Sarah Doudney

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Sarah Doudney (an inscription signed by Doudney appears beneath the portrait engraving).

Sarah Doudney (15 January 1841, Portsea, Portsmouth, Hampshire – 8 December 1926, Oxford)[1] was an English novelist and poet, best known as a children's writer and hymn-writer.

Family and life

Doudney's father ran a candle and soap manufacturing business; one of her uncles was the evangelical clergyman David Alfred Doudney, editor of The Gospel Magazine and Old Jonathan.[1] Doudney was educated at a school for French girls, and started to write poetry and prose as a child. 'The Lesson of the Water-Mill', written when she was fifteen and published in the Anglican Churchman's Family Magazine (1864), became a well known song in Britain and the United States. Doudney continued to live with her parents near Catherington until she was thirty.

She published her first novel, Under Grey Walls, in 1871. Success came with her third novel, Archie's Old Desk, in 1872. In the 1881 census Doudney described herself as a "Writer for Monthly Journals".[2] She contributed poetry and fiction to periodicals including Dickens's All the Year Round, the Churchman's Shilling Magazine,[1] the Religious Tract Society's Girl's Own Paper, the Sunday Magazine, Good Words and the Quiver.[2] By 1891, when she was describing herself in the census as a novelist, she had written around 35 novels,[2] aimed in most cases at girls, although she also wrote some adult novels. Doudney's hymns include The Christian's Good Night, set by Ira D. Sankey in 1884 and sung at Charles Spurgeon's funeral.[2]

Sarah's mother Lucy Doudney died in 1891 and her father followed in 1893. Sarah Doudney then moved to Oxford, where she died in December 1926.[3]



See also

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


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Charlotte Mitchell, ‘Doudney, Sarah (1841–1926)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2005, accessed 11 July 2008
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Sarah Doudney (1841–1926) at the Wayback Machine (archived 26 October 2009)
  3. Web Archive biography: Retrieved 6 December 2011 at the Wayback Machine (archived 26 October 2009).
  4. Additional titles, corrections etc. from Doudney's ODNB entry; booksellers' catalogues; the British Library Integrated Catalogue: Retrieved 6 December 2011; Web Archive list: Retrieved 6 December 2011 at the Wayback Machine (archived 26 October 2009).

External links