Wolverhampton BTW

Susanna Maria Carlyle

Carlyle, Susanna Maria, 1752—1833

by Benjamin Colbert

Susanna Maria Carlyle was born on 29 September 1752 at Kendal, Cumbria, daughter of George Carlyle (1715-84), physician, and his wife Dorothy Dacre, née Appleby (1717-1805). From at least 1804, Susanna Maria Carlyle resided at Carlisle.

Her brother Joseph Dacre Carlyle (1759-1805; ODNB), Professor of Arabic at Cambridge University, left a collection of manuscript poems and a diary concerning his travels in Constantinople and Asia Minor (1799-1801), which, after his death in 1804, Susanna Maria Carlyle edited for publication, extracting passages from the journals to preface the travel poems. Poems, Suggested Chiefly by Scenes in Asia-Minor, Syria, and Greece appeared in 1805.

Between 1810 and 1816, suggestions that her brother had purloined papers at Constantinople, belonging to the classical and archaeological scholar John Tweddell (1769-99; ODNB), were circulated by Thomas Bruce, seventh earl of Elgin (1766–1841; ODNB) and Dr Philip Hunt, who succeeded Joseph Carlyle as Elgin’s chaplain at Constantinople. In response, Susanna Maria Carlyle reviewed her brother’s papers and investigated the claims. Her forensic vindication of her brother, which established that he had neither motive nor opportunity, was published in full by Robert Tweddell in the second edition of his brother John Tweddell’s Remains (1816) and was noticed as definitive in Edward Daniel Clarke’s fourth edition of Travels in Various Countries of Europe Asia and Africa (1818) (8: 18n).

Aside from this second public appearance in print, Susana Maria Carlyle was overshadowed by the renowned brother whose posthumous reputation she did so much to defend, and biographical details about her are scant. After the death of her mother in 1805, she continued to reside in Carlisle, near to her sister (and only surviving sibling), Dorothy Carlyle (b. 1761), and a niece, Eleanor Carlyle (b. 1793), the daughter of her brother (N. Carlisle 128). Susanna Maria Carlyle never married. She died in January 1833 and is buried at St Cuthbert's Church, Carlisle.


Carlisle, Nicholas. Collections for a History of the Ancient Family of Carlisle. London, 1822. Print.

Carlyle, John. The Personal and Family Correspondence of Col. John Carlyle of Alexandria, Virginia. Annotated by John F. Carlyle. [Birmingham: n.p., 2011]. PDF.

Clarke, Edward Daniel. Travels in Various Countries of Europe, Asia and Africa. 4th ed. Vol. 8. London: T. Cadell and W. Davies, 1818. Print.

Roe, Nicholas. 'Tweddell, John (1769–1799), classical and archaeological scholar'. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 23 Sept. 2004. Oxford University Press. Web. 2 July 2018. https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/27902

Tweddell, Robert, ed. Remains of John Tweddell, Late Fellow of Trinity-College Cambridge. 2nd ed. London: J. Mawman, 1816. 557-568. Print.


Title Published
Poems, Suggested Chiefly by Scenes in Asia-Minor, Syria, and Greece, with Prefaces 1805 Editor

[see updates]