Bennett, Marianna Dunkin

Marianna Dunkin Bennett (b. c. 1795-1840?) appears to be the youngest child of John Dunkin, Jr. and Joanna Hays Dunkin. She may well have been named after her cousin, Marianna Hays (1773-1797). Marianna Dunkin, along with her sisters Elizabeth and Sarah, lived with their aunt Mary Hays c. 1807-08 at her house in Park Street, Islington. Marianna married William Bennett of Faringdon House, Berkshire, in 1817. In 1837 he became High Sheriff of Berkshire. At the time of the publication of Elizabeth Hays Lanfear's Fatal Errors, just two years after the their marriage, the Bennetts had just moved into Vanbrugh House [sometimes called “Mince-pie House,” on the grounds of Vanbrugh Castle] on Maze Hill in Greenwich; that same year her sister, Elizabeth Dunkin Francis (1787-1825), moved with her family into one of the other large houses on Maze Hill. In 1823 they were joined by Mary Hays, who took rooms in Vanbrugh Castle itself, which at that time was a school operated by Mr. Robert Browne and his wife.  The Bennetts had five children: Daniel, William, John Dunkin, Elizabeth Emma, and Marianna. Before Mary Hays left the Castle in 1832, two other nieces, Emma Dunkin Hills and Sarah Dunkin Wedd (1793-1875) had also moved with their families to Maze Hill. Crabb Robinson paid many visits to Mary Hays during her time at the Castle, and often met with her many nieces and their husbands and families during those visits. Marianna Bennett’s eldest sister, Joanna Dunkin Palmer, married Nathaniel Palmer (1774-1840) in 1798. Her nephew, Samuel Palmer (1805-81) the Romantic artist, visited her and her sisters on occasion at Greenwich, and Mr Bennett made a purchase of some of the artist’s early works in 1825. A Marianna Bennett of Faringdon died in the early months of 1840, which may well be the Marianna of this entry (see England and Wales Registration Index 1837-2007). See Samuel Palmer to Mr. Bennett [sometime prior to 16 October 1825] in Raymond Lister, ed., The Letters of Samuel Palmer, 2 vols (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974), 1:9-10.