Hannah Lawrance, historian, journalist, and novelist, was raised in the New Broad Street Independent Chapel, London, where her grandfather on her mother’s side, John Stafford, was the minister. She remained a Congregationalist her entire life, and left monies to various denominational charities upon her death. In 1838 she published the Historical Memoirs of the Queens of England, a predecessor of Agnes and Elizabeth Strickland's more sustained Lives of the Queens of England (1840–48), both of which followed their predecessor, Mary Hays's Memoirs of Queens, Illustrious and Celebrated (1821). She also published another work related to British women, The History of Woman in England, and her Influence on Society and Literature (1843), focusing on the significant role women made in the development of British culture. Lawrance argued that Anglo-Saxon women had enjoyed greater social, political, and legal liberties than their later medieval and early modern successors. Between 1847 and 1870 she contributed some sixty articles to the British Quarterly Review, covering topics as diverse as the education and employment of women, the Crystal Palace exhibitions, Elizabethan and Jacobean social life, Anglo-Norman poets, and African explorations. She contributed articles to Macmillan's Magazine, and was a reviewer for The Athenaeum, possibly writing the 1840 review of the first volume of the Stricklands' Lives of the Queens of England, her rivals at that time in women's historical writings. In 1844 she wrote two historical tales and one book review for Hood's Magazine. She also wrote for Dicken’s Household Words in 1854-5. In 1852 she published a novel, The Treasure-Seeker’s Daughter. She never married, dying at her home in Barnsbury Park, London, late in 1875.

See her entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; see also C. Johnstone, "Hannah Lawrance's Historical memoirs of the queens of England," Tait's Magazine, new series, 5 (April 1838), 257–63; Rosemary Mitchell, Picturing the Past: English History in Text and Image, 1830–1870 (Oxford: OUP, 2000); R. A. Maitzen, Gender, Genre and Victorian History Writing (New York: Garland, 1998); and F. Korn, "An Unpublished letter by Thomas Hood: Hannah Lawrance and Hood's Magazine," English Language Notes 18 (March 1981): 192–4.

Works by Hannah Lawrance

The History of Woman in England, and her Influence on Society and Literature, from the Earliest Period

Historical Memoirs of the Queens of England from the Commencement of the Twelfth Century

Flying Coaches

An Excursion Train, before Steam

John Dunton was a Citizen

Treasure-Seeker's Daughter

Cromwell-House, or, Three Scenes in the Life of a Commonwealth's Man

The Belle Sauvage Plot

King Alfred's Return from the Danish camp

The King's Banner-Bearer

Earl Warwick's Seal Ring

The Shearman's Miracle Play: A Tale of the Fourteenth Century

The Dappled Doe: A Convent Legend

The Dying Knight

Trust not to Seeming

The Mint Master of Winchester: A Tale of the Reign of Henry the First

Whatever Betide -- for the Right

Louis XI at Plessis-les-Tours

Lady Jane Beaufort

The Three Vows of Fitz-Aucher: A Legend from the Forest of Essex

The Great Balas Ruby: A Tale of the Reign of Edward the Third