This book is now some 130 years old and was written around the year 1880 by Jane Eliza Ashe (1807-1891) when she was over 70 years old. There is no title page and no printer or publisher information, which implies that it was issued privately. In fact this may be the only surviving copy, which was passed on to me by my father.
Little is known about the author, who was the fourth of eight children born to the Rev. Henry Ashe (1759-1824) and Sophia McClure (1775-1827), except for the hand-written inscription on the inside cover from the Rev. Robert Pickering Ashe (1857-1944), her nephew (and my grandfather), which reads:
“The author of this book of rhymes was Jane Eliza Ashe, born circa 1808, one of the 8 children (& 5 daughters) of Henry Ashe, vicar of Acton Poyntz Pass, Tanderagee, Ireland. She wrote this book when well over 70 years. She was typically Victorian. She stripped herself of the £600 left her by her father to help sufferers from the Irish Famine. A rich friend in England gave her a life pension of £60. She used to tell her nephews and nieces in the year 1866 that you will live to see carriages running along the roads without horses and machines flying through the air. She thought that man’s dominion over the lower animals had never been exerted. She had visions of whales drawing ships! She died in 1888-9.
Robert Pickering Ashe,
one of her nephews.
14th September 1935.
65 Birdhurst Rise,
Some other of her nephews and nieces:
1. Surgeon General Henry King
2. Richard Ashe King, author & novelist (Swift in Ireland)
3. Joseph Moore, Gold medalist of Trinity Dublin & father of Dean Moore of Perth, Australia.
4. Surgeon General Henry Smith
5. Dr. William Smith
6. Sophia Smith”
The book has been scanned as a way of preserving it for future generations of Ashes, and is made available on the internet so that others can enjoy it. Please click on the link below:
Jane Eliza Ashe, Book of Rhymes and Etchings (1880)