Against Shelley : not because of his atheistic opinions, or because he had begun an extramarital relationship with Mary Godwin, but because he claimed his conduct to be worthy of approbation. He was, however, allowed to choose the couple with whom his children should be kept, subject to the court’s approval. Both Shelley and the Westbrooks were permitted to see the children 12 times a year, Shelley under the supervision of their appointed guardians, but their grandfather, Timothy Shelley, was to have unlimited access to them.
Allen : Dr Matthew Allen (d1845) worked as an apothecary at the asylum in York before setting up his own establishment in Epping Forest.
Antiquaries : The Society of Antiquaries of London was established in 1707, and received a Royal Charter in 1751. Its aims, now as then, are the encouragement, advancement and furtherance of the study and knowledge of the antiquities and history of this and other countries.
Apprenticed : Blake’s father paid Basire £52.10s for the seven year apprenticeship, during which time Blake agreed not to ‘haunt Taverns or Play houses’, and Basire agreed to instruct his apprentice in the ‘Art and Mystery’ of the engraver’s profession. Basire further agreed to feed, clothe and protect his apprentice during this period.
Austrian rule : the Treaties of Paris and Vienna, which marked the end of the Napoleonic wars, led to a redrawing of the political map of Europe, in which the Austrians (Hapsburgs) became the dominant power in Italy. The illiberal and oppressive character of the Austrian rule in Italy made them very unpopular.
Banquet of Plato : The Banquet of Plato : he included references to homosexual love, consistently omitted from other translations. Shelley felt that those who did not understand Greek should not therefore be excluded from the facts and a proper understanding of history.
Beaumont : Sir George Beaumont (1753-1827) had lands in Coleorton, Leicestershire, which became a coal mining region. He sued his land agent, Joseph Boultbee, for selling off timber and clay deposits from the estate and understating the amount of coal extracted over a number of years, receiving a compensation award of £20,000 (about £1M in today’s terms) in July 1800. He was an amateur painter, patron of the artist John Constable, and friend of the novelist Sir Walter Scott.
Beaupuy : Captain Michel Beaupuy (1755-1796) embraced the ideals of the Revolution and died fighting in the Revolutionary Wars.
Blacklock : Dr Blacklock (1721-1791) was a blind lyric poet and minister.
Brown : Charles Brown (1786-1842) was the son of a Scottish stockbroker living in Lambeth. While still very young he went out to St Petersburg to join his brother in a merchant venture, but returned to England when the business failed in 1808. He had strong, radical opinions and some literary ambitions, having had a play produced and some articles printed, mainly in The Examiner. According to Keats Character of Charles Brown : ‘He is to weet a melancholy carle: / Thin in the waist, with bushy head of hair / As hath the seeded thistle when in parle.’17a
Burghley House, near Stamford in Lincolnshire was built between 1565 and 1587 by William Cecil, Lord Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth I.
Carbonari : The Carbonari originated in the late 18th century in either Italy or France. They sought to bring about either a republic or a constitutional monarchy, and to defend the rights of the people against all forms of absolutism. They did not exclude the use of arms and assassination to achieve their ends.
Christs Hospital : located on the site of the Grey Friars Monastery in Newgate Street, London, it was established in 1553 by Edward VI (son of Henry VIII) to care for the homeless and unfortunate children of London. It was known as the bluecoat school after the dress of the boys who were educated, clothed and maintained there. An account dated 1850 records that there were 1000 to 1200 boys there, and that ‘The boys still take their milk from wooden bowls, their meat from wooden trenchers, and their beer is poured from leathern black jacks into wooden piggins. They have also a currency and almost a language of their own. The Spital sermons are still preached before them. Every Easter Monday they visit the Royal Exchange, and every Easter Tuesday the Lord Mayor, at the Mansion House.... Boys whose parents may not be free of the City of London are admissible on Free Presentations, as they are called, as also are the sons of clergymen of the Church of England’9, and from an account by Charles Dickens Jnr in 1879 ‘It is generally understood that the principal requirements are, briefly, that children must be presented when between eight and ten years of age, and must be free from active disease, as well as from any physical defect which would render them unable to take care of themselves; that their parents (if one or both be living) have not adequate means of educating and maintaining them; and that the children have not such means of their own.’10 It was not liked by either Coleridge or Charles Lamb, who was his contemporary there.
