Panel C8

Iconic Moments Nos. 6 to 10 

3 July 1767 - 23 April 1770 

Apprentice Scrivener

Lambert's Office

Age: 14-17

Chatterton's Apprenticeship

As a Scrivener at Lambert's

Started 3rd July 1767

 His indentures were cancelled

Two years and 10 months later

After Lambert Discovered

Chatterton's Mock Will in the Office

Millerd's Map for 1671​.

Lambert's Office was on

Corne Street (Corn St), Bristol.

The Old Bristol Bridge with

Houses & Workshops

Replaced in 1768. 

The New Bridge 

Chatterton's Works

While at Lambert's

 3 July 1767  -  30 Sept 1768: 

First 18 months as an Apprentice

Chatterton Wrote These Works

While still An Unknown Boy

Amongst Unknown Boys

They Remained Unpublished

Until After He Died!

 A Total of 17 Works to Consider

During this Period.

Fourteen are Authentic. Two are Lost

One is of Doubtful Authenticity.

The Four Most important*

Are shown in their own panels

  Authentic Works  

1. * Bristows Tragedy or the Death of Sr Charles Bawdin

2. Antiquities Book 3rd 

Contains Three Works Below: 

3. The Battle of Hastynges

4. Craishes Herauldry

5. *The Unknown Knyght   or The Tournament

6. All 14 Authentic Works

Works of Doubtful Authenticity:

 One to view

Lost Works:

Two works to view

Chatterton's Works

At Lambert's

1 October 1768  -   5 April 1769:

The six month period from

Publication of the Bridge Narrative

To the day before

Walpole's Letter of  Rejection.


Still at Lambert's

Still an Unpaid Scrivener

Still an Unknown Boy



The Mayor First Passing

Over the Old Bridge

Was published by

Felix Farley's Bristol Journal

1st October 1768


Shortly after Publication

Chatterton was introduced to

 George Catcott & William Barrett 

The Die was Cast

The Chatterton / Rowley Saga

Was Set to Run for the

Next 250 years

There are around 94 works

To consider during this period.

1) Eighty Seven are Authentic

2) Two are Lost

3) Two are of Doubtful Authenticity

4) Three are Wrongly attributed.

Nine of the Works

Are Shown in their own Panels*

Click the Title of a Work

Or Keep Scrolling :

1. Authentic Works:

  * The Mayor's first Passing over the Old Bridge


Songe of Saincte Werburgh (not yet)

Songe of Sayncte Baldwyn (not yet)

* To John Ladgate

* Songe to Ella

* John Ladgate's Answer

* Battle of Hastings 2

* The Parlyamente of Sprytes

*Ǽlla: A Tragycal Enterlude, 

or Discoorseynge Tragedie

Horace Walpole Correspondence

All Authentic Works  


2. Lost Works: 

A full list of lost works

3. Works of Doubtful Authenticity:

The Particulars of

a Happy Government

Extract of a Letter from

a young Gentleman

4. Works Wrongly Attributed:

(According to Taylor) 

 * The Auction a Poem

Two other items

Chatterton's Works

At Lambert's

6 April 1769  -  23 April 1770.

The 13 month period


Walpole's Rejection of Chatterton

To Chatterton's Last Day in Bristol.


There are 23 works

To consider during this period.

Authentic Works:

Horace Walpole Correspondence


Works of Doubtful Authenticity

A total of eight. Five shown below:

A Card;

On the Death of a Friend Mr Holland;

 Letters 1, 2, & 3  A Hunter of Oddities 

Lost Works: 

Five in this period


Wrongly Attributed to Chatterton:

Eight in this period


Panel C8.1

 Bristows Tragedy 


The Death of Sr Charles Bawdin 

Written 1768 - Published 1772

Age: 15, Colston's School

Bristows Tragedy or the Death of Sir Charles Bawdin

One of Chatterton's

Most Famous Works.

Written when not quite 16! 

The manuscript, 

Is difficult to read

I have made adjustments

 To make it clearer


The experts agree

The work

Is Chatterton's

The problem

Is the handwriting

Bristol Library

Has it as Chatterton's

Meyerstein accepts it as such

Taylor is sure that it is not!

A Nice Little Conundrum!

  The Manuscript Project

Allows us to compare this MS.

With the many other MSS.

