The Martineaus

Harriet and James Martineau were born in 1802 and 1805 respectively, the children of Thomas and Elizabeth Martineau. Thomas was a cloth manufacturer in Norwich and from an old Huguenot family and Elizabeth (nee Rankin) came from a family of sugar refiners in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The Martineaus were pillars of the Octagon Chapel in Norwich, one of the preeminent Unitarian congregations in the country, and were important figures in the lively intellectual circle centred on the chapel. Encouraged by their families to be learned, progressive-thinking and outward-looking, Harriet Martineau became one of the most well known writers and intellectuals of her day, and James Martineau, one of the foremost Unitarian theologians of his generation. Now read on……..

More about the extended Martineau family

We have recently had news from a branch of the Martineau family in Australia, Fay and Don Walker, who have put together a folder for the Martineau Society archives at Harris Manchester College, Oxford, and have generously agreed to a scanned version appearing on the Society website.

This group of Martineaus arose, not through the Martineau ‘blood-line’, but when a child born in 1848 to Stephen and Jane Cuming, was named after the ‘Liberal poet and writer Harriet Martineau’.  She was the first family Martineau. The Cuming family migrated to Australia in 1851 and ended up in the Ballarat goldfields.  Since then children in the family have been named after Harriet Martineau and ‘there are now 17 family Martineaus’, all  known to Fay and Don. A fascinating story, you’ll agree.  Now read on!

To access the folder, please click here