Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Chatterton, Thomas, poet, was born in 1752 at Bristol, a few months after his father's death. After attending Colston's Bluecoat school, he went as apprentice to an attorney at the age of fourteen. After hoaxing his usher, and making five shillings out of a made-up pedigree, he hoaxed the whole of Bristol in 1768 with a description of the opening of Bristol old bridge "from an old manuscript" which he professed to have found in St. Mary Redcliffe church, Bristol. In 1769 he approached Sir Horace Walpole, sending him a copy of The Ryse of Peyncteynge, written by T. Rowlie, 1469, for Master Canynge. Walpole, who was then engaged upon his Anecdotes of Painters, was charmed with this, and nearly committed himself. Losing his situation, Chatterton, in 1770, removed to London, and was well received amongst the publishers. His prospects at first were fair, and he worked hard with his pen. At length, however, his means began to give way, and on August 24th, 1770, losing hope, penniless and hungry, he shut himself in his room, destroyed his papers, and took arsenic. He was found dead next morning, and was buried in the pauper's pit attached to the city workhouse, Shoe Lane. His chief poetical productions are those that were published under the pseudonym of Rowley, and written while he was still at Bristol, and therefore but a boy. They include Elinoure and Juga, written while he was at Colston's school, Bristowe Tragedy, AElla, a Tragycal Interlude, The Battle of Hastings, etc. These are among his spurious antiques. His modern poems are of singular beauty. and place him alongside of Keats in English literature.