Cellier, Elizabeth (fl. 1668–1688)

King, Helen (2004). Cellier, Elizabeth (fl. 1668–1688). In: Matthews, Henry Colin Gray and Harrison, Brian Howard eds. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Volume 10. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, pp. 807–808.

URL: http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/4990?docPos=...


Cellier, Elizabeth (fl. 1668–1688), midwife, has been linked to the Dormer family of Buckinghamshire, while her enemies claimed that she was a brazier's daughter from Canterbury. Cellier said that she converted to Catholicism out of loyalty to the crown, after her father and brother died on the same day during the civil war. Nothing is known of her training as a midwife, although from her writings it appears that she owned Jacques Guillemeau's Child-Birth, or, The Happy Deliverie of Women (1612). Nor is it known whether Cellier was licensed; if, as is usually assumed, she served the Catholic nobility in London, a licence may have been irrelevant. The role of midwife enabled her to move freely about London by day or night, and it is known that Lady Powis used Cellier to carry messages. Although Cellier claimed that her advice had led to Mary of Modena's successful pregnancy in 1687–8, she was not present at the birth of the prince of Wales.

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