Clarke : John Clarke was a friend of Joseph Priestly and other leading radicals. His library was full of reading sympathetic to radical politics.
Clarke 2 :Charles Cowden Clarke (1787-1877) was the son of John Clarke. He introduced Leigh Hunt, editor of the Examiner, to Keats’ poetry. He published many books during the later 19th century, including Shakespeare’s Characters (1863) and Molière’s Characters (1865).
Coleridge : Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) was one of the Romantic poets. Dorothy Wordsworth wrote to Mary Hutchinson in 1797 : ‘You had a great loss in not seeing Coleridge. He is a wonderful man. His conversation teems with soul, mind, and spirit. Then he is so benevolent, so good tempered and cheerful, and, like William, interests himself so much about every little trifle. At first I thought him very plain, that is, for about three minutes; he is pale and thin, has a wide mouth, thick lips, and not very good teeth, longish loose-growing half-curling rough black hair. But if you hear him speak for five minutes you think no more of them. His eye is large and full, not dark but grey; such an eye as would receive from a heavy soul the dullest expression; but it speaks every emotion of his animated mind; it has more of the ‘poet's eye in a fine frenzy rolling’ than I ever witnessed. He has fine dark eyebrows and an overhanging forehead.’41
Cowper : William Cowper (1731-1800) was a poet. He also wrote many well known hymns, and translated Homer. Hayley secured a pension of £300 a year for him in 1794.
Dame school : a school in which the rudiments of reading and writing were taught by a woman in her own home.
Drury Lane : The Drury Lane Theatre was built as the Theatre Royal by Thomas Killigrew for his company of actors under a charter from Charles II, and opened in 1663. It was destroyed by fire in 1672, and rebuilt to a design by Christopher Wren in 1674. The theatre again burned down in 1809, and was rebuilt in 1812 to a design by Benjamin Wyatt. The celebrated actor Edmund Kean played here from 1814, when he made his sensational debut as Shylock in Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice.
Dulwich College was founded by Edward Alleyn (1566 - 1626), the actor and entrepreneur, in 1619. Alleyn was famous in his day for his ‘majestic’ style of acting. He played for the Admiral’s Men at the Rose Theatre, taking the parts of Tamburlaine, Faustus and the Jew of Malta in Marlowe’s plays. He made a great deal of money as Squire of the Bears, an official position by which he licensed bear, bull and dog baiting in the capital. He was also the proprietor of a public house and three brothels in Bankside.
Edinburgh Review : The Edinburgh Review was a quarterly magazine founded in 1802. It tended to favour the Whigs in politics, and published critical reviews of the poetry of Coleridge, Wordsworth and Byron. It ceased publication in 1929. Its opposition to Wordsworth began in response to his preface to Lyrical Ballads. Francis Jeffrey wrote : ‘The poor and vulgar may interest us, in poetry, by their situation; but never, we apprehend, by any sentiments that are peculiar to their condition, and still less by any language that is characteristic of it’.52
Epipsychidion : literally ‘a soul upon, above or in addition to a soul’.
Eton College was founded near Windsor in 1440 by Henry VI. A year later he founded King’s College Cambridge, which was to be supplied with scholars from Eton. He lavished income from lands on the school, most of which was promptly taken away when he was deposed in 1461.
Examiner : The Examiner was a weekly periodical which combined articles on politics, literature, drama and the plastic arts. It was presented as a collection of essays rather than as journalism.
Godwin : William Godwin (1756-1836) was first a dissenting minister, then an atheist and a philosopher with anarchist ideas. He married Mary Wollstoncraft, who died giving birth to their daughter, the Mary who was to become Shelley’s second wife.
Gordon : George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824) had achieved considerable success as a poet before first meeting with Shelley. He had left England after a scandal involving his wife, Annabella Millbanke, and his half-sister, Augusta Leigh. He never returned to England, though he kept the presses busy with a series of best selling long poems.
Gothic novel : a type of novel which deals with the supernatural, frightening and fantastic. Typical is the work of Horace Walpole (The Castle of Otranto), Ann Radcliffe, M.G.Lewis and C.R.Maturin.
