About the Project


Manuscript Challenges

Part of an early Transcript of Songe to Ella.

Never before available online.

The whole of the volume containing Ella,

& other transcripts of Chatterton's works,

(All 75 pages, handwritten before 1772)

will be here by the end of 2021. 

Early Transcript Songe to Ella

Collaboration is the Key

Chattertonian Manuscripts

Are Widely Distributed

Making it extremely Difficult

To View or Study Them

We either live too far away

Or don't have the accreditation 

That gets us into the

Hallowed Libraries of Massy Knowledge

The Project Aims to Ensure that

High Quality & Zoomable Images

Of all Chattertonian Manuscripts

Are Freely Available

 On the Project Website

For Study and Collaboration

Or simply for the Joy of it!


This is why the Project needs

Altruistic Collaborators

To Photograph Documents Local to Them.

All you need is a Smartphone;

Send me an email if you are able to help.

Even Horace Walpole's 'Shade,' 

Due to the Collecting Zeal of

Lefty-Lewis*, has its hands

On Chatterton Manuscripts.

(*Lewis Walpole Library, 

a department of Yale University),

I have Uploaded Numerous Manuscripts

I still have hundreds to Collate, Crop,

Adjust, Delete, Prepare & Upload

So many of the Manuscripts in Bristol

Are due to George Catcott

A Friend and Mentor to Chatterton.

He seems Never to have let

 The Quill Pen fall

From his Inky Fingers

Spare a thought for me

One of Catcott's Copy Books

Which Contains over 500 pages

Took weeks to Photograph

& Prepare for Uploading.

Chatterton Manuscripts Beyond Bristol

Will Often be One or Two Pages

Much less Onerous.

Bristol & London are Key Locations

Universities in England & America

Have some important Manuscripts.

Do let me know if I can help your

Chatterton Researches in Any way.

Project Update

The project is developing nicely, even allowing for the pandemic.


I work on the many different aspects of the Project daily; currently I am working on the following:

  • Adding pages dedicated to the many names involved in the Chatterton story.

  • I have finished adding the titles of all of Chatterton's genuine works, plus works of doubtful authenticity, lost works and works incorrectly claimed as Chatterton's, and am now working on the next step; preparing and uploading images of original manuscripts or first printings to each of the titles - this might take a while.  

However, however, however, I have already uploaded many manuscripts and first printings, but I still have lots of titles waiting for the link to the manuscript or first printing to go live.  I will be trying to upload them daily, so do click a title and hope for the best. If you can't find a specific item do let me know and I will try to supply it.

I like to do the above online and in real time, rather than in the 'back office' because this allows anyone interested in Chatterton to see these wonderful documents as soon as I have them ready.


If you would like to collaborate by photographing manuscripts local to you or have any questions or suggestions, do let me know Contact .

Best wishes: .QE!. 

The Dreaded Inferno


The Lost Manuscripts

Fire the Great Destroyer

Remember Notre Dame 2019

Remember the Cutty Sark 2007

Remember Windsor Castle 1992

Note Birmingham Library 1879

Fire Consumes too Often

To Remain Complacent

Get Thee to the Cloud!

Birmingham Central Library Destroyed by Fire 1879
Chatterton's Signature 14th April - Mock Will

Chatterton's Mock Will

Bristol Library are looking after this and many other manuscripts, but need funds for conservation.

View the whole document within.

Chatterton Documents

Consumed by Fire

Daniel Wilson's 1869 biography of Chatterton

Mentions the 1860 fire in Kerslake's Shop,

 It was reported in 

The Bristol Times & Felix Farley's Journal

for Feb 18th 1860.

 It destroyed  "Manuscript Chattertoniana"

Collected by J. M. Gutch, and William Tyson

And further augmented by Thomas Kerslake'.

It also consumed the infamous Fust manuscript. 

Then, 20 years later, on October 9th, 1881

The 'Great Fire' in Canynges' House, Bristol

 Destroyed the stock of

C. T. Jefferies, Printer & Bookseller.

Fortunately the Fabulous Canynges fireplace

Shown in the painting by E. H. Parkman

Survived the fire - See Below

canynges House Fire 1881 E.H.Parkman
Canynges Fireplace

The Blitz

Chattertonian Documents &

A.S.Catcott's Fossil Collection

Were destroyed when bombs landed

On Temple Church and Bristol Museum.

Heads Up

Irreplaceable Manuscripts

Should be Digitised ASAP!

Money is short - Too Costly? 

Opt for the Cheap and Easy Answer

Use an Apple iPhone - it's good in low light

The Images on this Website

Show what can be Achieved

Project Status

& Development


The Thomas Chatterton

Manuscript Project

Is a Huge Undertaking

A Living Thing!

Growing and Changing

Adding & Deleting

As it Rolls Along.


I think, therefore I am verbose!

However, verbosity can be wearing. 

So I am experimenting a little

By centering the text that I write.

This helps me cut back on the padding

(or does it?)

Which is the curse of documentaries on TV

I call it the Bends syndrome. 

