The Women of England


There was much debate in the early 19th century about women’s education, and to what extent it should be based around domestic rather than academic skills. Sarah Stickney Ellis (1799–1872) wrote several books on the subject, arguing that women have a religious duty to bring up the next generation properly, instilling moral values in young people for the benefit of society at large. 

The pages shown here are the opening of The Women of England, published in 1839. Ellis’s other works include The Wives of England, The Daughters of England and The Mothers of England.

Showing a social conservatism characteristic of many writers of the time, Stickney Ellis writes that England’s three-class system is a ‘perfect balance’ in this ‘favoured country’. She celebrates the uniqueness of England’s domestic culture (‘home comforts and fireside virtues’) but has a dim view of young people: ‘the women of England are deteriorating in their moral character’, she laments.

Full title:
The women of England Their social duties, and domestic habits
estimated 1839, London
Sarah Stickney Ellis
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Public Domain
Held by
British Library

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