|Amelia Opie (1769-1853)
Amelia Opie was born
on 12 November in a
house on Colegate (now demolished) which stood opposite St. George's Church;
there is a plaque on the wall to commemorate the spot.
She was the daughter of the Quaker physician James
Amelia was a talented and versatile writer who wrote plays, novels, poetry
and thousands of letters. In 1798 she married the
painter John Opie and moved into a house which still
the corner of what is now Opie Street and Castle Meadow.
Portrait of Amelia Opie
painted by her husband John Opie
Amelia Opie Plaque Colegate
Amelia Opie's House on
Castle Meadow, Norwich
Bust of Amelia Opie
Amelia was a precocious talent and her first novel
The Dangers of Coquetry was published when she was
only 18. However, she is probably best known for her
romantic novel Adeline Mowbray -
published in 1804 - which features a mother-daughter
relationship. She was encouraged to write the novel by
her friend Mary Wollstoncraft. She was satirised by T.L. Peacock in
Headlong Hall as Miss Poppyseed as 'an
indefatigable compounder of novels'.
She was a frequent visitor to London
and socialised with other famous writers such as Sir
Walter Scott, Wordsworth and Sheridan. She also knew
the Norfolk writer George Borrow.
In 1825 she made the decision to become a 'Plain' Quaker
- which meant adopting grey gowns and a plain bonnet. On
the roof of the shop opposite her house in Opie Street
there is a statue her wearing this style of clothing.
She is buried in the Gildencroft
Quaker Cemetery off Chatham Street in the same grave as
her father. The grave is located in the far left hand corner next to the wall. The inscription on the stone
has virtually disappeared so it is not easy to identify. The graveyard is now
left as a wildlife area by the Norwich City Council.