David Love: Loss and Later Life By Iona Scanlan and Elizabeth Rigby

As Mr. David Love approached adulthood, the turbulent misfortunes of his childhood followed him. Love experienced an incredible amount of loss within his life, which he documented throughout his ballads and poetic verses. He heard of his father’s ‘happy death’ (1823, 82), five years after their reconciliation, which provided significant closure for Love. On the 15th of April 1774, he married his first wife Elizabeth Higgin in Airth, Sterling Scotland. After their happy wedding, David Love was reluctant to leave his wife. He describes how it was ‘a great pain for [him] to think of travelling.’ (1823, 29). Elizabeth Higgin followed Love through his career in the fencible army and bore five of his children throughout their marriage. After her health rapidly deteriorated, Love had reprinted his book to sell and pay for inevitable funeral charges. Tragically, Elizabeth Thompson died aged 51 and was ‘decently buried in Rugby church-yard’ (83). From the grief he suffered after his wife’s death, Love produced a catalogue of verses which he continued to sell to earn a living. Following her death, Love goes onto recount his own near-death experience, in the memoir. He mentions how: ‘At about the age of eighteen, myself and three other youths, under the same roof, were seized with a raging fever, the other three died; I recovered after a long-term illness.’ (88). Arguably, this was what turned David Love towards his religious faith, to help him cope with the prospect of death.  

Between travelling and losing his first wife, Love continued to produce and sell his work around the United Kingdom. He proceeded on his religious journey and ventured into Nottingham, where he had ‘the first sight of [his] second wife’ (101). Mary Faulkner was a widow, and she and Love married in Duffield, Derbyshire shortly after their meeting, on the 20th of July 1807. On a trip to Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Love was selling his papers whereby a crowd began to surround him. He was then issued a warning by two police officers due to a noise complaint. He continued to sell in this way and was consequently arrested and thrown in prison. Love mentions how he ‘got [his] liberty in the morning’ (108).  

Marriage certificate between David Love and his second wife Mary Faulkner: https://britishheritage.com/travel/travel-englands-coaching-inns

Following his short incarceration, Love was imprisoned for a second time two days later. Two days prior to him and his wife arriving in Durham, a house was broken into with many articles stolen. Each lodging house was searched, and no travelers were found apart from Love and his wife. Love was then immediately seized and put into prison. He describes the contents of the prison to be: ‘a dark dungeon, no bed or straw could I find, but the damp floor.’ (108). The following morning, Love was released; he and his wife were ordered never to return to the town of Durham.  

Shortly after this encounter, Mary Love became extremely ill with cramps. She later passed away, leaving Love devastated. He returned to Nottingham to sell ‘religious tracts, and papers on anything new.’ (116). Here Love saw who was to become his third and final wife. Love mentions how he had asked for her hand in marriage before marrying his second wife, however, she was unwilling. Despite her reluctance, Elizabeth and David Love married on the 21st of May 1810, in Nottingham. While living a comfortable, happy, and peaceful life through their first eighteen months of marriage, Love and his third wife Elizabeth experienced some turmoil. They became in little debt each month and consequently had to sell their furniture to make ends meet. After a turbulent period and five children later, Love and his family settled in Nottingham where he spent his remaining days.  


Love, David. 1823. The Life, Adventures and Experiences of David Love. Sutton and Son: Nottingham. Accessed Online: 25.03.21. https://books.googleusercontent.com/books/content?req=AKW5QadE0sXiIMDzdWOoNIxEl6V6czqc66uOKaplOgPrXBWFP3kPovmDzcq5O4Xt7RpZv6SktOs3hhCswk9SGw1JETYpyf03dn_tK-lpQeFt1kSeiJ2eBS6S18-HlMUqwwg2Z5AvBQRMyU657qzBVEBjCvuZPQHAHnhgfhZXUZR45ymwdRq3L-n4Hn_rlK6EziWzCJC-BBcLZGdifMFSjfcTdxLT-wFaTJ-ieDgN_rRbTKfv7rWUIYimBB_7rdVEgY2AkxpZmmaHo14o8EV6hzklmLiJ5SgXHtSM53Xf5dI1plpJWHkT31Q


Article about David Love from Ancestry. Accessed Online 27.04.21: https://www.ancestry.co.uk/cs/ancestry-family?ancid=yejljd5jdi&pgrid=26360187430&ptaid=aud-850517474560%3akwd-29052520&s_kwcid=ancestry&gclid=CjwKCAjw7J6EBhBDEiwA5UUM2jqOsKNPOaVpabn73ATYIgS5lphaygmJpTvneE3OAN9_Lu1R-JxUCBoCEg0QAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds&o_xid=108304&o_lid=108304&o_sch=Paid+Search+Brand

Marriage certificate between David Love and his second wife Mary Faulkner Accessed Online 27.04.21: https://www.ancestry.co.uk/cs/ancestry-family?ancid=yejljd5jdi&pgrid=26360187430&ptaid=aud-850517474560%3akwd-29052520&s_kwcid=ancestry&gclid=CjwKCAjw7J6EBhBDEiwA5UUM2jqOsKNPOaVpabn73ATYIgS5lphaygmJpTvneE3OAN9_Lu1R-JxUCBoCEg0QAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds&o_xid=108304&o_lid=108304&o_sch=Paid+Search+Brand

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