Biographies & Works of

 Thomas Chatterton

The Bristol Boy Bandying Parts

With Shakespeare!


Chatterton's Short Life

Lasted from 1752 to 1770

A total of 17 years 9 months.

A Bald and stark statement

Of a tiny existence

 - 17 years and 9 months-

 Break it Down &

It Becomes Truly Stark:

5 years: As a Pre-School Child in Bristol.

1 month: As a Pupil at a Pile Street Charity School.

Expelled as too Dull to Learn. (5 or 6 years old)

2 years, 7 months: Home Schooled by his mother, Sarah, & sister, Mary.

6 years, 11 months: 'Imprisoned' as a pupil at Colston's Boarding School

2 years, 9 months & 13 days: As an unpaid Scrivener at Lambert's Solicitors.

37 days: In Shoreditch, London, sharing a bed with the son of  his relative Mrs Ballance.

85 days: In Brooke Street, Holborn, London (privacy at last), lodging in the attic room in which he died, in the house of Mrs Angel, a Sacque Maker. The End!

A short life indeed!  

But as short as it was

He still got his wish to

Have his name blown about the world.

His fame reached many countries

& stretched across the centuries

Not bad for a poet who was

'But a boy!'

 Biographies & Works 

Discover how Chatterton was

Viewed through the Ages?

Click the titles to read the Biographies & Works

Thomas Chatterton

An Elegy on William Beckford

(1770) No link yet - QE! will upload own copy soon.

Thomas Chatterton

The Auction a Poem...

(1770) No link yet - Copy to come from Bristol Library.

Thomas Eagles (editor)

The Execution of Sir Charles Bawdin (1772) (no link yet)

John Broughton

Miscellanies in Prose and Verse (1778) (no link yet)

Herbert Croft

Most 'facts' about Chatterton come from

The Wonderful Weirdness  of Herbert Croft's books:

George Gregory

The First Full biography is in 

Biographia Britannica Vol 4. (1789).

(It starts with the phrase; 'Appendix to Letter C. No. 1, Vol 3,

page 450,' which is to follow if I can find it)

The Life of Thomas Chatterton (1789) (Google Books)

The First Separate Full biography (1789)

The Life of Thomas Chatterton (Google Books)

George Gregory

 C. Roworth (editor)

The Revenge, A Burletta

(1795) (No link yet - QE! will upload own copy soon)

Edward Gardner 

An Anecdote rather than a Biography.

Unlike the others he claims to have known Chatterton

For the three months before he left Bristol (1798).

Original Poems of the Late Unfortunate Thomas Chatterton (GoogleDocs)

No link yet  - photos due from my own copy.

John Davis 

John Dix

Three Editions by

The Controversial Biographer

The Life of Chatterton (1837) (Google Books)

Pen and Ink Sketches: (1845) (Archive.org)

The Life of Chatterton (1851) (Google Books)

Javelin Pagnon

Oeuvres complètes de Chatterton. précédées d'une Vie de Chatterton. Traduites par Javelin Pagnon ; par A. Callet... Chatterton, Thomas (1752-1770). Auteur du texte.

[if I could read French I would be a dangerous man]

Chatterton's Works translated by Pagnon, with his life by A. Callet.

Volume 1      Volume 2 

John Britton, F.S.A

An Historical and Architectural Essay relating to Redcliffe Church...Also an Essay on the Life and Character of Thomas Chatterton. [The essay includes transcripts of Chatterton's two letters to Dodsley, printed for the firs time.]

(1813) (Google)

Charles B. Wilcox

The Poetical Works of Thomas Chatterton

with Notices of his Life, History of the Rowley Controversy, a selection of his letters, and Notes Critical and Explanatory (1842) (Archive.org)

Volume 1

Volume 2

David Masson

Chatterton is in illustrious company in this book:  

Shakespeare; Milton; Wordsworth.

The essay on Chatterton was published as a book in its own right in (1874), where Masson corrects a few errors. The edition is shown further down, date order.


Chatterton: A Story of the Year 1770

In: Essays Chiefly on English Poets (1856) (Hathitrust)

Stanley Hutton

Bristol and its Famous Associations.

It has a chapter on Chatterton, which includes the first printing of photographs of Chatterton's 'Will.'

Also, the first published images of Burgum and Catcott.

Bristol and its Famous Associations (1907)


Charles Edward Russell

John Ingram

A Biography of Chatterton

From one of the protagonists in

 The Chatterton Family Bible Saga

The True Chatterton (1910)


Esther Parker Elinger

Thomas Chatterton The Marvelous Boy

To which is added The Exhibition A Personal Satire (1930)

(No link yet)

E. H. W. Meyerstein

The definitive Life of Chatterton is not available online to read as a printed book (unless you are a special person).

As an alternative, the link here is to Meyerstein's handwritten original/fair copy.

A Life of Thomas Chatterton (1930) (Google Docs)

Ernst Penzoldt

The Marvellous Boy

Translated by J. Trounstine (1931)

(No link yet)

Basil Cottle

A Short Biography 

Just 15 pages

Thomas Chatterton (1963) (Google Docs)

Linda Kelly

The Marvelous Boy. The Life and Myth of

Thomas Chatterton (1971)

I like this edition, even though the opening page of the Life has Chatterton's year of birth as 1753, and the later edition failed to correct this error. It actually put me off from reading the book. However, nearly twenty years on from first buying a copy, I finally put my picky, prickly attitude to one side and really enjoyed the book and found it informative. 

(No link yet  - cheap enough on ebay *****/5

Nick Groom

The Forger's Shadow (2002)

The love that Nick has for the subject is palpable and, of course, Chatterton looms large throughout the book, including images of the death of Chatterton on the front and back endpapers. What I like, too, is that it covers so many layers of the art of 'forgery' in literature. This is what I really like; learning something new at the same time as being entertained. Finally, extra thanks go to Nick for including that indispensable thing; an index - ooh, I just love a good index, I do, I do!

Standing on the shoulders of Meyerstein's index, from his: A Life of Thomas Chatterton, which contains the scariest index ever written!

(No link, but available to buy online. Signed copy for £20 *****/5

Novels - Works of Imagination

Click to view a Menu of Novels and Works of Imagination

(.QE!.) More to do but currently leaning on my shovel! 

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