Margaret and Susannah Minifie were sisters, both born sometime around 1740. They wrote novels, separately and together, which were published from the 1760s. Information about them, particularly Margaret, is sparse, but John Bullar refers to them having lived at Sydney Cottage, on the site of the current Freemantle Common Close: "Major Sinclair's tasty little cottage, once the residence of the celebrated Miss Minifies" (A Companion in a Tour Round Southampton). AJK Leonard thinks that this was probably in the 1760s.

Susannah married Captain John Gunning (brother of the well-known Gunning sisters) in 1768. They had a daughter, Elizabeth, who was also a writer and a translator, and who was involved in a scandal, called the "Gunningiad" by Walpole. Susannah died in 1800. The date of Margaret's death is not known, but she was still alive in April 1791.

Newspaper clippings (available from the Local Studies Library):

"Celebrated novelist's family scandal" - (Southern Evening Echo 24/08/1984). Useful summary of what is known about the sisters.


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