Uploaded to the Project


Note: When Using a Quill

A Difference in the Cut

Or Ink Flow

Affects the handwriting


Panel C8-2

Antiquities Book 3rd

Written 1768

Containing the following:

The Battle of Hastynges

(published 1777)

Craishes Herauldry

(published 1971)

The Unknown Knyght

Or The Tournament

(Pub. 1784)

Antiquities Book 3rd Chatterton
Antiquities Book 3rd Contents Chatterton

The two images above are part of

Antiquities - Book 3rd.

It contains three works;

The Battle of Hastynges [No.1];

Craishes Herauldry;

The Unknown Knight or The Tournament.

Special Note and Heads Up! 

Some Lottery Funds

Allocated for 

Chatterton's Commemoration

Could be Used

To Preserve Fragile

 Chatterton related Manuscripts.


Panel C8-3

Iconic Moment No. 7 

'The Mayor's first Passing

Over the Old Bridge'

Age: 15, at Colston's School

George Symes Catcott

Thomas Chatterton

William Barrett Bristol museum.jpg

William Barrett

Publication of Chatterton's

First Rowlean Work

On the 1st of October 1768

A Mysterious Article Appeared

In Felix Farley's Bristol Journal.

 The Mayor's first Passing

over the Old Bridge,

taken from

an old Manuscript'


Dunhelmus Bristoliensis *


*One of Chatterton's

Pen Names.

Chatterton mayor passing old bridge
Mayor going over bridge Chatterton

The Article Created Quite a Stir

It was to bring 

Chatterton, Catcott, & Barrett,

The Main Players in the

Chatterton/Rowley story,

Together for the first time.


It was the Catalyst

that would affect their lives

more than they could have imagined. 

When they First Met

Chatterton was nearly 16

 Barrett was 35, & Catcott was 39

The big question is

How much of a role

Did they individually play

In the creation, development

And afterlife

Of the Rowley phenomenon?


Panel C8-4

To John Ladgate.

Songe to Ella.

John Ladgate's Answer.

Written 1768 - Published 1775 

Songe to Ella Dr Fry B6493 RESIZED.jpg

In Flux and Subject to Collaboration - it's only a start! (.Q.)


Panel C8-5

By Turgotus

Translated by Roulie for W. Canynge Esq.

Written 1768 - Published 1777 

Battle of Hastyngs p237 small.jpg

The above is the Start of the Poem

It runs to 38 pages in

Tyrwhitt's 1777 edition of

Rowley's Poems

 The Original Manuscript is Missing

Tyrwhitt used the Text from

'A copy made by Barrett

From the Original in

Chatterton's Handwriting.'


Panel C8-6

The Parlyamente of Sprytes

Written 1768 - Published 1782, 1789

Age: 15, Colston's School


Plaied bie the

Carmelyte Freeres at

Mastre Canynges

Hys Greete Howse

Before Mastre Canynges

And Byshoppe Carpenterre

On dedicatynge the chyrche of

Oure Ladie of Redclefte, hight.



Wroten bie T. Rowleie and J. Iscam


Part of the title page of

The Parlyamente of Sprytes


The First Full Printing

William Barrett's History of Bristol, 1789 

A Job for a Collaborator

The Manuscript Original

According to Taylor (1971)

Is at the British Museum. 

The British Museum reference: f.5.


Panel C8-7

The Auction, A Poem

Written January / February 1769

london Feb 1769 Epistle to a Friend Titl
London Feb 1769 Epistle to a Friend 1 SN

Contentious or what!

Meyerstein accepts

'The Auction, A Poem'


The Beckford Elegy)

as Chatterton's

 Taylor Disagrees,

As do Other academics

The Auction, A Poem,

Parts were first printed as

A Familiar Epistle to a Friend

In the February & March 1769

 Editions of the London Magazine

The Auction, A Poem,

The first full printing

By Kerslake in 1770.

Panel C8-8

Ǽlla: A Tragycal Enterlude,

or Discoorseynge Tragedie

Epistle to Mastre Canynge on Ǽlla

Letter to the Dynge Mastre Canynge

Written 1769 - Published 1777

Age: 16, Colston's School

p.27 - Dr Fry 100.jpg

Dr. Fry's Transcript. BPL: B6493

The image above is a snippet from Dr. Fry's transcript of a Catcott transcript of Chatterton's original manuscript of Ǽlla: A Tragycal Enterlude, or Discoorseynge Tragedie. 


No complete Ms. of Ǽlla in Chatterton's hand is known to exist, which is strange; it must be out there somewhere (he says hopefully). Even the first printing of it, in 1777, was from a Catcott transcript. 

