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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!


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muniment room with story 2
muniment room with story 2

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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 Aim of 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.

This is an enormous task 

made more difficult by Bureaucracy

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.


Not least of these is The British Library;

They were fortunate to receive

Dr Glynn's bequest, which included 

William Barrett's working papers,

and Chatterton's manuscripts.

Now 250 years later

& the 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 Bristolians

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 intervene on behalf of Bristol

persuade the BL to allow all of

Chatterton's Manuscripts

To be photographed for this website;

For all to research & enjoy.

Join me and help fulfil the Promise

of the

Chatterton Manuscript Project.

Manuscripts & First Printings 

Presented Chronologically 

with Chatterton's Life

Lambert's Apprenticeship + Manuscripts: C5

3rd July 1767 - 14th April 1770

Moving to London: C6

24/25th April 1770

Shoreditch + Manuscripts: C7

25th April - 31st May 1770

Brooke Street + Manuscripts: C8

1st June - 25th August 1770

Death of Chatterton:  C9

24th / 25th August 1770

Key People:  18th c.

(working on it)

Burgum, Henry.  Pewterer, Musico-Maniac F2

Catcott, Alexander Stopford, Rev,  Author F3

Catcott, Alexander. Vicar of Temple, Author F4


(working on it)

Names in Chatterton's Works

(working on it)

 Direct Access to Manuscripts 

Correspondence with Family & Friends

George Symes Catcott - All Transcripts and Works

Quality of Ms. Images

The Project website is

primarily designed for

PC or Laptop. 

I use Google Docs

to display most Ms. images

Images of Manuscripts 

are high quality

to allow close-up viewing.

On Tablet or Mobile

Select the Desktop option

If you need any help do

 let me know Contact.

Yours, &c. to the end of the chapter .QE.

  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


Whatever that is!

Although he did have a candle

For those dark evenings

More importantly he was 

A Mother's Son

A Cheeky Monkey

A Sister's Brother

A Bristowyan

A Poet!


A Wit.

One of Chatterton's Most Famous Works.

Bristows Tragedy or

The Death of Sr Charles Bawdin

 Was published in the 1776 edition of

'The Annual Register'

The American Declaration of Independence.

Appeared in the Same Volume.

annual register 1776 Beauman Books.jpg

A Review of Chatterton's

Life & Works

is on pages 155 to 165,

while his

Bristows Tragedy

 is on pages 211 to 221.

A total of 21 pages for Chatterton.

The Article Covering 

The Declaration of Independence

runs from pages 261-270

A total of only 10 pages.


A Silly but Fun Fact!

Bristows Tragedy or

the Death of Sr Charles Bawdin

was composed by Chatterton in 1768.

The BIG question:

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

Bristows Tragedy Manuscript

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

is the first poem in Volume 2. of

 Old Ballads, 1784, by Thomas Evans.


Evans goes further and includes

 The Song to Ella in

Volume 1.

Chatterton is not mentioned in either volume.

A new edition of Old Ballads appeared in 1810

but without 'Rowlie's' works.

Thomas Evans 1784.png

Thomas Chatterton

Was A loving Son and Brother,

With an "Accelerated Mentality"

(a 1920s Bristolian phrase?).

It is clear that our Working-Class Lad had

Exceptional and 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!


It is time to reclaim Chatterton

An amazing young poet,

Storyteller,  Journalist,

Playwright, Wit


A bit of a Wag

A Young Villain with Wings.