Jane Lister (1645-1726)

Lister’s Sister

Mentions in Pocketbook: My correspondence

Lister’s younger sister, Jane (1645–1726), would marry Hugh Alington, Esq. of Stenigot, Lincolnshire. After being widowed in 1674, she married Sir John Thynne of Egham (d. 1698).

While she was still an adolescent, Jane wrote several letters to Lister when he was a fellow at St. John’s College, Cambridge, and then when he was in France. When Lister left to go abroad, she wrote:

I think you took my heart away with you, for I was so dull after parting from you that I had no Joy of my being so neare London and so continnued tell I reseaued your Letter which put so much life into me that now methinks the towne is very pleasant.

Letter, 13 October ca. 1660s

They obviously had a close relationship; Lister sent her French perfume and books written by Balzac and Scarron, and upon being admonished for not writing, she replied:

if I doe neglect wrighting to you, imagin tis to fetch you ouer to Chide me, which insteed of spouyling our merth would hughly highten it, and make us much more hapy then we are espetially she who is your reall affectionat sister and saruant.

Letter, November ca. 1660s

After Lister’s return to Cambridge, Jane frequently exhorted him to come to Burwell, writing:

Deare Brother doe not be so much in Loue with your Malincholy Cell but Let us haue you at Burwell this winter which would be the greatest plesure in the world and nothing would be so exceptable to her who is the greatest Louer of you.

Letter, 9 November 1668

They continued to correspond throughout their lives, Jane sending Lister solicitous letters after his health as he aged, and he frequently visited her in London.

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