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Mary Cholmondeley was born in Hodnet near Market Drayton in Shropshire on June 8th 1859, the third of eight children. Her father was appointed rector in 1874 in succession to his father. Much of the first 30 years of her life was taken up with helping her sickly mother run the household, her father with his parish work, and mitigating the effects of her asthma.
Mary began writing in her teens. She wrote in her journal in 1877, "What a pleasure and interest it would be to me in life to write books. I must strike out a line of some kind, and if I do not marry (for at best that is hardly likely, as I possess neither beauty nor charms) I should want some definite occupation, besides the home duties."
Mary began by publishing her stories in The Graphic and her first novel ‘The Danvers Jewels’ a detective story followed in 1887. Thereafter came, amongst others, ‘Sir Charles Danvers’ (1889) and ‘Diana Tempest’ (1893).<p>After her father retired in 1896, she moved with him and her sister Diana to Condover Hall before a move to Albert Gate Mansions in Knightsbridge, London.
Mary wrote the best seller ‘Red Pottage’ in 1899. It satirised religious hypocrisy and the conceit of country life. It was denounced as immoral. It also explored female sexuality.
During the war she did clerical work in the Carlton House Terrace Hospital. The sisters moved in 1919 to 4 Argyll Road, Kensington, where Mary died, on 15th July 1925.