|Birth:||22nd March, 1808|
|Death:||15th June, 1877|
Caroline was born in London, England to Thomas Sheridan and Caroline Henrietta Callander. In 1817, her father died in South Africa, where he was serving as the colonial secretary at the Cape of Good Hope. In 1827, Caroline married the Hon. George Chapple Norton, barrister, M.P. for Guildford, and the younger brother of Lord Grantley. Norton encouraged his wife to use her connections to advance his career. It was entirely due to her influence that in 1831 he was made a Metropolitan Police Magistrate. During these years, Caroline turned to prose and poetry as a means of releasing her inner emotions. Her first book, The Sorrows of Rosalie (1829), was well received. The Undying One (1830), a romance founded upon the legend of the Wandering Jew soon followed.
In 1836, Caroline left her husband. Caroline managed to subsist on her earnings as an author, but Norton claimed these as his own, arguing successfully in court that, as her husband, Caroline's earnings were legally his. Paid nothing by her husband, her earnings confiscated, Caroline used the law to her own advantage. Running up bills in her husband's name, Caroline told the creditors when they came to collect, that if they wished to be paid, they could sue her husband. Not long after their separation, Norton abducted their sons, hiding them with relatives in Scotland and later in Yorkshire, refusing to tell Caroline anything of their whereabouts. Norton accused Caroline of being involved in an ongoing affair with her close friend, Lord Melbourne, the then Whig Prime Minister. Initially, Norton demanded £10,000 from Melbourne, but Melbourne refused to be blackmailed, and Norton instead took the Prime Minister to court.
Norton continued to prevent Caroline from seeing her three sons, and blocked her from receiving a divorce. According to British law in 1836, children were the legal property of their father, and there was little Caroline could do to regain custody.
Caroline finally became free with the death of George Norton in 1875. She married an old friend, Scottish historical writer and politician Sir W. Stirling Maxwell in March 1877. Caroline died three months later.
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