Greek War of Independence : after 400 years of servitude to the Turks, the Greek War of Independence began in 1821, and concluded in 1829 with the establishment of the Greek State.
Guys Hospital : Built alongside St Thomas’ Hospital in the 1720s, Guy’s was founded by Sir Thomas Guy, a printer and publisher and governor of St Thomas Hospital. He had made a great deal of money in the stock exchange, and he invested much of this new wealth in the creation of the hospital. It opened in 1726 with 100 beds and a staff of 51. It was originally intended that it should admit the incurables that St Thomas refused to accept, but it soon developed into a general hospital.
Harrow School was founded in 1572 by a Royal Charter granted by Elizabeth I to John Lyon, a local farmer. It was one of the nine ‘Clarendon’ schools specifically named in the Public Schools Act of 1868.
Hartley : David Hartley (1703-1757) was educated at Bradford Grammar School and Jesus College, Cambridge. He practised as a physician, but also wrote on philosophy, contributing significantly to the debate about the basis of ethical belief.
Hawkshead Grammar School was founded in 1585 by Edwin Sandys, Archbishop of York.
Hayley : William Hayley (1743-1820) showed in his conduct towards both Blake and Cowper that he was a man of good intentions, but, though his poetry was popular in his day, his work has not stood the test of time, nor was it highly regarded by his fellow poets.
Hellespont : The Hellespont is the sea of Helle, so called because Helle, the daughter of Athamas, drowned there, falling from the magical goat with the Golden Fleece as it flew over on its journey to Colchis (at the eastern end of the Black Sea), the same Golden Fleece that Jason and the Argonauts went to retrieve some time later. It is now called the Dardenelles. It is also the setting for the story of Hero and Leander. Hero lived at Sestos on one side of the Hellespont, Leander at Abydos on the other side, a distance of about four miles, which Leander swam to be with his love. Byron did the same, but to no purpose other than to prove that he could do it. The story of Hero and Leander is told by Ovid (Heroides), Musaeus (Hero and Leander) and Christopher Marlowe (Hero and Leander).
Hobhouse : John Cam Hobhouse (1786-1869) inherited a large fortune from his father. He was a staunch Unitarian, proponent of religious toleration and opponent of aristocratic privilege. He became an MP in 1820, and later held several ministerial posts.
Hogg : Thomas Hogg (1792-1862) produced a biography of Shelley which was published in 1858.
Hunt : Leigh Hunt (1784-1859) set up the Examiner with his brother John in 1808. The publication gave vociferous support to the radical faction, and promoted poets such as Shelley, Keats and Byron. In 1812 the Hunts were sentenced to 2 years in prison and fined £500 for publishing an article criticising the Prince Regent. Hunt continued to edit the periodical from prison. Of Keats he wrote ‘The character of his genius is that of energy and voluptuousness, each able at will to take leave of the other, and possessing in their union, a high feeling of humanity not common in the best authors...’16
Jesus College was formed by the suppression of the 12th century Benedictine nunnery of St Mary and St Radegund in 1496. In the 1790’s several of the fellows converted to Unitarianism, and resigned from the college. William Frend, who was Coleridge’s tutor, followed in their footsteps, but saw no reason to resign. When he published a pamphlet in 1793 attacking the Church of England and the Monarchy, several of the fellows moved to have him expelled.
Johnson : James Johnson (c1750 - 1811) had a music shop in Lawn Market, Edinburgh. Before 1787 he conceived the idea of collecting the words and music of all the existing Scots songs, and publishing them. By the time he met Burns the first volume of his Scots Musical Museum was already being printed.
Jones : Reverend Robert Jones : Wordsworth
Keats : John Keats (1795-1821) was one of the foremost Romantic poets of the early 19th century. He and Shelley met during 1817, but he declined an invitation to stay with Shelley at Marlow.
Leander was the lover of the priestess Hero. He drowned swimming the Hellespont to visit her.
Leigh : Augusta Leigh was the daughter of Byron’s father by his first wife.Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 - 1822) was one of the Romantic poets and a political radical.
Lido : The Lido is a short boat ride from St Mark’s Square. It has about 12km of beaches.
