Osborne, Dorothy, Lady Temple
b. 1627, Chicksands Priory, Bedfordshire, Eng.
d. February 1695, Moor Park, near Farnham, Surrey
English gentlewoman best known for the letters she wrote to her
future husband, William Temple, before their marriage. The letters
are simply written in an easy, conversational style and present an
interesting picture of the life of a young English gentlewoman in the
Commonwealth period (1649-60). Lively and tender, they are full
of good sense, humour, and keen observation.
The daughter of Sir Peter Osborne, she met William Temple (later
Sir William) in 1647, and, despite opposition from both families,
they married in 1655. Thereafter she became a devoted wife, as a
few surviving letters from later years testify. She bore him nine
children, of whom seven died in infancy. A friend of Queen Mary,
she was buried in Westminster Abbey.
Sir William Temple preserved the group of letters that were written
to him during their courtship between December 1652 and October
1654, and they remained in manuscript until the 19th century. They
were sold to the British Museum in 1891. The best edition of them
was published in 1928 by G.C. Moore Smith.
Copyright © 1994-1999 Encyclopędia Britannica, Inc.