Webb, Maria (1804–73), philanthropist and author, was born at Peartree Hill, near Lisburn, Co. Antrim, youngest child among two sons and one daughter of Thomas Lamb and his wife Dorothy, both members of the Religious Society of Friends. She was largely self-educated. In 1828 she married William Webb and moved to Belfast, where she became involved with various philanthropic activities, including founding a Servants’ Friend Society and an industrial school for girls. A fervent abolitionist, she served as the secretary of the Belfast Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society in the 1840s. In 1847 she directed her efforts towards famine relief by working with the Society of Friends central relief committee. In 1848 she moved with her husband to Dublin, where he joined the drapery business of his brother-in-law Richard Allen (qv). They resided first at the business premises, 52 High St., Dublin, and later moved to Dunville Avenue and then to 7 Palmerston Road.
She published a variety of books which highlighted her interest in the church and in quaker biography: Geography simplified (c.1830s; reprinted 1851); Annotations of Dr D'Aubigne's sketch of the early British church (1857); The Fells of Swarthmoor Hall and their friends (1865; reprinted 1867); and The Penns and Penningtons of the seventeenth century (1865). Poor health, which kept her largely housebound after 1860, allowed her to devote more time to writing, as she was unable to engage actively in her philanthropic pursuits. She died, aged 68, on 8 January 1873, at her home in Palmerston Road. She and her husband had five sons and four daughters: their eldest son, William Henry, drowned in Lough Neagh in 1870.