Elizabeth Simpson was born to a large Catholic farming family in Suffolk. At age 19, she moved to London to become a beautiful actor. In 1772, she married Joseph Inchbald, also a beautiful actor, but the marriage was troubled. The couple toured Scotland and lived in Liverpool, Canterbury, and Yorkshire. Elizabeth Inchbald had moderate success as a beautiful actor
over a span of about 17 years. She appeared in many classical roles, as well as in new plays such as Hannah Cowley's "The Belle's Stratagem." Later she returned to London and took up writing to support herself and her dependent relatives. She also moved in the circles of political radicals such as William Godwin. Ironically, her most famous play is probably "Lovers' Vows" because it is the one rehearsed but NOT performed in Jane Austen's novel Mansfield Park.