominational basis. In 1840 the idea was dropped due to Anglian and Tory pressure.
8 Cordelia Colborne one of the daughters of Lord Seaton, who was Charlotte Mary Yonge's mother's step-brother
9 Mr Agnew possibly one of the sons of Sir Andrew Agnew, the Sabbatarian promoter
10 Mary Coleridge Charlotte Mary Yonge's cousin and one of her closest friends, from 1833. She was daughter of Sir John Coleridge and god-daughter of John Keble. She wrote short stories and tales for children
11 Mr Palmer, Sir Roundell Palmer, 1st Earl of Selbourne, Conservative MP for Plymouth, 1847, but eventually transferred to Liberal Party. Knighted in 1861, attorney-general from 1863-1866, Lord Chancellor, 1868-1874, 1880-1885
12 Poor Mason, probably CM Yonge's childhood nurse
13 The Judge, Sir John Taylor Coleridge, nephew of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, justice of the King's Bench, 1835-1858. Published pamphlets and a life of Keble.
West Hill church (St Michael's) was built in 1846 and became a parish in it's own right (formed from Ottery St Mary) in 1863
14 Sparkford, a parish near Castle Cary, Somerset
15 Edmund Morshead, son of Althea Yonge and John P Anderson Morshead. Althea was CMYonge's cousin, daughter of John and Althea Yonge of Puslinch
16 Duke Yonge, brother of Althea, and inherited Puslinch
17 Althea Mackarness, daughter of Sir John Coleridge, married the Reverend John Mackarness, who became Bishop of Oxford
18 Julian... an Officer, CMY's brother, Julian Yonge, joined the 2nd Battalion, Rifle Brigade in 1851
19 Cranbury, Cranbury Castle or Park, both approx 5 miles SW of Winchester
20 Guy, The Heir of Redyclyffe, CMYonge's most succesful novel, published in 1853. It's spirit was that of the Oxford Movement, and it's hero, Guy, was seen as a role model by William Morris and Dante Rossetti, amongst many others
21 Cordelia, possibly Cordelia Colborne, see note 8
22 Uncle Yonge and John, John Yonge of Puslinch, Rector of Newton Ferrers, and CM Yonge's father's first cousin; and probably John Bargus Yonge, his son
23 Kitley, home of Edmund R P Bastard, in the parish of Yealmpton
24 Jane, Jane Duke Yonge, Anne Yonge's sister, buried at Newton Ferrers, 3 April 1855
25 Mr Keble, the Reverend John Keble, 1792-1866, was presented to the living at Hursley by his friend and pupil, Sir William Heathcote, in 1835. He was author of the Christian Year, and one of the key figures of the Tractarian Movement
26 Southern Cross, a missionary ship built with the proceeds of the Heir of Reclyffe
27 Duke of Portland, the ship which carried John Coleridge Patteson, late Bishop of Melanesia, to New Zealand, on 28 March 1855. He was put to death by the Melanesians in 1871, and CM Yonge was invited to write his biography by his sisters
28 Mrs Heathcote, wife of Sir William Heathcote, of Hursley Park, CM Yonge's neighbour
29 The Bishop, probably Bishop Selwyn of New Zealand, who visited Hursley in the summer of 1854
30 George Harris, see note 6, died in 1874
31 Mr Merton Smith, the Reverend Merton Smith, became Vicar of Plympton St Mary, 1872
32 Aunt Seaton, Elizabeth Yonge, sister of CM Yonge's uncle John Yonge of Puslinch, married John Colborne, 1st Lord Seaton
33 Arthur, one of Julian Yonge's children?
34 Harriet, Harriet Spratt, CM Yonge's maid?
35 Landford House, 10 miles SE of Salisbury
36 Gertrude, was Julian Yonge's wife's youngest sister, Gertrude Walter In September 1873 she moved from Otterbourne House to Elderfield where, as an invalid, she stayed with CM Yonge until her death in 1897
37 Henry, the Reverend Henry Bowles, married Althea, Julian Yonge's 2nd daughter, and was presented to a living at Otterbourne in 1881
38 Miss Finlaison, came to Otterbourne in the early 1870s and became a friend of CM Yonge. She was sub-editor of the Monthly Packet (see note 43) for some years
39 George, son of Julian Yonge, was killed at the Linpopo River around 1899
40 Mr Bastard, probably Baldwin J P Bastard of Kitley
41 Charles, the Reverend Charles Burell Yonge of Newton Ferrers Rectory?
42 Henry... Althea, see note 37
43 Monthly Packet, a magazine founded by CM Yonge, in 1851, as an Anglican paper for young people, (mainly to promote the principles of the Oxford Movement). She edited it until 1890 when Christabel Coleridge (see below) took over, but by that time it had become an anachronism and only struggled on until 1899
44 Christabel, Christabel Coleridge, friend and biographer (Charlotte Mary Yonge: Her Life and Letters, Macmillan, 1903)
45 Annie Cazenove, a friend of CM Yonge, for letters from the latter to the former, see Coleridge, pp 322-333
46 Scholarship, in 1899 CM Yonge was presented with £1800 (amassed by a national collection) to found a scholarship to be awarded every alternate year to a girl from Winchester High School going up to Oxford or Cambridge. The endowment was presented on the 19 July by the Bishop of Winchester, Randall Davidson
47 Jane Moore, Jane Colbourne, daughter of Lord Seaton, cousin of CM Yonge, married to Captain Montgomery Moore
48 George, George Yonge, see note 39. The letter is annotated " he is come home for a time - he is joined the Mounted Police"
49 Althea...Henry, see note 37
50 GFS, Girls' Friendly Society
51 Mary Coleridge, see note 10
52 Mr Wither, the Reverend W H W Bigg-Wither, curate in charge of Otterbourne for 30 years. He was a friend of CM Yonge and after he left Otterbourne in 1871 she wrote to him every Sunday until his death in 1899
53 Arthur in America, son of Julian Yonge
54 Edward, Edward Bowles?
55 Anne Yonge, Duke Yonge's sister, CM Yonge's favourite cousin, she died in 1869 and was buried at Newton Ferrers church
56 The Three Brides, published in 1876
57 Beginnings, published 1876-9 as Eighteen Centuries of Beginnings of Church History
58 My Young Alcides, published in 1875 as My Young Alcides: A Faded Photograph
59 Problems..., The illness of John Yonge of Puslinch, her uncle? He died in 1877, aged 88, see note 22
60 Gertrude, Gertrude Walter, see note 36
61 Margaret Moberley, CM Yonge's god-daughter, daughter of George Moberley, Bishop of Salisbury
62 Aunt Charlotte's Greek History, published in 1876
63 Things... at Puslinch, see note 59
64 Katharine, daughter of Duke and Charlotte Cordelia Yonge
65-67 Helen... Arthur... Althea..., nephew and nieces of CM Yonge, children of Julian and Althea Yonge
68 Bishop Coleridge Patteson, see note 27
69 Frances Mary Yonge, CM Yonge's mother
70 Althea Henrietta Yonge, nee Bargus, wife of John Yonge of Puslinch, mother of Anne and sister of F M Yonge
71 Anne Yonge, see note 55
72 Spring Hill, 3 miles NW of Gloucester?
73 James Yonge, CM Yonge's uncle, he was one of the sons of the Reverend Duke Yonge of Cornwood and practised medicine in Plymouth-