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Lydia Grenfell (1775 - 1829)

GRENFELL, Lydia was born 19th October 1775 and baptised on 19th November 1775 at St Hilary, Cornwall the youngest of four daughters of Pascoe Grenfell and Mary Tremenheere. Lydia Grenfell is best remembered as the reluctant paramour of Cornish missionary, Henry Martyn, and for her diary.

In his British Diaries (1442-1942): An annotated bibliography (1967), William Matthews supplies the following details: “Grenfell, Lydia (1775-1829) of Marazion, Cornwall. Religious diary, 1801-1826, extracts; spiritual life, Sunday school work, mostly the religious perturbations of a spinster.” The diary is devoted almost entirely to her spiritual life allowing for little more than a one-dimensional representation of its author. Disinclined to follow her suitor to India (he died in 1812 returning to England in the hopes of persuading her), Lydia remained a spinster, in Marazion, surviving her mother’s death in 1826 by only three years. She died in the 54th year of her age on September 18, 1829 at Breage Old Vicarage, Cornwall the home of her elder sister, Mary Willyams. Her tombstone in Breage churchyard is no longer in evidence.

[Source:- Henry Martyn’s Dulcinea by Penny Watts-Russell, published in The Cornish Banner magazine, November 2002]

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