Queer Places:
Brook House, 14 Royston St, Potton, Sandy SG19 2LP, UK
British Cemetery Funchal, Funchal Municipality, Madeira Region, Portugal

(Margaret) Emily Shore (1819–1839) was a young English diarist.

Margaret Emily Shore was born in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk on Christmas Day, 1819 to Rev. Thomas Shore and Margaret Ann Twopenny. She was the eldest of 5 children: having two younger sisters, Arabella (b. 1822); Louisa (b. 1824), and brothers, Richard (b. 1821), and Mackworth (b. 1825). Emily lived for a while at Brook House, Potton, Bedfordshire.

Emily kept a journal from the age of eleven until her death from consumption at the age of nineteen. Her diary is less a diary and more a journal, as she herself called it: recording her thoughts on a wide range of subjects.[1] Margaret – who went by the name of Emily – was credited with educating her two younger sisters, Arabella and Louisa Catherine Shore.[2] Emily Shore moved to Funchal, Madeira, with her family at the end of her life in search of a healthier climate. She died there in 1839. Her final journal is a descriptive account of life in Funchal. Extracts of her journal were published by her sisters Louisa and Arabella in 1891, more than fifty years after her death. A second edition was published in 1898. Today only some parts of her journal are extant, but in 1991 it was discovered that Arabella had left two of her sister's journals to the British Museum. These journals are now in America as they were not delivered at the time. These journals reveal that Emily's autobiography was, to a degree, converted into a biography by her then elderly sisters.[3]

In 1837, Emily Shore wrote of her friend Matilda Warren, “I love her more and more. . . . It is difficult to stop my pen when once I begin to write of her.” The two women argued fine points of religious doctrine but concluded “that, after all, we agreed in loving each other very dearly.” One of adolescent Emily Shore’s several intimates, Elizabeth, gave her a “chain made of her beautiful rich brown hair” before leaving England, which Shore considered a token of her friend’s affection and looked forward to displaying as a sign of social distinction: “I have generally worn a pretty little chain of bought hair, and when people have asked me ‘whose hair is that?’ I have been mortified at being obliged to answer ‘Nobody’s.’ Now, when asked the same question, I shall be able to say it is the hair of my best and dearest friend”. Emily Shore, whose Bedfordshire Anglican family was so proper they did not allow her to read Byron, described in a diary later published by her sisters the “heartfelt pleasure” she obtained from a visit to her friend Miss Warren’s room: “She was sitting up in bed, looking so sweet and lovely that I could not take my eyes off her. . . . She made me sit on her bed, and kissed me many times, and was kinder to me than ever [and] held my hand clasped in hers”. The editor of Emily Shore’s journals noted that when Shore wrote of loving Matilda Warren her diary was also “filled most especially with her passionate love” for a woman named Mary. Emily Shore wrote of an “exquisitely, perfectly beautiful” woman she saw while traveling with her family in Hastings who impressed her so much she devoted over a page to anatomizing the unknown’s features, expression, and dress. Emily Shore rhapsodized in an 1838 journal entry about how her friend Mary combined actual and angelic beauty: “Oh, Mary! You are still to me something like a fairy dream, too beautiful to be real— a being so pure, so perfect, so lovely, even here so angelically fascinating, that I can hardly believe heaven can add a charm to her; and yet I can actually feel and know that she loves me amongst those she loves most dearly."

Emily Shore died of consumption on July 7, 1839, at Funchal, Madeira, and was buried there in the Strangers' burial-ground aka New British Burial Ground on 9th July 1839. The Holy Trinity English Church had been at 22 Quebra Costas since the early 1800’s. Emily Shore had certainly worshipped there. The cemetery is up the hill opposite the bishop’s house, behind a high stone wall and big green gates. Originally Margaret Emily Shore was buried on plot 66, but today the tomb is no more visible.

The University of Virginia Press have digitized Emily Shore's diaries to show how her sisters censored her original thoughts, what Emily Shore herself censored in her diary, and what was actually cut out of the original diary.[3] Alternative country band The Handsome Family recorded a song based on the diaries, "Emily Shore 1819–1839", on their 1996 album Milk and Scissors.


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