Book, 'Old-English History'; Edward Freeman (1823-1892); 1871; XEC.2852


Book, 'Old-English History'


Second revised edition


Edward Freeman (1823-1892)

Maker Role


About this object

This book was given to Margaret Edith Lush on 29 September 1973 by the Anglican Bishop John Richardson Selwyn and his wife. Margaret Edith, known as Edith to her family, was the daughter of the Anglican minister Vicesimus Lush, who served in the Auckland and Waikato regions. This gift shows how intimately acquainted the Lush family was with the upper echelons of the New Zealand clergy society.

Books, like this one, were an important part of Victorian life in an era where there was no television, computers or radio. Books were a vital source of entertainment and provided hours of enjoyment. They were also important educational resources, especially for young girls who may have not had the opportunity to attend school.

During the 19th century, educating girls was seen by many parents to be fruitless. This was because women were expected to marry, have children and run a household, all of which did not need formal education. (1) However Edith’s parents stressed the importance of education and endeavoured to educate all their children, including their four daughters. (2) As the Anglican minister of the Howick parish in Auckland, Vicesimus Lush established a school at the All Saints Church in 1851. According to his journals, the school roll included 15 girls and 12 boys and his wife helped in teaching the girls during the afternoon. Edith was largely taught by her father, her older sister Blannie, and governesses, but she also received lessons in French, German and art from other people in the community. Therefore, Edith and her sisters received a higher education than most other girls of their era.

(1) Anne Else, ‘Gender inequalities – Education,’ Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand,
(2) Gillian Nelson, ‘”In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength”: Vicesimus Lush and his journals, 1850-1882,’ Master’s thesis Victoria University of Wellington, 2012, p. 28.

For more information about the Lush family and Ewelme Cottage, which is cared for by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, visit our website.

Medium and Materials



17 x 12 x 3cm

Date Made


Place Made

London, England


MacMillan and Co. (estab. 1843)

Publication Date


Publication Place

London, England

Credit Line

Collection of Ewelme Cottage, Heritage New Zealand Historic Pouhere Taonga

Object Type


Object number


Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved

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