Lady Harriet Acland

Lady Harriet Acland[1] (née Fox-Strangways; 3 January 1750  21 July 1815) was a British noblewoman, nurse, and diarist. She accompanied her husband to British North America and became celebrated for her personal courage. She is commemorated on one of the bronze reliefs on second floor of the Saratoga Monument[2] in the State of New York.

Lady Harriet Acland
Born3 January 1750 
Died21 July 1815
Spouse(s)John Dyke Acland 
ChildrenElizabeth Acland, Sir John Dyke Acland, 4th/8th Bt. 


She began life as Lady Christian Henrietta Caroline Fox-Strangways, the daughter of Stephen Fox-Strangways, 1st Earl of Ilchester, and his wife, the former Elizabeth Horner.

In 1770, at the age of twenty, she married John Dyke Acland.[3] She and her husband had a daughter, Elizabeth (13 December 1772 – 5 March 1813), who married Henry Herbert, 2nd Earl of Carnarvon.

Lady Harriet travelled with her husband to the Canadas and the Thirteen Colonies when he commanded the 20th Regiment of Foot.[4] At the time of the Battles of Saratoga, during the American Revolutionary War, Lady Harriet heard that her husband had been wounded and travelled through the rebel lines to find him. Her husband, who had been shot through both legs, improved with her careful nursing. The next year they returned to England, where Colonel Acland died at Pixton Park, Dulverton near Exmoor on 31 October 1778.

During the long period of her widowhood, 1778-1815, Lady Harriet remained at Pixton Park, building the lane now known as Lady Harriet Acland's Drive to connect to where her daughter Elizabeth, the Countess of Carnarvon, lived near Wiveliscombe.

Lady Harriet died, aged 65, at Tetton, near Taunton.

American War of Independence

A 1784 engraving by Robert Pollard depicting Lady Harriet Acland on the Hudson River is inscribed as follows:

This amiable Lady accompanied her Husband to Canada in the Year 1776, & during two Campaigns, under went such fatigue & distress as female fortitude was thought incapable of supporting; and once She narrowly escaped with life from her Tent which was set on fire in the Night. The Event here commemorated deserves to be recorded in History. In the unfortunate Action between G. Burgoyne & G. Gates Oct,, 7, 1777, Major Ackland was wounded & made Prisoner, when his Lady received the news She formed the heroic Resolution of delivering herself into the hands of the Enemy that she might attend him during the Captivity For this purpose, with a Letter from G. Burgoyne to G. Gates, accompanied by the Rev. Mr. Brudinell who carried a Flag of Truce, one female servant, & her husbands Valet, she rowed down Hudsons River in an open boat towards the America Camp, but Night coming on before she reached their outposts the Guards on duty refused to receive her & threatened to fire upon her if she moved till morning In this dreadful situation for 7 or 8 dark & cold hours, she was compelled to wait on the Water half dead with anxiety & terror. The morning put an end to her distress, she was receiv'd by Gen. Gates & restored to her husband with that politeness & humanity her sex, quality, & Virtue so justly merited. / See G. Burgoynes Narrative'.


  1. "Lady Christian Henrietta Caroline Acland (née Fox-Strangways; 1750-1815), Diarist". National Portrait Gallery, London.
  2. Stillwater, Mailing Address: 648 Route 32; Us, NY 12170 Phone:670-2985 Saratoga National Historical Park information desk available daily from 9am- 5pm Contact. "Saratoga Monument Virtual Tour part 6 - Saratoga National Historical Park (U.S. National Park Service)".
  3.  Gilman, D. C.; Peck, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "Acland, Christian Henrietta Caroline". New International Encyclopedia. 1 (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead. p. 78. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
  4. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Acland, Christian Henrietta Caroline" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 149.

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