Wolverhampton BTW

Anna Maria Falconbridge

Falconbridge, Anna Maria née Horwood, later DuBois, 1769—c.1816

by Benjamin Colbert

Anna Maria Falconbridge was born in Bristol, the daughter of Charles Horwood (d. 1787) and Grace Horwood, née Roberts (d. 1774). On 16 October 1788, aged 16, she defied her parents and married the abolitionist and former slave-ship surgeon, Alexander Falconbridge (c. 1760-92; ODNB).

Her husband had already formed a bond with the leading abolitionist, Thomas Clarkson, and it was Clarkson who recruited him in 1790 to voyage to Sierra Leone in an attempt to re-establish the Freetown colony for freed slaves that had run into difficulties three year’s previously. Anna Maria Falconbridge accompanied her husband and they landed at Bance Island at the mouth of the Sierra Leone River, a slave-trading fort. At her husband’s behest, she remained shipboard in cramped conditions until negotiations for the new settlement were concluded and the first huts laid out. From her village accommodations, thereafter, she began gathering information for publication.

Around July 1791, the Falconbridges sailed for England, a difficult, unseasonable passage that took seven weeks to complete. After barely three months home, they set sail again in December, Alexander Falconbridge having become a commercial agent for the settlement. The settlement’s fortunes, however, fell: new settlers arrived during the rainy season and many died of fever; Alexander Falconbridge proved ineffectual, turned to drink, was dismissed, and, in December, 1792 died. Within two weeks of that event, on 7 January 1793, Anna Maria Falconbridge remarried Isaac DuBois, a company employee from North Carolina, and later that year they returned to England via Jamaica.

Anna Maria Falconbridge unsuccessfully solicited back payment owed her previous husband from the Sierra Leone Company, which she roundly criticised in her book, Two Voyages to Sierra Leone, published in 1794, and which reached a third edition in 1802. Thereafter, the careers of Falconbridge and her husband, Isaac DuBois, are obscure.


Fyfe, Christopher. 'Falconbridge [née Horwood], Anna Maria (b. 1769, d. in or after 1802?), traveller and writer'. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 23 Sept. 2004. Oxford University Press. Web. 19 Oct. 2017. https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/9105


Title Published
Two Voyages to Sierra Leone 1794

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