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Richard Smith

Surgeon, Author, Poet : 1772 -1843

Portrait Richard Smith small.jpg

A truly remarkable individual with a complicated and contradictory nature (and terrible handwriting).

A surgeon, saving lives, but, on the other hand, happy to strip the skin from an executed 18 year old boy and use it to cover a book about the 'murder' that the boy is supposed to have committed.


According to the Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slavery, Smith was also involved in the slave trade. In 1837 he made a claim for compensation, which was contested and then rejected...View, 

Richard Smith was always destined to have his own page on this website; mainly because he inherited some of George Catcott's papers and had direct contact with the other members of the Catcott family, all of whom knew Chatterton in one way or another. So, as soon as it is ready I will upload all I have found in relation to Chatterton.

Handwritten dedication  from Richard Smith's wife to Bristol Library Society donating George Syems Catcott's Chatterton collection.
Richard Smith's handmade 19th century Woodblock of Samuel Goodere. The only one known to exist.

The Woodblock of Captain Samuel Goodere. 


According to Richard Smith, he searched the print shop after his 'Fratricide' booklet was printed but the Woodblock couldn't be found.  It might not be a missing Van Gogh but it was a wonderful thing to rediscover in 2022.

Do note that the 'murder' actually took place in 1741, and various reports have appeared over the years. I have included some links below and more to come later.

And now, my most recent discovery: Richard Smith's sample of the Gibbet and Irons from the execution of Matt Mahony for the murder of Sir John Dineley Goodere - A little morbid and gruesome but also an indication of the interests driving Richard Smith.

A Veritable Piece of the Gibbet and Irons of Matthew Mahony, one of the murderers of Sir John Dineley Goodere.

Papers & Publications


(on hold)





Everything Else (Non-Chatterton)

Richard Smith's Notebook / Letter to Rev. John Ward 1835

Deals with the Goodere Murder & more besides.

Complete with my Transcript and additional images and information.

Introduction to the above View

Original Manuscript  :  View

Transcript of the above (easy to read)   :  View

Additional Images  & Information  :  View

Richard Smith’s Page on The Chatterton Manuscript Project  :  View

Fratricide, or Murderer's Gibbet [in Verse] View

Being the Right Tragical Hystorie of Sir John D. Goodere, Bart., Who was Murdered by his Brother, Captain Samuel Goodere, and Assistants On the 19th January, 1741, on board his Majesty's Ship the Ruby, Then Lying in Kingroad, Bristol.  Bristol Mirror Office. 1839.

[Printed in 1839 for private circulation by Richard Smith].

Fratricide, or Murderer's Gibbet   :  View

[The same title as the booklet above. It is a description of the murder but not in verse]

Being the Right Tragical Hystorie of Sir J. Dineley Goodere, Bart., Who was Murdered by his Brother, Captain Samuel Goodere, and Assistants On the 19th January, 1741, On Board His Majesty's Ship The Ruby, 64, then lying in Kingroad, Bristol.

The Bristol Memorialist  :  View 

Captain Goodere's Confession to the Clergyman who attended him after the verdict. Printed 1823.

Memoirs of the Life of Sir John Dineley Goodere, Baronet  :  View 

Who was Murdered by the Contrivance of His Own Brother, On Board the Ruby Man of War, In King's Road, Near Bristol, Jan. 19, 1740-1.

Together with the Life, History, Trial, And Last Dying Words of his Brother Captain Samuel Goodere, Who was Executed at Bristol, With Matthew Mahony and Charles White, Two Sailors, His Accomplices, On Wednesday, April 15, 1741, For the Horrid Murder of the Said Sir John Dineley Goodere, Bart. Worcestershire.

This edition is estimated to be dated to 1785 and is said to be a copy of the original printed in 1741. It includes two copperplate engravings detailing the murder.

A Complete Collection of State-Trials... S, Goodere et al  :  View 

The earliest printing of a transcript of the trials that I can find online, dated 1742: see pages 795 to 834 - and then, a few months later, I found the edition shown below.

The Trials of Samuel Goodere, Matthew Mahony & Charles White  :  View

I belive this is the first edition? Printed in 1741; the same year as the murder, trial and execution.


Memoirs Historical & Topographical of Bristol, 1823 (Title Page)  :  View

Richard Smith loaned his Woodblock of Samuel Goodere to Samuel Seyer for use in this book.

Here's a direct link to the section dealing with 'The Murder of Sir John Dineley Goodere'  :  View 

Memoirs of the Late Samuel Foote, nephew of Sir John Dineley Goodere and Samuel Goodere  :  View

Samuel Goodere's Naval Career - Details at Three  :  View

More to add as time allows.

Everything Else
Chatterton related
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