I have to say

So you know where you stand with me

I have a Real Fondness

For all Chattertonian Writers,

Biographers, Editors and Chancers

Whether their work be large or small

Derivative or Otherwise - at least they had a go! 

As I write this I am surrounded by an array

Of Chatterton related books and periodicals

All of which I have used to work up the project

So many books and so many writers

Yet the Project is Driven, by two writers

Meyerstein, via  'A Life of Thomas Chatterton,'  

 Taylor, via 'The Complete Works of Thomas Chatterton'

A book I must mention is

'Thomas Chatterton 1752-1770,

An Annotated Bibliography'

by Jean C. Rowles, A.L.A,

It's a wonderful piece of work. 

(I would love to hear from Jean one day)

Thanks to Dawn Dyer of  (Bristol Library)

For telling me of this work.

I know that I go against the norm

With my liking for Dix,

But the 1837 edition was my first REAL kiss!

It brought me to the Chatterton story,

Which became my own first chief curse - 

I bought it for £5 from a Bristol bookshop.

The 1970s - Those were the Days 

No need to wear a mask,

Unless you were robbing a bank!

Dix 1837

frontispiece in Dix 1837.jpg
annotation 1 dix 1837.jpg

The annotations in this book captured my interest.

I found them to be intriguing; a direct challenge to discover more!

The portrait was a 'fake' tell me more of this too!

I am an ignoramus who never had the opportunity to learn Latin

Apart from reciting the Mass in Latin as an Altar Boy.

Mea Culpa! My Bad! or Fuck You! just read the words!

Now I have the Internet and can find the Answers

 So, go hide behind your Obfuscations!

For all the good that will do!

We will discover the truth!

For all the good that will do!

Yes, I found the Athenaeum online.

Yes I discovered what the Latin words meant!

Yes I discovered more about Chatterton!

& Yes I love exclamation marks!

It's true, Dix clouded the Chatterton story but

 It is easy to discover the rights and wrongs of it

 In any case, Meyerstein resolves the issues for us

I look at it like this: Dix was to Chatterton

What Hofmann was to the Mormons

Beyond Annoying in so many ways

But at least Dix didn't kill anyone

And he certainly Stirred things up - Just a Bit! 

Over the last few years

 I have taken thousands of photographs of

Manuscripts Postcards Newspapers Magazines

All sorts of artifacts and Ephemera

  I am lucky that two of my favourite places

Bristol Reference Library, and Bristol Archives,

The source of most of my images to-date,

Are local and Wonderful!

Manuscripts included in the Project

Include the following Writers:

Thomas Chatterton - obviously,

George Catcott,  Alexander Catcott, A. S. Catcott

William Barrett, Dr Fry, Dr Lort

Tyrwhitt, Richard Smith, William Blake

&c. ; oh and Horace Walpole too! 

 By transcribing Chatterton's Works,

George Catcott played a key role 

In publicising Rowley

Good old George was very, very prolific.

Anagram Chatterton's Signature

Hasmot Tnchaorett - Catcott Transcription

Chatterton letter to Sarah his mother

Chatterton's letter to his Mother. 

Ex Martha (Patty) More collection

'It's a simple thing, 

We don't need a ring'

There is No Need To Sign-up

To Join, To Enrol

 To Enlist, Become a member

Form a committee, Have a Meeting


Form a Quorum.

In fact, nothing formal is required.

 It matters not who you are

Or where you live.

It matters only that you have the Desire

To be part of the Project.

The Desire to Research & Investigate

A Truly Remarkable Individual

A working-class poet

Chatterton, the Bristowyan. 

I have checked the Website

On mobiles, laptops, PCs & Tablets

All showing High Quality Images.

If your Images are not Sharp

(On your Tablet or Mobile)

You need to Select a Setting to Suit

For example, on a Fire tablet

Click the three dots top right,

And select 'desktop.'

In Truth you Should use a PC

Laptop or Tablet to get the

Best Images.

If you need advice

 let me know via Contact .

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

In the meantime take a look at

a Chattertonian Riddle.

The Manuscript in Question

(part of it is shown below)

was sold by a top Auction House;

they listed it as 18th century

by an unknown hand.

Now that's a Challenge Hard to Resist

- and waiting to be solved!

Transcript Chatterton Poems

The works are clearly Chatterton's

But who is the Scribe?

This is Just the trailer

You will be able to Read

The interesting story behind

the creation of the manuscript

Soon, I promise.

George Catcott had a role in the story

Which is no Surprise!

And it helps you to date it!

Catcott transcript Chatterton's Will

Catcott's Transcript of Chatterton's Mock Will

This is a small part of the document within

Chatterton muniment room Emma Marshall
IMG_4210 (4).JPG

The Muniment Room, Redcliffe Church

From the novel Bristol Bells by Emma Marshall

Chatterton's Signature from Apprenticeship Indentures

Thomas Chatterton's Signature on his Indentures.

Full document can be seen within.

Angels trumpetting Chatterton's Name around the world