Chatterton's letter to Dodsley, 15th February, 1769, has an extract, 'Part of  Ǽlle's Speech to his Soldiers going to give Battle to the Danes.........

It is possible that Dr Fry sometimes used a 'copyist,' to transcribe works for him; so, is this a copy in Dr. Fry's handwriting, or not? What would certainly help is a book once owned by Dr. Fry and complete with his annotations - that would be definitive.

We need copies of the following:

  1. ULC (Cambridge), Add. 6295 (unknown hand), f.55. 

  2. Historical Society of Pennsylvania: Letter to Dodsley, 15th February 1769

  3. British Museum: f.36 v. 

  4. British Museum: (Barrett and an unknown hand) f.87a

Panel C8-9

Iconic Moments No. 8  &  9 

Chatterton Writes to Horace Walpole

Accepted then Rejected

To Horace Walpole, 25th March 1769

The Ryse of Peyncteynge, yn Englande

On Richard 1

Written 1769 - Published 1789

From Horace Walpole, 28th March 1769

Written 1769 - Published 1792

To Horace Walpole, 30 March 1769

Histoirie of Payncters yn Englande

Stanza by Ecca

Stanza by Elmar

The Warre

Written 1769 - Published 1792

From Horace Walpole 6th? April 1769

Rejection Letter  (LOW)

Written 1769 - Published 1792

To Horace Walpole, 8th April 1769

Written 1769 - Published 1792

To Horace Walpole, 14th April 1769

Written 1769 - Published 1792

To Horace Walpole, 24th July 1769

Written 1769 - Published 1792


The above poem has been accepted as genuine by Meyerstein and Taylor, but Dr. Nick Groom has a different view. To me it certainly feels like a Chatterton piece but I wouldn't presume to outthink the academics.

To Horace Walpole, 24th July 1769

Written 1769 - Published 1837 

The Unposted Poem above from Dix 1837

From Horace Walpole, 4th August 1769?

Written 1769 - Published 1797?


It is clear that Walpole was not responsible for the death of Chatterton, and it is generally accepted that his death was caused by an accidental overdose and not by suicide!

Walpole was 51 when he received 16 year old Chatterton's first letter, complete with his fabricated The Ryse of Peyncteynge, yn Englande​.

Walpole died 2nd March, 1797, aged 79. 

The contents of Strawberry Hill went to auction in April of 1842. The sale lasted 24 days.

Chatterton died 24th August, 1770, at 17 years & nine months of age. There was nothing left in his attic room but the clothes he died in; a pocket book; some scraps of paper; his pens & ink and other such 'worthless' paraphernalia and, on the windowsill, empty phial of kill or cure medicine.

chatterton c e russell.jpg

Thomas Chatterton

Horace_Walpole 1756 (2).jpg

Horace Walpole

Strawberry_Hill_Library wikip 1.jpg

Walpole's Library, Strawberry Hill

Walpole's collection of Chattertoniana can be seen on the top shelf of the bookcase to the right of the window - It's true, honestly!

The majority of Walpole's Chattertoniana (collection of books and letters) eventually ended up in the possession of Lefty-Lewis. Lefty bought it all from the New York Mercantile Library - now there's a man with perseverance in his blood!


Strawberry Hill, Walpole's home

After renovation in 2012

Chatterton's house in the 1920's. 

From an illustration in M's Life of Chatterton.


The upper room on the left is where Chatterton was born. The building to the right of the photograph, is the rear of Pile Street Charity School.  Chatterton's father was master here from 1749 to 1752.

Panel C8-10

Iconic Moment No 10

Chatterton's Mock Will

Written April 14th 1770 - Published 1971

Age: 17, Colston's School



Chatterton's Mock Will

T&CM April 69 Title 1a.jpg
T&CM April 69 Derrick Will 3c.jpg

Samuel Derrick's Mock Will


Samuel Derrick

Meyerstein points out that Chatterton was influenced to write his 'mock' will after reading the mock will of Samuel Derrick, which was printed in the April 1769 issue of the T&CM (Town & Country Magazine).


This same issue contains two of Chatterton's works; Kenrick, Translated from the Saxon, by D.B. [Dunhelmus Bristoliensis]; and An Elegy. Haste, haste, ye solemn messengers of night, by Asaphides. It also has an Epilogue...Written by Mr. Walpole. 

All in all, a very interesting edition.