Richmal Mangnall was born on the 7th March 1769 to James Mangnall (LM022) and his wife Richmal (nee Kay) (LM023). We think she was probably born in Manchester. She was a pupil at a school at Crofton Hall near Wakefield in West Yorkshire and later became a school mistress. Richmal was the author “Historical and Miscellaneous Questions for the Use of Young People” generally known as “Mangnall’s Questions”. This became a prominent textbook in the education of English girls in the first half of the 19th century. Basically it contained information that it was thought “proper” that young ladies should know the answers to. It has been described as a “Comprehensive summary of universal history : with a biography of distinguished persons from the earliest period to the present time : to which is appended an epitome of heathen mythology, natural philosophy, general astronomy and physiolgy”. The book was adapted for use in American schools as well.

There is a picture of a watercolour painting of Richmal from 1814 by John Downman on the Internet but unfortunately copyright does not allow me to put it on my web site.

One of Richmal’s students in 1814/15 was Eliza Alderson. On the right are pictures of two small handwritten certificates awarded to Eliza and signed by Richmal. They are dated April 5th 1814 and October 5th 1815. These were supplied by John Skelton who would be interested in any information relating to Eliza Alderson.

Richmal died on the 1st May 1820 at Crofton Hall.

In 1823 Maria and Elizabeth Brontë went to Crofton Hall at Wakefield. The fees were about £28 a year which was too much for the family so in July 1824 they moved to a school at Cowan Bridge where they were later joined by Charlotte and Emily. Further information about the Brontës can be found on the Brontë Parsonage Museum web site.

There is a web site for the village of Crofton where Crofton Hall is situated including a photo of Crofton Hall and more photos.

[Last updated 21 Mar 2003]