Poet - Storyteller - Playwright - Journalist Radical -Militant - Bristowyan
So many portraits - none true!
The Chatterton Manuscript Project
Breaks through the guff to get to the truth!
This delightful pre 1918 postcard tells the story of Chatterton's 'discovery' of the 'Rowley' manuscripts - which he claimed were among many ancient church documents stored in the coffers of the Muniment Room above the North Porch of St Mary Redcliffe church - and onward to his sad demise pictured in the pose from Wallis's painting, 'The Death of Chatterton.' The Chatterton Manuscript Project goes a little deeper, taking many hundreds of pages and images to tell the full story from original documents.
The Chatterton Manuscript Project:
To present a complete view of
Chatterton's Life & Works
through Autograph Manuscripts
& Important Early Printings.
The project has grown to include
Biographies & Bibliographies
Associations & Influences
& much more besides.
Bristol, as the birth place of Chatterton,
is entitled, at the very least, to have copies
of all of Chatterton's Manuscripts.
Instead, the manuscripts are hidden away
in the vaults of wealthy Institutions, where ownership rather than education is key.
I am hopeful that The British Library,
who were fortunate to receive
Dr Glynn's bequest, which included
William Barrett's working papers,
and Chatterton's manuscripts,
appreciates the need to decentralise
by making the provinces central
to their future planning;
too much in one location limits
our understanding of the past
and undermines a balanced future.
It is 250 years since the BL
got their hands on Chatterton
&, for the moment,
his Manuscripts remain hidden
(to the vast majority of us).
The people of Bristol look forward to
Thanking the British Library for
Presenting copies of all Chattertonian Manuscripts to commemorate the
250th anniversary of the death
of Chatterton (2020 delayed).
I write this on behalf of all plebeians
who do not have accreditation,
or a letter of introduction
or, indeed, money to waste on
overnight trips to London.
I have appealed to Marvin Rees,
Mayor of Bristol
to join the project & encourage
The British Library to allow
all of Chatterton's Manuscripts
to be photographed for this website;
For all to research & enjoy.
The titles of Chatterton's works are listed in full on this website and can be accessed via the links shown below. Many links already have either the original manuscript or an early printing uploaded to it. I work on the project on a daily basis, with much still to do. [.QE!.]
Chatterton's Life & Works
Listed Chronologically along with Manuscripts & Early Printings
Key People during Chatterton's Life
Catcott, Alexander Stopford
(Vicar of Temple, Author)
Key People after August 25th 1770
working on it)
Direct Access to Manuscripts
A Potted History of Chatterton
Do you Know Anything
of the Chatterton Story?
I know it is full of confusion
& conflicting views!
I know he was born in Bristol
& I know he did forgeries
and killed himself in London.
The Beginning & The End All neatly wrapped up!
..and so to bed,
Where Chatterton laid his head
Never to rise again!
On the night of the 24th August 1770,
Chatterton swallowed a Potion
To cure a commotion
He then laid his head
On the pillow of his pallet bed
He was 12 weeks short
Of his 18th birthday!
But that is not the end
Not even close to the end;
In fact it was the start of it all!
Chatterton became famously famous
Dozens of books were writ
Plays have been played
From Spain to France
From England to America
Paintings were painted
Engravings were engraved
Pots were turned -it's true, I have one
& Handkerchiefs were printed.
Chatterton was the Talk of the Town
& Country (magazine)
His story went viral worldwide.
A Poor Uneducated Working Class
Charity School Boy Pfft!
Produce such works - What!
He became the Darling of the Romantics
A true Influencer of his own times & beyond.
He Created a Medieval world
Complete with Buildings
& Heroes and Villains &
Adapted the English language
To suit his new World
All without the Help of
RPG or CGI
Whatever that is!
Although he did have a candle
For those dark evenings
More importantly he was
A Mother's loving Son
A Cheeky Monkey
A Sister's loving Brother
An amazing Poet!
Playwright & Wit
A Bit of a Wag
Our Working-Class Lad had
Exceptional & Extraordinary Abilities
But we should also note that
His life is as important as his works
For to truly appreciate the song
You must also appreciate the singer!
A Tiny Taste of Tom Chatterton's Works
This is One of his most Famous Works.
Bristows Tragedy or
The Death of Sr Charles Bawdin
Was printed in the 1776 edition of
'The Annual Register'
Published in 1777.
The American Declaration of Independence.
Appeared in the Same Volume.
Analyse, Research, Consider & Decide
Is the following Manuscript the original?
Or is it a copy by an unknown hand?
Some people say original, others say copy!
Compare the handwriting - what's your opinion?
This is a good one to investigate & research
Click the image to read more...
or the Death of Sr Charles Bawdin
was composed by Chatterton in 1768.
Fourteen years after Chatterton died,
his works were still being published as Rowley's.
The following is an example of this.
The Execution of Sir Charles Bawdin
(aka Bristows Tragedy or
the Death of Sr Chairles Bawdin)
It is the first poem in Volume 2. of
Old Ballads, 1784, by Thomas Evans.
Evans also includes
The Song to Ella in
As far as the editor is concerned,
Rowley is the author.
Chatterton is not mentioned in the book.
A new edition of Old Ballads appeared in 1810
but without 'Rowlie's' works.
The editor had realised his mistake.