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Books and Magazines Used by Chatterton

This page will contain details of all of the books used by Chatterton  (to the best of our knowledge).

Click a title to view it.

(.QE!.) Much more to do and working on it. Click the links above to see how it's going. 

Books and Magazines read by Chatterton

An Universal Etymological English Dictionary

By Nathan Bailey

Firstly, let me say that I make no apology for digressing from my subject, but there is a link; yes, it might be tenuous, but it is simply too entertaining to ignore.

It seems that Nathan Bailey's Dictionary is an important and influential book. It was shipped well beyond the shores of England and was used by the family of Abraham Lincoln; as well as by the Chatterton family.  It is said that Thomas Chatterton used the dictionary extensively when creating his Rowley works.

A note from (QE!): This project is all about presenting original documents and key books, with a little background information when needed.  For these reasons, I will not be going into any depth re the life or works of Chatterton - I leave that to the academics; and in any case I see it as a job well done by the huge number of biographies, bibliographies, and the many volumes containing Chatterton's works, which are all listed in the project - when I say all, I mean the books that are available to read online. I will, in due course, list the books of eminent Chattertonians such as Prof. Nick Groom.

Bailey's Dictionary 1751 bcc.jpg

The 1751 edition from the bookcase of QE!  Click the image to read an online version from 1763, which includes H. E. Barker's headed  letter referring to Abraham Lincoln. 


The Dictionary Society of North America has an article on this subject. Click the image to read more....

Where is  Chatterton's copy of this dictionary?

The article about the 'Lincoln' dictionary mentions that after further research on the book they 'discovered the name Thomas faintly inscribed on the front endpaper' and, 'Although the title page is missing, we have also been able to date the edition to 1770 by comparing it with other copies.'

There was a Thomas in the Lincoln family, so it is clear that the 'Thomas' they found inscribed in the dictionary, along with the date '1770,' cannot be Chatterton, as he was using his copy of the dictionary before 1770. It is also likely that Chatterton's copy of this dictionary belonged to his father, so his dictionary would date to before 1752. 

The implication promulgated  by H. E. Barker, who was definitely a bit of a romantic and quite a storyteller, seems to be that the bullet hole in the cover of the book, saved someone's life (Abraham Lincoln perhaps? Oh the romance of it all!), but this is also impossible, as the dictionary is quite thick and not something you would carry about with you, and certainly not in your pocket - it is quite a lumpy little thing!

Dartmouth ship Navarino in Bailey.jpg
Dartmouth ship Navarino in Bailey 2.jpg

HMS Dartmouth is the ship directly behind the two ships boats, and to the left of the two Fire Brigs.

This edition of Bailey's Dictionary (title page is missing), was carried by Mr Harry, the boatswain, onboard the ship HMS Dartmouth. During 1827 they faced a truly horrendous engagement against the 'Turks,' which cost the lives of a thousand or more men and the loss of over 60 ships read more.....

The book is for sale on Ebay, raising funds for The Salvation Army, click the link to buy the book, or to read more about it...


(.QE!.) Analysis: 


The title page is missing making it difficult to date the book (was the page removed for this reason); An inscription / annotation of this type is usually at the front of a book; 

The inscription is unlikely to be a fabrication as the book is priced at only £129.99; The writing and phrasing is of the period; The date of 1830 (looks more like 1330, but that is how eights and threes were sometimes written) is an approximation with the battle taking place in 1827;

Conclusion: All in all, the inscription imbues the book with the romance of a lost world and a famous battle - what's not to love! If I could afford it and didn't already have two of Bailey's dictionaries, I would have bought it myself - and, in any case, it's a jolly roger good cause!

As an alternative to the Navarino Dictionary

You might empty that bulging wallet for this$3,800 model

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You might notice that Bailey's is incorrectly spelled on the spine but no matter it's cheap enough at $3,855 plus postage.

So, the Navarino edition looks like a great choice.

Visit this rare leather bound beast on Ebay to read more....


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How could I resist this next edition of Bailey's Dictionary

Books and Magazines Used by Chatterton

Dictionarium Anglo-Britannicum:

Or, A General English Dictionary

By John Kersey

Title page Kersey's Dictionary light sma

According to Meyerstein, p107, see image below, all the hard words in Chatterton's  'The Mayor's first Passing over the Old Bridge,' are in the 1708 edition of Kersey's Dictionary.