Lime burning : limestones about half the size of bricks were burnt in kilns, to produce lump lime which, when slaked (ie water added) could be spread on fields to neutralise the acidity, and break down heavy clay soils. Lime was also used increasingly in the building industry until the advent of modern cements at the end of the 19th century.
Linnell : John Linnell (1792-1882) : became England’s richest and most popular landscape painter in the later 19th century.
Londos : Andreas Londos : George Finlay records : ‘Lord B. used to describe an evening passed in the company of Londos at Vostiza (in 1809) when both were very young men, with a spirit that rendered the scene worthy of a place in Don Juan. After supper Londos, who had the face and figure of a chimpanzee, sprung upon a table … and commenced singing through his nose Rhiga’s Hymn to Liberty. A new cadi, passing near the house, inquired the cause of the discordant hubbub. A native Mussulman replied, “It is only the young primate Londos, who is drunk, and who is singing hymns to the new panaghia of the Greeks, whom they call Eleutheria”’7 Eleutheria was the festival which celebrated the Greek victory over the Persians at Platæa.
Lowther : Sir James Lowther, Lord Lonsdale (d1802), was known as ‘Wicked Jimmy’. He fell in love with the daughter of one of his tenant farmers, and kept her in style at a manor house in Hampshire. When she grew ill and died, he refused to accept her death, leaving her body lying in bed until the stench of her rotting flesh became too much to endure. He then had her placed in a glass lidded coffin, which he left in a cupboard so that he could return to look at her. When finally she was buried in Paddington Cemetery in London, he had a company of Cumberland militia stand guard over her tomb for several weeks.
Lowther 2 : Sir William Lowther, Lord Lonsdale, was the cousin of Sir James, and succeeded him in May 1802.
Magdelen College was founded in 1448 by William of Wayneflete, Bishop of Winchester.
Malta was seized by Napolean in June 1798 from the Knights of St John. Opposition against the French grew, and the Maltese asked the British Government for support. Nelson began a blockade of Valletta in October 1798, and the French garrison finally surrendered in September 1800. By the Treaty of Amiens in 1802 it was decided that the island should be given back to the Knights, but the Maltese asked the British to stay, and it became a Crown Colony with increasing strategic importance.
Masonic connections : Creech the publisher, Smellie the printer, and Naysmith the engraver, who provided the frontispiece, were all masons.
Masonic Lodge : during the late 18th century the freemasons were responsible for spreading the ideals of the Enlightenment, and were closely involved with the framing of the American constitution.
Medwin : Thomas Medwin was Shelley’s cousin. He, as Shelley, had attended Sion House Academy, and it was he who introduced the Shelleys to Edward and Jane Williams, acquaintances from his time in India.
Millbanke : Annabella Millbanke (b1792) was the daughter of Sir Ralph Millbanke and Lady Judith Noel, who inherited Kirkby Mallory Hall (and several smaller manors) from her brother Lord Wentworth (Thomas Noel). Annabella’s grandfather, also Sir Ralph Millbanke, can be seen in the portrait of the Millbanke and Melbourne Families painted by George Stubbs in c1770, now in the National Gallery, London.
Milton : John Milton (1608-1674) was a poet and pamphleteer. Despite going blind in 1652, he subsequently wrote Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes. He was politically active during the Civil War, writing pamphlets in favour of a free press, divorce, the execution of the King and, just before the Restoration in 1660, in defence of the republic.
Montagu : Basil Montagu (1770-1851) was the son of John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, and his mistress Martha Ray. He was a friend of both Coleridge and Wordsworth, and, like them, an early sympathiser with the French Revolution. His house was a meeting place for London literary society. Montagu’s son was raised by the Wordsworths after the boy’s mother died.
Morning Post : The Morning Post, founded in 1772, was bought by Daniel Stuart in 1795, when its circulation was only 350 copies daily. By employing writers such as Coleridge, Charles Lamb, William Wordsworth and Robert Southey, he increased the circulation to 4000 by 1802, more than twice that of any other daily newspaper. It was amalgamated with the Daily Telegraph in 1937.
