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The Banks of Wye by Robert Bloomfield, Edited by Tim Fulford
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  • Banks, Sir Joseph, 1st Baronet (1743-1820): a botanist, collector, traveller, adviser of monarch and ministers and President of the Royal Society. Sir Joseph was also an improving agriculturalist with extensive estates in Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire. A generous patron of landscape artists, whom he took with him on tours of Scotland, the Wye, Iceland and, with Captain Cook, to the Pacific and Australia. Among their number were Paul Sandby and Sidney Parkinson.
  • Beaufort, Duke of: in Bloomfield's era the title was held first by Henry Somerset, 5th Duke of Beaufort (1744-1803) and then by Henry Charles Somerset, 6th Duke of Beaufort (1766-1835). They were descendants of the Earls and Marquesses of Worcester, of Raglan Castle, but in the eighteenth-century their principal seat was at Badminton House, Chipping Sodbury, Gloucestershire. From 1794 they, in conjunction with the 'Kymin Club' comprising local gentlemen, turned their land at Beaulieu woods and the Kymin, on the Wye near Monmouth, into a picturesque landscape with rides, a Round Tower equipped with telescopes which commanded views of nine counties, and a Naval Pavilion commemorating British victories.
  • Bloomfield, Mary (1793-1814): Bloomfield's second daughter.
  • Burns, Robert (1759-1796): Bloomfield's admiration for the Scots rural poet - an admiration that included Burns's independent attitude to the aristocracy as well as his songs - is evident in many letters recounting anecdotes from The Works of Robert Burns: with an Account of his Life, and a Criticism on his Writings (1800) as well as in poems such as 'A Highland Drover' in Rural Tales.
  • Clifford, Rosamund, 'Fair Rosamund' (before 1150 - c. 1176): King Henry II's mistress, supposedly killed by his Queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine. Legends also suggest Henry built for her a lodge at Woodstock with a labyrinth-garden as her bower. She is the subject of the the Ballad of Fair Rosamund by Thomas Delaney and the Complaint of Rosamund by Samuel Daniel.
  • Cooper, Charlotte: daughter of R. Bransby Cooper.
  • Cooper, Robert Bransby: Gloucestershire gentleman who accompanied Bloomfield and the Lloyd Bakers on their 1807 Wye tour. Defeated in election to the House of Commons in 1816; became MP for Gloucester in 1818. Brother of the eminent surgeon Sir Astley Cooper.
  • Coxe, William (1747-1828): traveller and historian, whose Historical Tour in Monmouthshire (1801) was preceded by many other travel narratives of tours made in Switzerland, Poland, Russia, Sweden and Denmark. A tutor of the sons of wealthy gentlemen and an Anglican clergyman, Coxe wrote many memoirs of politicians and histories of royal houses.
  • Crosby, Benjamin (d. 1815): bookseller at 44 Stationer's Court, near Paternoster Row, London, who bought rights to Bloomfield's works from Sharpe, after the death of Hood and the failure of Vernor, Hood and Sharpe. Published the second edition of The Banks of Wye (1813). Died in 1815 after his firm went bankrupt.
  • De Wilton: Wilton Castle, on the bank of the Wye near Ross, was the seat of the Barons Grey de Wilton from the thirteenth century, when Reginald De Grey became its lord, to 1603 when the fifteenth Baron was attainted and his title forfeited. The castle then passed to Sir Reginald Egerton, 1st Baronet, by virtue of his marriage to the Baron's sister. In 1784 the hereditary title was revived when their descendant Sir Thomas Egerton, 7th Baronet, was created Baron Grey de Wilton of Wilton Castle. On his death in 1804, three years before Bloomfield passed the castle, the Barony of Grey de Wilton became extinct, there being no sons to inherit it.
  • Gilpin, William (1724-1804): Anglican clergyman, amateur artist, tourist and theorist of the picturesque in his tour journals circulated in manuscript to friends including Thomas Gray. In 1782, Gilpin published Observations on the River Wye and several parts of South Wales, etc. relative chiefly to Picturesque Beauty; made in the summer of the year 1770. This was illustrated with plates based on Gilpin's sketches, etched by his nephew William Sawrey Gilpin using the new aquatint process. Discussing the aesthetic qualities of the Wye valley, Gilpin initiated an aesthetic movement (the picturesque) that centred on Herefordshire, its chief proponents being two wealthy landowners of the Wye and Teme valleys, Uvedale Price and Richard Payne Knight. Bloomfield and his companions were familiar with Gilpin's book and occasionally discussed its principles (Bloomfield preferred Gray's response to the river). In sketching as they went, they continued a fashion for amateur sketching tours that Gilpin had helped popularise.
  • Glendower, Owen (Owain Glyndwr) (c. 1354 or 1359 - c. 1416): a Marcher Lord, born into the Anglo-Welsh gentry, who was educated in London and served Richard II and later Henry Bolingbroke (who became Henry IV) in battle. In 1400 he rebelled against Henry with such success that in 1404 he was crowned Prince of Wales and, with the English largely driven out, announced his plan for an independent Wales with a parliament, universities and separate Welsh church. Though by 1412 the military campaign of Prince Henry (later Henry V) brought that plan to ruin, forcing Owain's allies to surrender their castles, he himself was never captured, his later life and death remaining obscure. A romantic figure, owing in part to Shakespeare's portrayal of him in Henry IV parts I and II, he remains a national hero in Wales.
