Jane Wiseman – The Lost Lady

Biography of eighteenth century English female playwright Jane Wiseman by Hedda House.

Hi Friends,
Hope you’re well πŸ™‚ Today marks a return to English-speaking writers after the last couple of months dealing with the oddities, and then trying to make sense, of google translate. I promise I won’t stay here in lazy-town but it’s been nice to work on something a little easier this month. So let’s meet our female playwright of the month:

Jane Wiseman.

πŸ’œ So little is known about Jane Wiseman that it’s a factlet in itself.

πŸ’š Wrote one play ‘Antiochus the Great’ (also known as ‘The Fatal Relapse’). It was produced at the New Theatre, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, in 1701.

πŸ’œ It was published on 25th November 1701.

πŸ’š She was also an actress and poet.

πŸ’œ Thought to be the writer of a book of verse Fairy Tales published in 1717 under her married name of Mrs Holt.

πŸ’š Notable for coming from a modest, lower class background, instead of having the privilege of a noble woman’s education.


HER FULL STATS: Born 1673 (baptised in March) possibly in Holborn.
Died sometime after 1717.


Biography of eighteenth century, English, female playwright and writer of 'Antiochus the Great' Jane Wiseman by Hedda House.
Biography of eighteenth century, English, female playwright and writer of ‘Antiochus the Great’ Jane Wiseman by Hedda House.

2 thoughts on “Jane Wiseman – The Lost Lady

  1. According to her diary (to which I have access) Jane Wiseman Holt was actually born in 1676 in Oxfordshire, and was the bastard daughter of Sir Robert Wiseman. According to his maidservant Elizabeth Billingtons Will, Janes mother was a woman β€˜with whom he lived’ when in Oxfordshire. She was fostered by Martin Wright, Alderman of the city of Oxford who was a friend and colleague of (Dean of the Arches) Robert Wiseman. She self-educated herself and moved to London as secretary to Martin Wright 111 when he was called to the Bar. In 1701 She married into the Holt brewing family – her husband was an alcoholic – and had 5 children, three of whom survived. After a long & successful life as a writer, poet, and teacher to the Royal children, she died on Dec 25th 1752 – Princess Augusta was the executor of her Will
    There is a wealth of information about her and her family which will be revealed in due course.

    1. Hi L Hodgkins,
      I was very interested in reading what you have to say about Jane Wiseman Holt (my 6th times grandmother). Not only myself but a couple of other descendant’s of Janes have been researching her life. We have copies of letters and poems written by her as well as letters from her son Thomas and grandaughter Jane(Jenny) and grandaughter Augusta (whose Godmother was Princess Augusta).
      We were under the impression her father was a clergyman named Thomas Wiseman not Robert Wiseman. Would it be possible to email us with information and or a copy of the diary anything to validate your information would be much appreciated. I have looked up Elizabeth Billington’s will and think she mentions an Edith….(would this be Jane Wiseman’s mother?) I am presuming that you must be related to her as well, would love to hear how. Thanking you in advance.
      Anne-Marie Plumb

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