Anne Coventry 1673-1763

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Anne COVENTRY or SOMERSET, Countess of Coventry 1673-1763

Biographical Note

Daughter of Henry Somerset, 3rd Marquess of Worcester and later 1st Duke of Beaufort. In 1691 she married Thomas Coventry, 2nd Earl of Coventry, who died in 1711 leaving large debts (which she was eventually able to clear); their last surviving child died, aged 9, in 1712. In 1726 she retired to a house at Snitterfield, Warwickshire; she did not remarry. She was noted for piety, and charity, and was a patron of Mary Astell's School for Girls in Chelsea. Her Meditations and reflections, moral and divine were published in 1707 and reprinted in 1727.


The Countess's writing was supported by an extensive personal library, of which several early 18th century listings survive (transcribed in Perry, below); 'a catalogue of books belonging to ... Ann Countess of Coventre', made in 1702, runs to ca.200 volumes. The contents are heavily weighted to devotional and theological texts, but also include some literature, history and practical household books; they are nearly all in English, with a few French books.

The disposition of her books, after her death, is not known; her will includes directions for bequests of money, jewellery and various special household items, but has no explicit reference to books. Much of her estate passed to her grand-nephew Henry Somerset, 5th Duke of Beaufort.