Chatterton had his favourite sources for all of his antique works, among them was;  Kersey's, and Bailey's Dictionaries, Speght's Chaucer, and Percy's Reliques.

p107 meyerstien small.JPG

Books and Magazines Used by Chatterton

Reliques of Ancient English Poetry

By Thomas Percy

Percy Vol 1  1794.jpg
Percy Vol 2  1794.jpg
Percy Vol 3  1794.jpg

The images above of are of the 1794 edition (QE!'s Bookcase) click the images to read the 1765 editions online at Google Books. 

Books and Magazines Used by Chatterton

A Treatise on the Deluge

By Alexander Catcott, A.M.

Vicar of Temple [Church] Bristol

Remarks Creation & Deluge 1761 small.jpg
A Treatise on the Deluge 1758
The 104th Psalm Paraphrased (1)

Don't be alarmed, we are not veering into religion - as such.

However, the Chatterton story is inextricably linked to religion in one way or another. Here, it is said, he was allowed access to the study of the Reverend Alexander Catcott, vicar of Temple Church, Bristol, and author of this work.

The last few pages of the book includes a poem, a paraphrase of the 104th psalm by Alexander Stopford Catcott (Alexander's father). This poem seems to have influenced Chatterton's The Death of Nicou.

This particular Catcott, there are three of them, four if you include Martha Catcott (the rose of virginity), is said to have believed that Chatterton was Rowley from the outset.

The images above are from my own copy, which includes manuscript pages of Alexander's Will at the back of the book.

Click the middle image to read an online copy of this work. The other images will be linked in the next few days 26/02/2021 

You all know by now, that every page in this website will be developed further as the days and weeks roll on. This is because every cog in the wheel of Chatterton's story has a life of its own - take Temple Church as an example: It is said to lean further than the almost leaning tower of Pisa. More importantly, it has links to the Knights Templar and dates back to before the 12th C.   More on its coginess in the Chatterton story as time moves on

temple church wix.jpg

(.QE!.) Working on this at the moment

Books and Magazines Used by Chatterton

The Young Gentleman and Lady's Philosophy

Volume 1

by Benjamin Martin

Benjamin Martin Philosophical

Martin's Philosophical Grammar


Benjamin Martin

Benjamin Martin Philosophy young gent Vo

Martin's Philosophy

According to Bryant, p.533, 'Dr Glynn applied to Mr Clayfield in Castle street; as he was said to have lent many books to Chatterton. But the account, which he gave, was, that, to the best of his remembrance, he never lent him but two books: for he had but few in his possession; the whole being contained in a glass case. The two books alluded to were Martin's Philosophical Grammar; and one volume of Martin's Philosophy. The latter, he thinks, was borrowed merely for the copy of verses, which are prefixed to it.'  This can only be volume 1 of the three volume set, which contains poems about the solar system and a lovely little engraving of the Copernican System on an Orrery designed by Benjamin Martin.


To be clear, Martin's Philosophy is: The Young Gentleman and Lady's Philosophy, volume 1. You might also like to view the other two volumes of this set: Volume 3  And Volume 2

Here we go putting yet more flesh on the bones of poor Chatterton, click the images above to read the books, and if you wish to learn more about this amazing man, Benjamin Martin, try the following links: Wikipedia Benjamin Martin; and The Dictionary of National Biography.

A brief note about Benjamin: According to the Science Museum website, Benjamin Martin committed suicide after his retirement, thanks to his son bankrupting the business - a sad end: Science Museum

Further research brings forth from the Gentleman's magazine:  'Brief memoirs [one page, so it was brief] of the late ingenious Benjamin  Martin, including a nice engraved portrait.'   In this report they say that he survived his attempted suicide, but the wound hastened his death: The Gentleman's Magazine August 1785

Benjamin wrote lots of books, here's another one to temp you: The General Magazine of Arts and Science

*Cohort, how the use of language changes  - in action & in real time!


Engraving from

Martin's Philosophy

Copernican System ab.jpg

Page 666

Chatterton's Poem

The Copernican System

Click the image to read more

(.QE!.) Working on this - and too many other things.