Eversley’s forgotten feminist – Lucas Malet, aka Mary Kingsley

Lucas Malet was the pseudonym of Mary St Leger Kingsley, Charles Kingsley’s second daughter.  A successful and well-regarded author, her literary sales funded the building of “Keys” for her sister Rose Kingsley and the “Orchard”, her home in Eversley.

We are indebted to Dr Peter Covey-Crump who  has communicated  this interesting note regarding Mary Kingsley:

“May I suggest that you consider including something about CK’s younger daughter Mary St Leger Harrison, who, under the pseudonym of Lucas Malet, wrote best-selling novels. The profits of these enabled her to purchase The Keys and The Orchard in Eversley where she and her elder sister Rose lived. Her contemporary critics regarded her as the successor to George Eliot and described her as the equal of Thomas Hardy and Henry James. Indeed Thomas Hardy based Jude the Obscure on the main character in her book The Wages of Sin. Possibly her best book The History of Sir Richard Calmady is set in Eversley and the immediate surroundings, and Sir Richard’s mansion is based on Bramshill Park”.

Carissma – a modern grotesque A very remarkable book, deserving of critical analysis impossible within our limit ; brilliant, but not superficial ; well considered, but not elaborated ; constructed with the proverbial art that conceals, but yet allows itself to be enjoyed by readers to whom fine literary method is a keen pleasure.’— The World.


Lucas Malet was the pseudonym of Mary St Leger Kingsley (4 June 1852 — 1931), a Victorian novelist. Of her novels, The Wages of Sin (1891) and The History of Sir Richard Calmady (1901) were especially popular.[1] Malet scholar Talia Schaffer notes that she was “widely regarded as one of the premier writers of fiction in the English-speaking world”[2] at the height of her career, but her reputation declined by the end of her life and today she is rarely read or studied. At the height of her popularity she was “compared favourably to Thomas Hardy, and Henry James, with sales rivalling Rudyard Kipling.”Malet’s fin de siecle novels offer “detailed, sensitive investigations of the psychology of masochism, perverse desires, unconventional gender roles, and the body.”[4]

She is regarded by some present-day historians as being one of the founders of  feminist aesthetics and ideologies. (Peter Ormrod)

Jim Poolman – sculpture commissioned

Eversley’s native sculptor seated on one of his unique creations – the fan assisted rocking-chair made from recycled steel and horseshoes

Jim Poolman, a long-time resident of Eversley,  has agreed to undertake a commission for the 2019 Festival based on The Water-Babies. Materials are sourced from the local area and his previous works have often made use of horseshoes, sometimes many thousands, welded together to create strikingly original sculptures. The finished work will be ready for the June 2019 opening and be sited at a location where visitors and passers-by shall be able to enjoy it.

The clock is ticking

Countdown to the Charles Kingsley 200 festival

328Days 00Hours 43Minutes 58Seconds

The Charles Kingsley Society

The Committee  has  registered The Charles Kingsley Society as the formal name of the body that will run the  Charles Kingsley 200 Festival in 2019; and in addition other activities beyond the festival, so that there may be an enduring legacy, centred in Eversley, to celebrate his life and work.

Listed in Visit Hampshire

From Anthony Bateman

Many thanks for the update.  We have added a link to your website and some basic introductory content on Visit Hampshire website in our Famous People section  https://www.visit-hampshire.co.uk/ideas-and-inspiration/famous-people

We’ll look to develop more content as your programme develops.  This can include specific events in our What’s On https://www.visit-hampshire.co.uk/whats-on  when you have dates pinned down and more content on a specific page.

Andrew Bateman
Tourism Manager
Economy, Transport and Environment
Hampshire County Council

Dr Jonathan Conlin joins committee

Dr Jonathan Conlin BA Oxon MA PhD Cantab FRHistS FHA  has joined the committee to curate our planned series of Talks to be held during the festival.

Jon’s interest in Charles Kingsley led to his Hawarden workshop last July, where he gathered a   multinational group  academics  committed  to researching  the life of CK.

Jon is currently  a senior lecturer at Southampton University and a more detailed biography and list of published works can be found here.

Dr Conlin brings great insight and plenty of exciting ideas to our team and we are delighted that he has agreed to join the Charles Kingsley 200 project.

Peter Ormrod

A reply from the Wellington College archivist.

(from David Lister)

Dear All,

For your information, below is a copy of the relevant part of an email I have received from Caroline Jones, who is the archivist at Wellington College. It increases my respect and admiration for CK’s breadth of knowledge. I hope the Rootham family are getting on with typing out the musical score  for Andromeda by Cyril Rootham. I have emailed her back and said we would indeed be interested in seeing printed documents from the Wellingtonian, and if it is opportune, and if she has the time, we could get Caroline personally involved

Caroline writes:

I regret that I am almost certain that we do not have a copy of the choral setting for ‘Andromeda’. I cannot be categorical as the archives are not fully catalogued, but I am fairly familiar with them and am not aware of any such item, nor any part of the collection where it is likely to be. There is, however, a reference to the poem in an article on verse forms published in the Wellingtonian magazine of July 1886, as follows:

You are correct that Charles Kingsley was a friend of the first headmaster of Wellington, Edward White Benson, and frequently visited him. His signature appears in the first Visitor’s Book, and indeed it was he who introduced the sport of cross-country running at Wellington, and our leading race has been known as ‘The Kingsley’ ever since. He was also a supporter of the College’s Natural Science Society, and the Wellingtonian contains several reports of his presence at meetings or his giving talks to the Society. Moreover, Kingsley supported the school by sending his son Maurice here as a pupil.

If you would like printed copies of some of these documents which mention Kingsley for your festival, do let me know and I will make copies for you.


Yours sincerely,


Caroline Jones


A birthday card from Prince George

This delightful drawing was sent to Fanny Kingsley on June 1875  several months after CK’s death. Its author was Prince George, second son  of Edward VII and who later became George V in 1910.  He wrote this card on his tenth birthday.

The card shows  the close relationship CK had with the Royal family which was possibly the reason why Alexandra,  the Queen Mother,  was at the top of the list of patrons of the 1919 Eversley pageant.

Andromeda – a choral work

Cyril Rootham. English composer. Fellow of St John’s College Cambridge. Trained at the Royal College of Music

One of the events planned for the festival is a performance of Andromeda, a choral work of 1300 bars composed in 1903 by Cyril Rootham ( 1875 -1938)   and based on CK’s poem, Andromeda.

This is a substantial choral work and local schools and choral societies will be invited to take part. It will be the first time the work has been performed in over 100 years.
One idea we have is to involve schools in following the process of bringing this  historical manuscript to life. From typesetting the score, interpretation, rehearsals, through to the final performance.

Read more about Cyril Rootham here

The Duke of Wellington

We are also delighted to announce  the Duke of Wellington has agreed to be  a supporter of the Charles Kingsley 200 project. The 4th Duke was a patron  of the 1919 Festival Pageant  echoing the  present Duke’s interest in local heritage.