Sunday, 10 April 2016

Anna Bunston de Bary (1869 - 1954) - British writer and poet

Anna Bunston was born in Alderbury, Wiltrshire, UK on 27th May 1869.  Her father, Thomas Bunston, was an Anglican clergyman and her mother was Isabella Bunston, nee Murray.   Her father was Curate of Warbleton church in Hailsham, Sussex and then Vicar of Arlington church in Hailsham, Sussex.

Anna became a schoolteacher and worked in Brighton, Sussex.  In June 1910, she married Richard Brome de Bary in Hailsham.  Richard was a clergyman and became private chaplain to Anthony Ashley Cooper, at St. Giles.  In 1911, Anna and Richard moved to Antrim, in Ulster, Ireland then returned to the UK where they lived in the village of Horton in Dorset and Anna worked as a writer.

Anna travelled extensively, visiting Spain, France, Holland, Italy; visiting Madrid, Toledo, Marsiglia, Angouleme, Amsterdam, Genova, Florence, Rome and the Garda Lake.  She spoke fluent Italian and German and translated poetry from both languages, as well as writing numerous books – some in collaboration with her husband.

Anna’s knowledge of foreign languages must have been impressive for during the Second World War, by then in her 70s she was invited to work for the War Office and was based in Liverpool.  

Richard died in 1948 and Anna died on 25th January 1954 in Salisbury, Wiltshire.

Anna’s WW1 poetry collections were: “New Songs of Salisbury Plain” published by Bennet Brothers in 1917, “New and Selected Lyrics”, published by O’Connor in 1923 and “New and Selected Lyrics”, published by P. Mitre in 1947.

She also wrote a 'political' piece on the German attitude to war and death during WWI for “The Review”.

J.C. Squire included Anna’s poem “The Snowdrop” in his prestigious Anthology of Great Poems by Women through the Ages (Elizabethan to modern) published c. 1920 and Anna’s poems were published in various newspapers and literary magazines.

Anna’s book ‘Letters of a Schoolma’am’ published in 1913 about education in rural areas sounds way ahead of its time.

Anna’s novel 'The House in Horton Hollow' about French prisoners of war during the Napoleonic Wars, published in 1925 was well received and reviewed by the press.  Other works by Anna include ‘Mingled Wine’ and ‘The Porch of Paradise’.

Sources:  Find my Past, British Newspaper Archive with additional information supplied by Phil Dawes.   With thanks to Eleonora Padovani who wrote to me some years ago about Anna.  A review of Eleonora's book about Anna's poetry will be posted here soon.   
I am still looking for a photograph of Anna if anyone can help?


With thanks to Phil Dawes for additional information.