Elizabeth Barrett Browning

1806 - 1861


Daughter of Edward Barrett Moulton Barrett (q.v.).

  1. Elizabeth Barrett Browning was descended from slave-owners on both sides of her family, her maternal grandfather John Graham-Clarke and her father's maternal grandfather Edward Barrett (1734-1798). Her awareness of her slave-owning ancestry deeply marked her.

  2. The family of Robert Browning also had a history in the slave-economy. Browning's grandfather, also Robert (1749-1833), had married Margaret Tittle, whose father the Rev. John Tittle had been a slave-owner on St Kitts; Browning's father, again Robert (1782-1866) was sent to St Kitts to manage a plantation described as the Anderson estate, which the Rev. John Tittle had owned or co-owned with William Coleman (q.v., under William Coleman of Lee). In his will proved in 1834, Robert Browning's grandfather said that his son Robert [1782-1866] and daughter Margaret Morris Browning 'have had by their uncle Tittle and aunt Mill much greater portion than can be left to my other dear children' [the step-brothers and sisters of the named Robert and Margaret Morris Browning], and accordingly left them £10 each. The inference to be drawn is that money from the slave-economy passed to the father of the poet from his mother's family.


  1. Marjorie Stone, ‘Browning , Elizabeth Barrett (1806–1861)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Oct 2008 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/3711, accessed 31 March 2016]

  2. Clyde de L. Ryals, ‘Browning, Robert (1812–1889)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2006 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/3714, accessed 31 March 2016]

We are grateful to Sean Creighton for his help with this entry.

Further Information

Robert Browning
Robert ('Pen')
Oxford DNB Entry

Legacies Summary

Cultural (1)

Prints, Drawings & Paintings
C19th, Margrave Bequest; Elliott & Fry, Mrs Elizabeth Barrett Browning... 
notes →
Full details at: Victoria & Albert Museum Collection: Prints, Drawings & Paintings. Thanks to Allyson Take for...

Relationships (4)

Daughter → Father
Grand-daughter → Grandfather
Niece → Uncle
Niece → Uncle