  • Gray, Thomas (1716-71): poet of 'Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard' (1751) and the ode set in the Welsh hills, 'The Bard' (1757). Gray toured the Wye and Wales in summer 1770, and, although he kept no journal, his enthusiastic notes about the scenery and antiquities were published after his death as A Catalogue of the Antiquities, Houses, Parks, Plantations, Scenes, and Situations, in England and Wales (1773) and republished in pocket-size for the tourist in 1799 as Traveller's Companion, in a Tour Through England and Wales; Containing a Catalogue of the Antiquities, Houses, Parks, Plantations, Scenes, and Situations, in England and Wales, Arranged According to the Alphabetical Order of the Several Counties; by the Late Mr. Gray.
  • Heath, Charles (1761-1830): printer of Monmouth, who published much local history and whose topographical works helped popularise the Wye tour. His first publication was A Descriptive Account of Raglan Castle (1792). He also produced Descriptive Account of Tintern Abbey (1793), Account of the Scenery of the Wye (1795), The Excursion down the Wye (1796), and Accounts of Monmouth (1804).
  • Hood, Thomas (d. 1811): a bookseller in Dundee before 1799; partner in Vernor & Hood, London 1799-1811. Father of Thomas Hood the humourist and poet. Published The Farmer's Boy, Rural Tales, Wild Flowers and the stereotype edition of the Poems of Robert Bloomfield. Argued with Capel Lofft over the latter's editorial interventions in Bloomfield's texts.
  • Inskip, Thomas (circa 1780-1849): watchmaker, Bloomfield's Shefford neighbour and friend. Also befriended John Clare, whose poetry he printed in the Bedfordshire Times (1848). Amateur archaeologist and collector of Roman relics, his collection is now in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. He died of cholera in Hastings.
  • Jenner, Edward, Dr (1749-1823): discoverer (1796) and tireless promoter of vaccination for smallpox with cowpox serum. Resident of Berkeley and Cheltenham, both places visited on the Wye tour. Jenner enlisted Bloomfield, whose father and nephews had died from smallpox, in his public relations campaign to popularise the new treatment. He encouraged Bloomfield to write Good Tidings; or, News from the Farm and rewarded him after it was printed.
  • Kyrle, John (1637-1724): the Man of Ross, paragon of local philanthropy and emblem of the good moral life, who features in Pope's third Epistle, 'To the Right Honourable Allen Lord Bathurst', lines 261-74:

    Who taught that heav'n directed Spire to rise?
    The Man of Ross, each lisping babe replies.
    Behold the Market-place with poor o'erspread!
    He feeds yon Alms-house, neat, but void of state,
    Where Age and Want sit smiling at the gate;
    5
    Him portion'd maids, apprentic'd orphans blest,
    The young who labour, and the old who rest.
    Is any sick? the Man of Ross relieves,
    Prescribes, attends, the med'cine makes, and gives,
    Is there a variance? enter but his door,
    10
    Balk'd are the Courts, and contest is no more.
    Despairing Quacks with curses fled the place,
    And vile Attornies, now an useless race.

  • Lloyd Baker, Mary, née Sharp (1778-1812): Bloomfield's close friend and correspondent whom he met in the company of her cousin Catherine Sharp at the house of her aunt (Elizabeth Prowse), Wicken Park, Northamptonshire. Daughter of the surgeon William Sharp and niece of Granville Sharp the abolitionist, Mary introduced Bloomfield to her extended family, allowing him to make visits to the houses of family members at South Mimms, Northamptonshire and Fulham. She invited him on the Wye tour, which was organised for his benefit, and afterwards encouraged him to develop his sketching and to complete his Wye poem.
  • Lloyd Baker, Thomas John: husband of Mary, he accompanied the Wye tour party in 1807. After his wife's death, he re-married and built Hardwicke Court, near Gloucester.
  • Lofft, Capel (1751-1824): of Troston, Suffolk, Lofft was a Whig gentleman-landowner and lawyer who argued for parliamentary reform, the abolition of slavery and for the traditional rights of the rural poor to glean the fields at harvest. He became, like the Duke of Grafton and many of Bloomfield's supporters among the gentry and aristocracy, a Unitarian. He was removed from the magistracy after having, in 1800, jumped into the tumbrel taking Sarah Lloyd, a servant girl, to the scaffold, and harangued the crowd about the injustice of the sentence. A writer of verse for magazines, especially sonnets, a collection of which he edited. The impetuous, energetic and tactless patron of Bloomfield who, having received the manuscript of The Farmer's Boy from George Bloomfield, used his connections to have it published. His later falling-out with Bloomfield, precipitated by his insistence on including his own editorial comments as footnotes to Rural Tales, was never total.