Newstead Abbey was originally an Augustinian Priory, founded in about 1170. A religious community continued at the site until Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in 1539, granting Newstead to Sir John Byron, who converted it into a house for his family. The poet Byron sold it to his friend Thomas Wildman. It is now owned by Nottingham Corporation.
Paine : Thomas Paine (d1809) worked as staymaker, a seaman, a school-usher, a tobacconist and an exciseman, until he moved to Pennysylvania in 1774, where he became editor of The Pennysylvania Magazine, in which he wrote articles advocating American independence and the abolition of slavery. He returned to Europe after the American War of Independence, and became involved with the French Revolution. He published The Rights of Man in 1792 as a defence of the French Revolution, and The Age of Reason in 1795, in which he made a detailed analysis of religious belief.
Pars : Henry Pars’ Drawing Class, at number 101 The Strand, was regarded as a preparatory school for entry into the St Martin’s Lane Academy, a school for aspiring artists, which had been set up by William Hogarth in 1735, and which was, until the establishment of the Royal Academy Schools in 1769, the best in London.
Pasha : Ali Pasha (1744?-1822) was made governor of Yanina by the Turks in 1787, and became a quasi independent despot over much of Albania and Epirus. He was assassinated in 1822 by a Turkish agent.
Peacock : Thomas Love Peacock (1785-1866) was a poet, novelist and literary critic. He was also to be Shelley’s executor.
Pinney : John and Azariah Pinney : the Pinney family were substantial landowners in the West Indies. Bristol was the base of their operations in England, and they owned substantial properties there and in the surrounding area. The family’s interest in the West Indies began when their ancestor, also called Azariah, set off for the island of Nevis in 1685 with a Bible, six gallons of sack, four gallons of brandy and £15.
Poole : Tom Poole (1765-1837) was the proprietor of a local tannery, and is still remembered today in Nether Stowey for his philanthropic work with an annual walk by the local women on the Saturday closest to midsummer.
Queen Mab was a lyric poem in which Shelley argued that the Church and the landed aristocracy work together to keep the poor abject. In the notes he wrote on the subject of marriage : ‘a husband and wife ought to continue so long united as they love each other: any law which should bind them to cohabitation for one moment after the decay of their affection would be a most intolerable tyranny....Love is free.’38
Reynolds : John Hamilton Reynolds (1796-1852) was educated at St Paul’s School. He was a promising young poet, having published a considerable amount of material, even though he was a year younger than Keats, and 4 years younger than Shelley.
Royal Academy Schools : The Royal Academy of Painters was established in 1769 under the patronage of King George III, having as its first President the painter Joshua Reynolds. The Schools accepted some 25 students a year for a six year course, for which no fees were charged, though the student was expected to provide his own materials.
St Andrews County Lunatic Asylum was opened in Northampton in 1838 following the County Asylums Act of 1808, which stated that every county should have an asylum for pauper and criminal lunatics. By the standards of the time it was an enlightened institution.
St Johns College was founded in 1511 by Lady Margaret Beaufort.
September : at this point, he made a will leaving £6000 to Harriet, £5000 for his son Charles, £5000 to his daughter Ianthe, £12000 to Claire, £2000 for Hogg, £2000 to Byron, £2500 for Peacock, and the residue of £45000 to Mary (multiply by 50 to give an approximation to early 21st century values).
Serpentine : a lake in Hyde Park, London.
Shelley : Mary Shelley (1797 - 1851) was the daughter of the political radical William Godwin and Mary Wollstoncraft, and the wife of Percy Bysshe Shelley. She is chiefly remembered as the author of Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus (1818).
Shelley 2 : Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 - 1822) was one of the Romantic poets and a political radical.
Southey : Robert Southey (1774-1843) was poet laureate from 1813 to 1843, when he was succeeded by William Wordsworth. He is possibly best known today for his story Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
Taylor & Hessey were publishers of the London Magazine, set up in 1820 by John Scott as a rival to the Gentleman’s Magazine. Scott championed the work of young writers like Hazlitt, Wordsworth, Carlyle and Lamb. In 1821 he accused Blackwoods Magazine of libel, and a representative of that magazine challenged him to a duel. He died as a result of his injuries. Scott’s policies were continued by John Taylor.
