1812 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Jane Brereton

Alexander Chalmers, in General Biographical Dictionary (1812-17) 6:488.



JANE BRERETON, an English poetess, was the daughter of Mr. Thomas Hughes, of Bryn-Griffith near Mould in Flintshire, by Anne Jones, his wife, and was born in 1685. Being observed to be endowed by nature with a great capacity, her talents were assiduously cultivated by her father, who was himself a man of excellent parts. Mr. Hughes, however, dying when she was only sixteen, she soon lost these advantages; but early discovered a turn for poetry, which her acquaintance encouraged. In Jan. 1711 she married Mr. Thomas Brereton, at that time a commoner of Brazen-nose college, Oxford, only son of major Brereton, son and heir of William Brereton, esq. of Cheshire. Her husband soon spent his fortune, and went over to Paris; and some time after this, a separation having taken place, she retired, 1721, to her native country, Wales, where she led a solitary life, seeing little company, except some intimate friends. About this time Mr. Brereton obtained from lord Sunderland a post belonging to the customs at Park-gate near Chester; but in Feb. 1722, was unfortunately drowned in crossing the water of Saltney, when the tide was coming in. Mrs. Brereton then retired to Wrexham in Denbighshire, for the benefit of her children's education, where she died Aug. 7, 1740, aged fifty-five, leaving two daughters, Lucy and Charlotte, the latter probably the author of The Rattle, a song, in Fawkes and Woty's Poetical Calendar, vol. XI. p. 14.

Mrs. Brereton was amiable in every relation of life; and possessed talents for versification, if not for poetry, which she displayed some years as a correspondent to the Gentleman's Magazine, under the signature of Melissa, where she had a competitor who signed himself FIDO, and who is supposed to have been Thomas Beach (See his article, vol. IV). After her death a volume was published of Poems on several occasions; with letters to her friends; and an account of her life, London, 1744, 8vo.