Charlotte Anne Price was born in 1840/1 in Burford, Oxfordshire, the daughter of James Scarlett Price (solicitor) and his wife Ann. From 1877 until her death in 1910 she lived at No 4 Clarendon Villas (now 12 Pittville Lawn) in Cheltenham.
In 1861 she was living at home in Burford with her parents and her brother William, two years her senior. She had a younger sister Sarah (born 1842/3) and at least three other, younger, brothers.
Although not a significant literary figure, she is remembered for a number of minor and ephemeral productions. Her first literary work appeared in or about 1865, when Edward Hale & Co of Promenade House, Cheltenham, published her Cotswold Polka for piano. Hale was a general printer and publisher, who also published the Cheltenham Times and Musical Record. (Click below to listen to an audio file of the Cotswold Polka.1)
Charlotte’s father died in mid 1876 and by 1877 she had moved with her mother to No 4 Clarendon Villas. Her mother Ann died suddenly in 1880 (29 March) of a ruptured blood vessel, and was buried in the family vault back in Burford.
At the time of the 1881 census Charlotte lived alone with a cook and a parlour-maid at the house in Clarendon Villas. Later that year she re-entered the literary world in a small way, with the publication of her Poems and Lyrics for Idle Hours (F. V. White & Co, 31 Southampton Street, London; 7s 6d). These were generally greeted with a rather negative reception:
It is probable that “Poems and Lyrics for Idle Hours”, by Charlotte A. Price […] was intended for private circulation; it is the work of a reverent gentlewoman with no special inspiration, but will doubtless give much pleasure to her immediate friends.” (Graphic (1881) 20 August)
“This book is one of those entirely unpretentious collections of domestic poems, or poems of the affections, as we think they are called, which there is very little need to examine very rigidly or seriously. Miss Price is not always careful of that Scylla of the minor bard – phraseology which has a ludicrous association.” (Academy (1881), 19 November p. 380)
“For whose “idle hours”? we are inclined to ask, as we read this volume. Scarcely the reader’s, we should say, for verse of this kind, never rising into eloquence, and but rarely touched with any spark of beauty, is very hard reading indeed.” (Spectator (1882), 30 September p. 1262)
Her Cotswold Polka attracted some attention again in 1886 when it was republished by Hale in its second edition for 3s, and in 1891 she composed the words for Edwin Dyer’s hymn Nothing Between (Novello, Ewer and Co: London and New York). The following year the Cheltenham Examiner (30 March p. 8) noted that she had donated the proceeds from the sale of “her” hymn (£5) to the Friendless Girls’ Society.
The hymn was also sung as a memorial service held in Burford in November 1891. Charlotte has caused two impressive stained-glass windows to be made and positioned at the rear of the church above the fount, where they remain today in memory of her father, mother, sister (who died aged 12) and three brothers who died in infancy.
The windows were constructed by C. E. Kempe of London, and Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 14 November remarked that “the glass is an admirable specimen of the style of the 15th century, and does great credit to the artist”.
At this time Charlotte’s literary hopes received a boost. Her publisher F. V. White took over the ladies’ literary magazine Belgravia, which had achieved something of a name for itself under the vigorous editorship of the sensational novelist Mary Braddon. But in the 1880s its readership declined, and when White took it over the magazine was a shadow of its former self. It seems that Charlotte Price contributed a substantial body of articles of literary and historical subjects between 1891 and 1895,2 alongside popular writers such as Florence Maryatt and Marie Corelli.
Notices for these short pieces were typically kinder and less demanding than had been the reviewers of her Poems and Lyrics in 1881:
“The second article in Charlotte A. Price’s series of “Famous Poets” deals with William Cowper, and gives us a touching picture of a devout Christian soul of highly-sensitive fibre, and the prey to religious monomania.” (County Gentleman (1893) 1 July)
In 1897 Charlotte had three almshouses built in Burford (these are still standing):
“Price’s Almshouses at the top of The Hill were founded in 1897 by Miss Charlotte Anne Price, a daughter of the solicitor James Scarlett Price. Three cottages were to be built ‘in the Elizabethan style’, each one housing a ‘suitable aged or infirm woman’.” (http://www.victoriacountyhistory.ac.uk/explore/items/almshouses-burford)
Charlotte Price, spinster, lived for the rest of her life at No 4 Clarendon Villas. The Gloucestershire Echo of 7 July 1910 carries her death notice:
“Price – July 4, at her residence, 4 Clarendon Villas, Cheltenham, Charlotte Ann, daughter of the late James Scarlett Price, Esq., of Burford, Oxon.”
Her will was proved on 21 July, and despite her charitable works she left behind her a considerable personal estate of £15,334 8s. 7d.
1 Baptised 11 November 1840 at Burford (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/J77R-WVG). 2 Charlotte A. Price “A Highland Cot” in Belgravia (1891) vol. 76, p. 305ff; “St. George and the Dragon” in Belgravia (1892) vol. 79 p. 23ff; “Shrines” in Belgravia (1892) vol. 78 p. 209ff; “Retrospection” in Belgravia (1892) March vol. 77 p. 315; “Sonnet. A Day in September” (Part 2) in Belgravia (1893) September vol. 82 p. 101; “Sonnet” in Belgravia (1893) January vol. 80 p. 57; “Famous Poets. I. – Lord Byron” in Belgravia (1893) February vol. 80 p. 137-52; “Never” in Belgravia (1893) April vol. 80 p. 431; “The New Resident at Slocombe” in Belgravia (1893) Holiday number, p. 98-111; “Famous Poets. II. – William Cowper” in Belgravia (1893) vol. 81 p. 199ff; “Famous Poets. III. – Oliver Goldsmith” in Belgravia (1893) October vol. 82 p. 138-54; “Sir Harry Gray” (Part 1) in Belgravia (1893) November vol. 82 p. 312-36; “Sir Harry Gray” (Part 2) in Belgravia (1893) December vol. 82 p. 421-44; “The Crusades” in London Society (Clowes: 1894) vol. 65 (pts 1 and 2), 66 (pts 3 and 4) (part 1: March 1894 pp 253-67; part 2: June pp. 587-603; part 3: November pp. 472-90; part 4: December 593-612: http://archive.org/stream/londonsocietyvo02unkngoog#page/n10/mode/2up and http://archive.org/stream/londonsociety10unkngoog#page/n4/mode/2up “Famous Poets. IV. – Thomas Hood” in Belgravia (1894) vol. 83 p. 178-90; “Famous Poets. V. – Robert Burns” in Belgravia (1895) vol. 87 p. 248ff’.