Small image of a man handing a book to a women across a counter.

At the Circulating Library

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

Author: Mary Woolley Gibbings Cotton

Author: Mary Woolley Gibbings Cotton (1799–1889)

Alternate Name(s): Gibbings (maiden name); Viscountess Combermere (title)

Biography: Mary Woolley Gibbings Cotton was born in 1799 in Cork, Ireland, the daughter of Robert Gibbings. In 1838, she married Stapleton Cotton, 1st Viscount Combermere (1773–1865) as his third wife. He was a celebrated army officer who served in India and Spain, member of parliament, governor-general of Barbados, and commander-in-chief of India. The couple lived a retired life at his estate Combermere Abbey in Shropshire. Relatively late in life, she turned to writing with a collection of essays Our Peculiarities (1863) followed by a novel Shattered Idols (1865). The latter's plot centers on a chemist turned poisoner and bigamy. After her husband's death in 1865, she edited his memoirs (published 1866) and wrote a collection of poems A Friar's Scourge: Nonsense Verses (1876). She died in 1889.

References: Burke; DNB (Stapleton Cotton); Reilly; Times (15 August 1889)

Fiction Titles:

  1. Shattered Idols.  3 vol.  London: Hurst and Blackett, 1865.