Caroline Norton (1808-1877)
Caroline Norton married George Norton in 1827. Theirs was a very unhappy and broken marriage and George often beat her. Unfortunately this was at a time when women had very few legal rights. Caroline liked to write and this introduced her into a wider literary circle, which her husband disapproved of.
After George falsely accused Caroline of having an affair with Lord Melbourne (Caroline Lamb's widower), the marriage completely deteriorated. George could not now get the divorce he wished, but he used his legal rights to separate Caroline from their three sons.
This separation devastated Caroline and she passionately and successfully campaigned for fairer social laws especially for women in marriage and the rights of children. In her campaigns for reform Norton wrote poems, political pamphlets, novels and plays. Her poem 'A Voice from the Factories' (1836) raised the problems faced by child workers. She outlived George and had a brief second marriage.
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NRA Name: Norton, Caroline Elizabeth Sarah (1808-1877) née Sheridan, poet and campaigner for women's rights.
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