Ponsonby, Sarah, 1754 or 1755-1831

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Sarah Ponsonby was the orphaned daughter of Chambre Brabazon Ponsonby. She lived an unhappy life with relatives in Woodstock, Ireland. She met Lady Eleanor Butler in 1768. Since both women shared a mutual love of the arts, and were both unhappy with their lives, they decided to live a quiet rural life. They left Ireland and they set up home in "Plas Newydd", in Llangollen, North East Wales, in 1780. Because they led an unusual and secluded life, Ponsonby and Buttler became known as the LADIES OF LLANGOLLEN. Their relationship scandalized and fascinated their contemporaries, and they became famous all over Great Britain, and eventually, their life attracted the interest of the outside world. Their new Gothic residence became a magnet for writers, intellectuals, and artists such as the poets Robert Southey, Wordsworth and Shelley, Lord Byron and Sir Walter Scott but also the Duke of Wellington, Caroline Lamb and Josiah Wedgwood. Ponsonby and Butler lived together for the rest of their lives, over 50 years.

From the description of Sarah Ponsonby collection, 1801-1822. (Peking University Library). WorldCat record id: 156043637

Sarah Ponsonby and Eleanor Butler were a famous lesbian couple living in Wales.

From the description of Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby autograph letter, 1826. (Cornell University Library). WorldCat record id: 64757610

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Ponsonby, Sarah, 1754 or 5-1831. Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby autograph letter, 1826. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Bessborough papers, 1774-1827. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Ponsonby, Sarah, 1754 or 5-1831. Sarah Ponsonby collection, 1801-1822. Princeton University Library
referencedIn Biography Collection MS 393., 1771-1995, 1920-1970 Sophia Smith Collection
creatorOf Butler, Eleanor, Lady, 1738 or 9-1829. Ladies of Llangollen manuscript material : 5 items, ca. 1790-1825. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby autograph letter, 1826. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
referencedIn Bessborough papers, 1774-1827. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Bessborough papers, 1774-1827 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Butler, Eleanor, 1745?-1829. Letter. Smithsonian Institution. Libraries
referencedIn Ladies of Llangollen [microform] : letters and journals of Lady Eleanor Butler (1739-1829) and Sarah Ponsonby (1755-1831) from the National Library of Wales. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Sophia Smith Collection. Biography collection, 1771-1995 (bulk 1920s-70s). Smith College, Neilson Library
creatorOf Butler, Eleanor, Lady, 1738 or 9-1829. Letters : to Lady Frances Douglas, 1788 and undated. Harvard University, Houghton Library
referencedIn Halsband, Robert, 1914-. Robert Halsband papers, 1708-1976. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Gosling, Mary. Diary, 1814 June-1824 Aug. Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
creatorOf Butler, Eleanor, Lady, 1738 or 9-1829. [Letters to Mr. Cribb] / Lady Eleanor Butler and Miss Ponsonby. Smith College, Neilson Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Butler, Eleanor, 1745?-1829. person
associatedWith Butler, Eleanor, Lady, 1738 or 9-1829. person
associatedWith Gosling, Mary. person
associatedWith Halsband, Robert, 1914- person
correspondedWith Lloyd-Williams, Richard, person
associatedWith Sarah Ponsonby 1754 or 5-1831. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Menai Bridge (Wales)
Llangollen, Vale of (Wales)
Llangollen, Vale of (Wales)
Subject
Ladies of Llangollen
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1755

Death 1831

Information

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