Ascension Parish Burial Ground Cambridge, City of Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England
Frances Crofts Cornford (née Darwin; 30 March 1886 – 19 August 1960) was an English poet; because of the similarity of her first name, her father's and her husband's, she was known to her family before her marriage as "FCD" and after her marriage as "FCC" and her husband Francis Cornford was known as "FMC". Her father Sir Francis Darwin, a son of Charles Darwin, yet another 'Francis', was known to their family as "Frank", or as "Uncle Frank".
Rupert Brooke was closer to a group of friends, who Virginia Woolf called the ‘neo-pagans’, possibly due to their love of the outdoors. This group included Rupert Brooke, Ethel Pye, Katherine Cox, the Olivier sisters (Brynhild Olivier, Noël Oliveri, Margery Oliver and Daphne Oliver), Jacques and Gwen Raverat, Frances Cornford and Justin Brooke. Despite sharing the same surname, Justin Brooke was not a relative of Rupert’s.
Frances Cornford was the daughter of the botanist Francis Darwin and Newnham College fellow Ellen Wordsworth Crofts (1856-1903), and born into the Darwin—Wedgwood family. She was a granddaughter of the British naturalist Charles Darwin. Her older half-brother was the golf writer Bernard Darwin. She was brought up in Cambridge, among a dense social network of aunts, uncles, and cousins, and was educated privately. In 1909, Frances Darwin married Francis Cornford, a classicist and poet. They had five children: Helena Cornford (1913–1996), married Joseph L. Henderson in 1934; John Cornford (1915–1936), a poet and Communist who was killed in the Spanish Civil War; Christopher Cornford (1917–1993), an artist; writer Hugh Wordsworth Cornford (1921–1997), medical doctor; Ruth Clare (1924–1992), married Cecil Hall Chapman, the son of Sydney Chapman in 1947.
Frances Cornford is buried at the Parish of the Ascension Burial Ground in Cambridge, where she is in the same grave as her father Sir Francis Darwin. Her mother Ellen Wordsworth Crofts, is buried in St. Andrews Church's churchyard in Girton, Cambridgeshire. Her husband, Francis, was cremated at Cambridge Crematorium on 6 January 1943.
Frances Cornford published several books of verse, including her debut (as "F.C.D"), The Holtbury Idyll (1908), Poems (1910), Spring Morning (1915), Autumn Midnight (1923), and Different Days (1928). Mountains and Molehills (1935) was illustrated with woodcuts by her cousin Gwen Raverat. One of Frances Cornford's poems was a favourite of Philip Larkin and his lover Maeve Brennan. "All Souls' Night" uses the superstition that a dead lover will appear to a still faithful partner on that November date. Maeve, many years after Larkin's death, would re-read the poem on All Souls. Cornford is possibly best remembered for her triolet poem "To a Fat Lady Seen from the Train" in Poems of 1910. The first lines of this poem were spoken by a character in Agatha Christie's 1939 novel Murder is Easy.
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