  • Morris, Valentine (1727-1789): plantation-owner born in Antigua in the West Indies, who was responsible for developing his Piercefield estate in the Wye valley into a picturesque landscape garden. His wealth reduced by diminishing returns from the West Indies, by the expense of developing the gardens, and by contesting a parliamentary election, Morris sold the property, to the regret of the local population, and returned to the West Indies where he became Governor of St. Vincent. There he spent extensively on the island's defences and, when the French conqured the island, became bankrupt. He spent his final years in debtors' prison.
  • Park, Thomas (1758/9-1834): trained as an engraver, Park became a poet, book-collector, antiquary, bibliographer and editor - not least of Bloomfield's poetry. He lived in Piccadilly, then Portman Square, and from 1804 at Church Row, Hampstead.
  • Pembroke, Earl of: Sir William Herbert (c 1423-69) was granted Crickhowel Castle and made Earl of Pembroke in the fifteenth century. His descendants continued in the Earldom from the mid-sixteenth century.
  • Price, Uvedale (1747-1829): Herefordshire landowner who theorised about picturesque beauty in several publications, including An Essay on the Picturesque as Compared with the Sublime and the Beautiful: and on the Use of Studying Pictures for the Purpose of Improving Real Landscape (1794). Applied the principles about which he theorised to the landscaping of his own estate at Foxley, a few miles from the Wye near Hereford.
  • Rogers, Samuel (1763-1855): a wealthy banker as well as the poet of The Pleasures of Memory (1792) and Italy (1822-28), Rogers was a generous host with a wide acquaintance among literary and political men. He aided Bloomfield with advice, hospitality and by acting as banker for the monies subscribed on Bloomfield's behalf.
  • Sandby, Paul (1731-1809): map-maker and artist, born in Nottingham, whose landscape watercolours made while surveying the Scottish Highlands won him the patronage of Sir Joseph Banks. In 1771 Sandby accompanied Banks on a tour of Wales, producing sketches of, among other sites, Chepstow Castle, that were published as aquatints.
  • Sharp, Catherine (1770-1843): daughter of James Sharp of Clare Hall, South Mimms, cousin of Mary Lloyd Baker and niece of Granville Sharp and of Mrs Prowse of Wicken Park, Northamptonshire.
  • Sharp, Granville (1735-1813): campaigner for the abolition of the slave trade, for a reform of parliament, and for the abolition of the press gang by the navy. Helped to establish the colony for freed slaves in Sierra Leone. He lived mainly in Garden Court, Temple, London, until the death of his brother William, when he resided with William's widow at Fulham, where Bloomfield visited. Uncle of Catherine Sharp and Mary Lloyd Baker.
  • Sharp, James, of Clare Hall, South Mimms: brother of Granville and William.
  • Sharp, Mrs: wife of James Sharp, of Clare Hall, South Mimms.
  • Sharp, William [Surgeon] (1729-1810): of Fulham, surgeon to George III, brother of Granville and James Sharp.
  • Sharpe, C.: bookseller; partner of Thomas Hood, in Vernor and Hood, Bloomfield's publishers, from 1806, until 1811, when Hood died. Continuing alone, Sharpe went bankrupt in 1812, involving Bloomfield in severe financial loss.
  • Strongbow: Clare, Richard de, 2nd Earl of Pembroke (d. 1176), commonly known as Strongbow, son of the first Earl, succeeded to his father's estates in 1148, but had forfeited or lost them by 1168. In that year, however, he was chosen to lead a Norman expedition to Ireland in support of Diarmuid, King of Leinster, who had been driven out of his kingdom. The Earl crossed over in person in 1170, took both Waterford and Dublin, and was married to Diarmuid's daughter, Aoife, claiming the Kingship of Leinster after Diarmuid's death in 1171. Henry II, wary of his power, stripped Strongbow of his new holdings the same year, and invaded Ireland himself in 1171, putting his people in power. Strongbow returned to favour, and power in Ireland, in 1173 when he aided the King in his campaign against his rebelling sons. He died in 1176 after years of bitter struggle with Irish rebels.
  • Taliesin (c. 534-c. 599): a Celtic poet whose work has possibly survived in a Middle Welsh manuscript, the Book of Taliesin. Taliesin was a famous bard who is believed to have sung at the courts of at least three Celtic British kings.
  • Vernor, Thomas: bookseller; partner in Vernor and Hood, Bloomfield's publishers from 1798-1812.
  • Weston, Joseph: Bloomfield's friend in Shefford, a draper by trade, subject to depression. He moved to Twickenham, where Hannah Bloomfield lived with him and his family, acquiring experience in a trade. Edited Remains.
  • Worcester, 5th Earl and 1st Marquess of, Henry Somerset (c. 1577-1646): in the Civil War a supporter of King Charles I, who visited the Earl's castle at Raglan to recruit soldiers. Unpopular locally as a Catholic thought to be encouraging an Irish invasion of Wales, Worcester was besieged at Raglan in 1646. At first rejecting calls to surrender, Worcester ceded the castle to the Roundhead General Fairfax on 17 August on terms which left him to the mercy of the enemy, although they provided for the garrison's safety. He died in prison at the end of the year. Charles II made his heir Marquess of Worcester and Duke of Beaufort in 1682.

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Published @ RC

July 2012