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Darwin Correspondence Project

Lucy Swift (1771–1792)
Lucy Hardcastle (1793–1834)


Botanist and school teacher. Daughter of Lamech Swift of Derby, clerk to the collector of excise, and his wife, Dorothy Kinder, who married in Derby in 1770. Her education alongside Mary and Susanna Parker was supervised by Erasmus Darwin: CD speculated without evidence that she also was his grandfather’s natural daughter. Married John Hardcastle, tea dealer in Birmingham, in Derby in 1792. Her two daughters were baptised in Birmingham: Antonietta (1792–1847), who married William Eaton Mousley in Derby in 1816, and Mary, who married Francis Boott in Derby in 1820. Ran a girls’ school in Derby from at least 1796 until the 1830s. Wrote An introduction to the elements of the Linnaean system of botany (1830).


Birmingham, England, Church of England baptisms, marriages and burials, 1538–1812 (, accessed 21 June 2021)

Correspondence vol. 12, letter to J. D. Hooker, [10 and 12 January 1864], letter from J. D. Hooker, [23 November 1864]

Derby Mercury, 23 June 1796, p. 1, and 8 May 1833, p. 3

Derbyshire, England, Church of England burials, 1813–1991 (, accessed 21 June 2021)

Derbyshire, England, Church of England marriages and banns, 1754–1932 (, accessed 5 December 2018

R. Desmond 1994

King-Hele 1999, p. 105

Powers 2020, pp. 53–6

Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London 8 (1865): xxiii–xxvii


Desmond, Ray. 1994. Dictionary of British and Irish botanists and horticulturists including plant collectors, flower painters and garden designers. New edition, revised with the assistance of Christine Ellwood. London: Taylor & Francis and the Natural History Museum. Bristol, Pa.: Taylor & Francis.

King-Hele, Desmond. 1999. Erasmus Darwin. A life of unequalled achievement. London: Giles de la Mare Publishers.

Powers, Jonathan. 2020. ‘Evolution’ evolving. Part 1: Dr Erasmus Darwin FRS. 2d edition. Derby: Quandary Books.