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At the Circulating Library

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

Author: Henry Coe Coape

Author: Henry Coe Coape (1810–1890)

Alternate Name(s): Mervyn Merriton (pseudonym)

Biography: Henry Coe Coape was born in 1810 in London, the eldest son of Henry Coape of York-place and Maldon, Essex, who had made a large fortune in the sugar-refining business (upwards of £300,000). Coape moved in the best of society and in 1835 married Sidney Jane King, the daughter of Major-General Hon. Henry King and granddaughter of the 2nd Earl of Kingston. The marriage collapsed in the space of a few years due to Coape's adultery, cruelty, and desertion (chronicled in great detail in the divorce proceedings). The couple separated in 1847. Coape took up with Ann Maguire (died 1850), an actress, and wrote some plays. In 1854, he was insolvent and fled to the continent. His wife sued for divorce in 1861 and it was granted. In the 1870s, presumably for money, Coape turned to writing novels, including The Ringwoods of Ringwood (1873) and What Will Society Say?: A Story of Society and the Stage (1880). He remarried and died in 1890.

References: Allibone; British Census (1881); Times (29 June 1861)

Fiction Titles:

  1. The Ringwoods of Ringwood: A Novel.  3 vol.  London: Tinsley Brothers, 1873.
  2. What Will Society Say?: A Story of Society and the Stage.  3 vol.  London: Tinsley Brothers, 1880.