Hessel, Phoebe

BORN 1713, London: Stepney - DIED 12 Dec 1821, Brighton, East Sussex
BIRTH NAME Smith, Phoebe
GRAVE LOCATION Brighton, East Sussex: St. Nicholas' Churchyard

The story goes that Phoebe Hessel enlisted in the army to be with her lover and she served as a soldier in the West Indies and in Gibraltar. both were wounded during the Battle of the Fontenoy in 1745. After she revealed that she was a woman they were discharged and they married. They settled in Plymouth and eight of their nine children died in infancy. The surviving child died at sea. Another version was that her father was a soldier who took her with him when she was still a child.

After Golding's dead she moved to Brighton. There she married Thomas Hessel, a fisherman. He died around 1793 when she was 80. She sold fish in and around Brighton for a living. She gave evidence that helped to convict the criminal James Rooke who was executed afterwards. When she was very old she sold food on a street corner near the Brighton Pavillion and by that time she was well known in the city. The Prince Regent granted her a small pension in 1808 and she attended the parade in honour of his coronation in Brighton in 1820. She died in 1821, aged 108.


The grave of Phoebe Hessel at St. Nicholas' Churchyard, Brighton.
Picture by Androom (07 Feb 2012)


Wikipedia (EN): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoebe_Hessel

Heuser, Loni

Published: 15 Apr 2018
Last update: 09 Mar 2022