Anne Beale (1816 – 17
April 1900) was a popular novelist and poet, based in Llandeilo. Her poetry,
novels, and short stories appeared in print for more than fifty years during
Born at Langport,
Somerset, Anne was educated Bath and her older sister Elizabeth Compton Beale
was a singer. Anne lived near Llandeilo from 1841, where she initially worked
as a governess for the family of an Anglican clergyman. The 1841 census lists
her as living at Llwyn Helyg with three children (Elizabeth, Clare and
Caroline) in her care.
Anne was eventually
able to support herself wholly on the income from her writing and it became her
full-time profession. Her depictions of West Wales were described at the time
as having ‘so
much warmth and character as to captivate every person’. In ‘Vale of the Towey’
she herself wrote: ‘I was struck by the
loveliness of the country…In the small compass of this beautiful valley I had
a world completely closed in from the outer world’.
As well as writing books, Anne contributed
articles on Welsh life to periodicals and her diaries were published in Girl’s
Own Newspaper and offered insights into the daily life of the area during the
mid-Victorian period. In 1850 she mentions an outbreak of rabies in
Carmarthenshire. She also published a volume of poetry and contributed Welsh-
interest articles to English and Scottish publications.
Anne spent her later
years in London, where she died at 68 Belsize Road, South Hampstead, aged 84.