Charlotte Payne-Townshend 1867

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Charlotte Payne-Townshend was an Irish political activist living in Britain. She is perhaps best known for her marriage to famed Irish writer, George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950). A native of County Cork, she was born on January 20th 1857 to wealthy parents. An independent woman, she travelled Europe extensively before arriving in England in 1895. Here she became a member of the socialist Fabian society, of which Shaw was also a member. Though their love affair had a rocky start, her place in Shaw's heart was cemented when she returned from a tour of Europe to nurse him through a bout of serious illness. The two were married in 1898. 

Charlotte was a philanthropist who also worked as a translator. She also acted as her husband's secretary and agent. She was an avid supporter of Irish Home Rule, and it is generally accepted that it was her influence that led Shaw to publicly defend Roger Casement. 

Charlotte Payne-Townshend was a woman before her time. She abhorred the idea that a woman's worth was defined by her status as a mother and as a result was adament that she would not have children. She was a financial supporter of the feminist review The Freewoman.

She died in 1943 of Paget's disease. After her husband's death in 1950, her ashes were mixed with his and the two were scattered together in their garden. 

Additional Information
Date of Birth 20th Jan 1867  
Date of Death 12th Sep 1943  



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