Thomson : George Thomson (1757 - 1851) used well known composers, including Pleyel, Haydn and Beethoven to set the pieces.
Trinity College : Cambridge is the largest college in Cambridge. It was founded in 1546 by Henry VIII, combining Michaelhouse and King’s Hall. Most of its endowments came from land confiscated from monasteries.
Troy : in Homeric legend, the city of King Priam, and the scene of the ten year siege by the Greeks. It was long believed to be purely legendary, until the archaeologist Schliemann, following the advice of Frank Calvert, discovered the mound of Hissarlik on the Aegean coast of Turkey in 1870, and excavation uncovered remains dating from the early Bronze age to the Roman era. The Hellespont is the sea of Helle, so called because Helle, the daughter of Athamas, drowned there. It is now called the Dardenelles. Leander was the lover of the priestess Hero. He drowned swimming the Hellespont to visit her.
Tyburn was the location of the first permanent gallows in London. Set up in 1571, by the 18th century Tyburn Tree, a triangular gallows with a capacity for 8 victims on each of the 3 cross-members, had become the main place for public executions in London, and remained so until it was replaced by Newgate in 1783. Crowds of up to 10,000 people would attend the executions, which were held on most Mondays.
Unitarian : a belief system which has as its basic tenets the right of the individual to read and interpret the Bible for himself, the right to seek a direct relationship with God without the mediation of priest or church, and the right of an individual to set his own conscience as a test of the teachings of religious institutions. Further beliefs include the unity or unipersonality of God as opposed to the doctrine of the Trinity (hence the name 'Unitarian'), the humanity as opposed to the deity of God, and the worth of human beings as opposed to ideas of original sin, inherited guilt and innate depravity.
University College, Oxford owes its origins to William of Durham, who died in 1249, giving it a claim to be the oldest college in either Oxford or Cambridge. Originally it was only open to fellows reading theology, but during the 16th century it was opened up to undergraduates.
Vallon : Annette Vallon was Wordsworth’s French tutor. The poem It is a Beauteous Evening, Calm and Free is addressed to their daughter, Caroline, who Wordsworth met for the first time in 1802 in Calais.
Varley : John Varley (1778 - 1842) : was a founder member of the Watercolour Society in 1805. He had a passionate interest in astrology, and encouraged Blake to draw the figures he saw in his visions.
Wedgewood : Josiah Wedgewood (1730-1794) founded the ceramic company, which still bears his name, in 1759. The company manufactures ceramic wares of high quality in large quantities. They are probably best known for their antique relief wares after the designs of John Flaxman, who helped to establish the neoclassical taste in England.
Wedgewood 2 : Tom Wedgewood was the son of Josiah Wedgewood.
Westbrook : Harriet Westbrook (1795-1816) was the daughter of a successful owner of a coffee-house in Grosvenor Square. She became a friend of Helen Shelley, Shelley’s younger sister, and it was through her that she met the poet.
Whig was a nickname for the party in England which championed both religious dissent and social and political reform. The name originated as a derogatory reference to a group of Scottish Covenanters around 1679. The Whig faction became the Liberal Party in the mid-nineteenth century.
Williams : Edward and Jane Williams : Jane Williams had a good voice, and Shelley wrote several lyrics for her. She was the sister of General Sir John Wheeler Cleveland, and was actually married to a John Johnson, a brutal man she was unable to divorce. She lived with Edward Williams as his wife until his death, with Shelley, in 1822. Edward was the author of Sporting Sketches during a Short Stay in Hindustane (1814). Shelley appreciated the softness of their society after his brushes with Byron.
Wollstoncraft : Mary Wollstoncraft (later Shelley) (1797-1851) was the daughter of William Godwin and his first wife, also Mary Wollstoncraft, author and pioneer of women’s liberation. Claire Clairmont (1798-1879) was the daughter of William Godwin’s second wife by her first marriage.
Wordsworth : William Wordsworth (1770-1850) was an early enthusiast for the French revolution, and pioneered a more natural approach to poetry through the use of ‘ordinary’, or sometimes vernacular, language.
Wordsworth 2 :Dorothy Wordsworth (1771-1855) was William’s sister and companion. She kept a long running journal.