Cudworth, Lady Masham
Lady Masham was the daughter of a Cambridge Platonist, Ralph Cudworth.
During her childhood, Damaris was educated extensively about her father's
work, and she also read a great deal of French.
In 1685, she married Sir Francis Masham, who had eight children from a
previous marriage. Together, they had a child and named him Francis
The most significant relationship in her life was with John Locke, whom
she met at the age of twenty-three. They wrote lengthy letters to
each other, but when he returned to England, they were able to get together
frequently. Locke was highly interested in educating Masham's son,
and upon his death, he left him his estate.
Lady Masham's writings include about forty highly personal letters to John
Locke, Discourse Concerning the Love of God (this was published
anonymously), and Occasional Thoughts in Reference to a Virtuous
or Christian Life. She argues that our potential love for
God stems from our "sensory ideas of his creation." She also stresses
the importance of the need for people to be secure in their religious moral
conduct. Damaris also emphasized the importance of education for
women and support for their roles as mothers. 6
Return to Home