Margaret Lucas was born into a well-off gentry family in 1623, the leading family in their corner of Essex, at Colchester. Margaret was quiet, introspective, creative, brought up with little formal education, with expectations of a settled, life of an affluent housewife ahead of her.
What she made of her life was instead extraordinary. Her world was turned upside by the civil wars, and she fled, a staunch royalist to the court of Henrietta Maria, following her into exile in France. There she met William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle, and though heavily in debt they married and her intellectual life took off. She explored lietrature, poetry, playwriting and natural Philosophy. She met many of the most famous philosophers of her day – Descartes, Hoobes, Boyle and others; and traded blows with the Royal Society.
Margaret was ambitious for fame despite social restrictions. “Though I cannot be Henry the Fifth, or Charles the Second, yet I endeavour to be Margaret the First” she wrote in her memoirs. And extraordinarily, in a time when few women were published and then mainly only in religion and domestic topics, she published, and published freely on a wide range of topics, in science and literature.
She became a celebrity; much of London rushed to catch a glimpse of her when she visited: “The whole story of this lady is a romance, and all she do is romantic” wrote Samuel Pepys breathlessly as he charged after her. The following series is her story.