Hannah Cowley

Died aged c. 66

Hannah Cowley (14 March 1743 – 11 March 1809) was an English playwright and poet. Although Cowley's plays and poetry did not enjoy wide popularity after the 19th century, critic Melinda Finberg rates her as "one of the foremost playwrights of the late eighteenth century" whose "skill in writing fluid, sparkling dialogue and creating sprightly, memorable comic characters compares favourably with her better-known contemporaries, Goldsmith and Sheridan." Cowley's plays were produced frequently in her lifetime. The major themes of her plays – including her first, The Runaway (1776), and her major success, which is being revived, The Belle's Stratagem (1780) – revolve around marriage and how women strive to overcome the injustices imposed by family life and social custom.

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Commemorated on 1 plaque

Hannah Cowley 1743-1809 Playwright, poet, pioneer champion of women’s rights, lived here from 1801. Hannah, who was born in Tiverton, was a leading playwright of her day, her first play being produced by David Garrick at Drury Lane

10 Bridge Street, Tiverton, United Kingdom where they lived