top of page

William Barrett

1733 - 1789

William Barrett Bristol museum.jpg
Barrett [1] title 101.JPG

William Barrett, painted by Jan van Rymsdyk. Barrett was 31 when he sat for his portrait. The title page of his work, The History and Antiquities of the City of Bristol &c., contains some wonderful engravings and a wealth of references to Chatterton and his works. William Barrett, along with George Symes Catcott, played a central roll in the Chatterton story. 

Barrett's House 102.jpg

Chatterton was a regular visitor to Barrett's house and would have ambled through the front door and on into the inner sanctum to assist Barrett with his History of Bristol, and yet Barrett refused to help Chatterton when he asked for references. 

Barrett Menu


The First Historians of Bristol

A small pamphlet from The Bristol Branch of the Historical Association. Barrett is included thanks to his 'The History & Antiquities of Bristol'.

Biographies & Works of Thomas Chatterton

A link to multiple editions of biographies of Chatterton, which contain a wealth of detail about William Barrett.

The  History and Antiquities of the City of Bristol

Barrett's book is a highly important source, which contains the first printings of a number of Chatterton's works.

The book has 704 pages of which around 123 contain either Chatterton's works or references to Chatterton - I have gathered the 123 pages to the link above and added additional interesting information.  In my eyes it also contains insights into the thinking of both Barrett and, perhaps, the development of Chatterton.

The above link gives you the choice to view the 123 pages or go directly to Barrett's 704 pages online.

Review of Barrett's Book by The Monthly Review, 1791

Still working on this page - and many other pages besides

Barrett's Correspondence

Correspondence with George Catcott. 

Letter 3 to George

More to add in due course - soonish

William Barrett is Dead!

image of grave william barrett.jpeg

William Barrett is buried in St Andrew's church, High Ham, Gloucestershire. Now, did they meet his wishes as declared in his Will?

"Lastly I desire that wherever I shall happen to die that my corps may be roll'd up in an old Blanket and put in a common shell or coffin and that it be buried in any churchyard nearest and adjoining and carried to the grave by six of the poor men of the parish who shall receive five shillings each and a crape hatband each for their trouble and a large flat stone only put over ye grave inscrib'd with my name."

I guess not!

bottom of page