Click a Title to View a Manuscript

Note:  (in flux) = Not Ready Yet

Panel C821

The Mayor's First Passing

Over the Old Bridge

Iconic Moment No. 7

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 C822

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 C823

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 C824

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 C825

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 C826

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.

The following article is resting here until I move it to its correct position  - in a bit of a rush.

In 1792 was published Bristol: an abstract of the city charter. Containing the institution of mayors, recorders, sheriffs, town clerks, and all other officers whatsoever: as also a common council. To which is added, by way of Appendix, a brief historical account of the antient Lords, Constables, & Wardens of Bristol Castle. (They knew how to write a title in those days).
The 1792 edition contains the statement 'Song to Ella', from the 'justly celebrated Rowley', which is a little strange considering that by this time it was commonly accepted that Chatterton was the author of Rowley.  I have seen a copy of the 1792 marked as a second edition, and one assumed to be a first edition because it was unmarked, as well as an edition in 1832, which also contains the 'Song' with Rowley as the author.  My assumption is that there was an earlier edition of this supposed 1792 'first edition,'  probably printed before the 1777 edition of Chatterton's works.

Click the images below to go to the title page or the Song to Ella.

bristol charter.png

Here's hoping that a Collaborator will help with 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


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