Williams, Jane

BORN 21 Jan 1798, London: Marylebone - DIED 8 Nov 1884, London
REAL NAME Cleveland, Jane
GRAVE LOCATION London: Kensal Green Cemetery, Harrow Road, Kensal Green (088/PS (18029))

Jane Williams was still married to her first husband, an army officer named John Edward Johnson, in the days that she lived with Edgar Williams in Italy. There the couple befriended Percy Bysshe and Mary Shelley and they frequently met with Lord Byron. After Shelley and Williams died together at sea in 1822, Jane returned to England and moved in with Shelley's friend Thomas Jefferson Hogg.

Jane dropped hints to others that Mary had been incapable as a wife to Shelley and that in the end Shelley didn't love her anymore. When Mary found out what Jane had said in 1827 it hurted her badly. On 11 Feb 1828 there was a confrontation, but Jane burst into tears and the meeting was ended.

Jane and Hogg had a son and a daughter by Williams and two daughters by Hogg. Hogg died in 1862 and Jane outlived him until 1884. She was the last of the Shelley circle to die, since by then Claire Clairmont (1879) and Edward John Trelawny (1881) had passed away as well.

Related persons
• knew Byron, George Noel Gordon
• was the lover of Hogg, Thomas Jefferson
• was a friend of Shelley, Mary
• was a friend of Shelley, Percy Bysshe
• knew Trelawny, Edward John
• was the lover of Williams, Edward Ellerker

1821/1/16: Jane and Edward Williams arrive in Pisa
They met the Shelleys on 19 Jan and the couples soon became friends.
1821/12/16: Byron shoots a small twig in two from 14 feet distance
This was written in his diary by Edward Williams, who was a witness. Mary Shelley and Jane Williams were also there.
1822/1/14: Edward John Trelawny arrives in Pisa
He was a friend of the Williams family and he admired Lord Byron. He soon met the Shelleys.
1822/4/30: The Shelleys and Claire Clairmont move to Casa Magni, San Terenzo
The Williams family joined them one day later.
1822/7/8: Percy Bysshe Shelley drowns in the Gulf of Spezia
He and Edward Williams were sailing back home to Mary Shelley and Jane Williams from Leghorn, where they had met Leigh Hunt and his family. Allthough a storm was rising they left in Shelley's small boat the Don Juan. Only ten days later their bodies were found on the beach.
1822/9/11: Mary Shelley leaves Pisa to tracel to Casa Negroto, Genoa
Jane Williams travelled with her and continued to London from Genoa.
1823/8/29: Mary Shelley attends a theatre performance of "Frankenstein"
Her father william Godwin was also there. He had already witnessed the premiere on 27 Jul 1823. Jane Williams and William Godwin jr. also attended. The venue was the English Opera House Royal and the adaption was by Richard Brinsley Peake.
1825/2/26: Mary Shelley, Willam Godwin and Pietro Gamba see Edmund Kean as Othello
Jane Williams was also there. Gamba was in England to discuss the publication of his book "A Narrative of Lord Byron's Last Journey to Greece" with publisher Murray.
1827/7/13: Mary Shelley finds out that her friend Jane Williams has betrayed her
Jane was Mary's best friend, but Jane had spread malicious rumours about Mary behind her back. One of the things Jane said was that she had treated Shelley badly during his last year. Jane told this to Leigh Hunt and T.J. Hogg.
1828/2/11: Confrontation between Mary Shelley and Jane Williams
Jane had spread stories about Mary and Mary told her that she had found out. Jane started crying and the conversation was terminated. Mary sent Jane a letter a few days later in wich she described how badly Jane had hurt her.

• Rees, Joan, Shelley's Jane Williams, William Kimber, London, 1985


The grave of Jane Williams and T.J. Hogg at Kensal Green Cemetery, London. Her daughter Prudentia Sarah and her first husband Thomas James Arnold were buried here as well.
Picture by Androom (10 Aug 1997)


Willink, Carel

Published: 1 Jan 2006
Last update: 17 Apr 2017