Maria Grace Saffery

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Maria Grace Saffery (1773–1858) was a Baptist poet and hymn-writer from England.

Early life[edit]

There is still a church in Brown Street in Salisbury although this building is more recent

Maria Grace Andrews was born in 1773 in the Westbury district of Wiltshire, England. Saffery was possibly the daughter of William Andrews of Stroud Green, Newbury, Berkshire although other sources differ.[1] She was baptized on 30 November 1774.[2] At the age of fifteen, she started writing her first big piece and showed great abilities in doing so. Her first poem was about Chait Singh, the Raja of Benares who was in dispute with Warren Hastings in India.[1] Saffery was originally brought under the personal influence of Thomas Scott, the bible commentator.

Personal and family life[edit]

Maria had a sister named Anne, who was also a writer. Maria married John Saffery, pastor of the Baptist church at Brown Street in Salisbury, becoming his second wife, in 1799. They had six children; the eldest, Philip John Saffery, succeeded to the office of pastor of the church at his father's death in 1825. Saffery also created a girls' school in Salisbury. In 1835 she retired to Bratton, also in Wiltshire, where the rest of her life was spent with her daughter. She died on 5 March 1858 and was buried in the graveyard of the baptist chapel there.[3]

Major works[edit]


  • Cheyt Sing. A Poem. By a Young Lady of Fifteen (1790)[4]


  • Tis the Great Father we adore (1828)
  • Poems on Sacred Subjects (1834)
  • God of the sunlight hours, how sad (1834)
  • There is a little lonely fold (1834)
  • Fain, O my child, I'd have thee know (1844)[5]


  • The Noble Enthusiast (1792)[6]

See also[edit]

English women hymnwriters (18th to 19th-century)


  1. ^ a b Rosemary Mitchell, ‘Saffery, Maria Grace (bap. 1772?, d. 1858)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 13 Nov 2014
  2. ^ Mitchell, Rosemary (2004). "The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography". Saffery, Maria Grace (bap. 1772?, d. 1858), Hymn Writer and Poet. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. ref:odnb/24469. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/24469. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ Lowther, William Boswell (1897). "Saffery, Maria Grace (DNB00)". Wikisource. Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900. p. 114.
  4. ^ Whelan, Timothy. "Nonconformist Women Writers, 1720–1840. Part 2".
  5. ^ "Maria Grace Saffery".
  6. ^ Whelan, Timothy (Winter 2012). "West Country Nonconformist Women Writers, 1720–1840". Wordsworth Circle. 43: 44–55. doi:10.1086/TWC24045515. S2CID 150619144.

Further reading[edit]

  • Mary Grace Saffery; Anne Andrews Whitaker; Timothy Whelan (2011). Correspondence of Maria Grace Saffery and Anne Andrews Whitaker. London: Pickering & Chatto. OCLC 755972239.