Plum Tree Farm
Upgate Street
Carleton Rode
Norfolk NR16 1NJ

Tel: 01953 860 746

London (no date) Etching by Maddocks of Hannah Snell, [1723-1792] “Born at Worcester 1723” Approx 18cm x 12.5 cm for the visible image ,matted size 25cm x 31 cm. With pp15 of her life story disbound from the work which held the engraving ( some offsetting ). Following desertion by her husband and being left in an advanced state of pregnancy , and the subsequent death of the child at seven months, she “ formed the romantic notion of putting on men’s attire and of going in search of her run-away husband”. Hannah disguised herself as a man in 1745 and later became a Marine, boarding the ship Swallow at Portsmouth in 1747. The ship sailed to Lisbon on 1 November. Her unit was about to invade Mauritius, but the attack was called off. Her unit then sailed to India. In August 1748, her unit was sent to an expedition to capture the French colony of Battle of Pondicherry in India. Later, she also fought in the battle in Devicottail in June 1749. She was wounded eleven times to the legs. She was also shot in her groin and to avoid revealing her gender, she instructed a local woman to take out the bullet instead of being tended by the regimental surgeon. In 1750, her unit returned to Britain and traveled from Portsmouth to London, where she revealed her sex to her shipmates .She petitioned the Duke of Cumberland, the head of the army, for her pension. She also sold her story to London publisher Robert Walker, who published her account, The Female Soldier, in two different editions. She also began to appear on stage in her uniform presenting military drills and singing songs. Three painters painted her portrait in her uniform and The Gentleman's Magazine reported her claims. She was honorably discharged and the Royal Hospital, Chelsea officially recognized Snell's military service in November and granted her a pension in 1750 (increased in 1785), a rare thing in those times. Hannah retired to Wapping and began to keep a pub named The Female Warrior (or The Widow in Masquerade, accounts disagree) but it did not last long. By the mid-1750s, By the mid-1750s, she was living in Newbury in Berkshire. In 1759, she married Richard Eyles there, with whom she had two children. In 1772, she married Richard Habgood of Welford, also in Berkshire, and the two moved to the Midlands. In 1785, she was living with her son George Spence Eyles, a clerk, on Church Street, Stoke Newington.In 1791 her mental condition suddenly worsened. She was admitted to Bethlem Hospital where she died in February 1792. (Wiki)


click for enlarged photo