The Ingoldsby Legends by The Rev. Richard H. Barham.

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The Ingoldsby Legends


The Rev. Richard H. Barham.


(Abridged from the memoir by his son)

RICHARD HARRIS BARHAM was born on December 6, 1788, in

Canterbury, were his family had for many generations resided.

His father, dying in 1795, bequeathed a moderate estate to his

only son, then about five or six years of age. A portion of

this property consisted of the manor known as Tappington, or

Tapton Wood, so often alluded to in The Ingoldsby Legends. The

boy was sent to St. Paul's School, of which he was for two

years 'captain.' He then entered at nineteen as a gentleman

commoner at Brazenose College, and was speedily elected a

member of the well-known Phoenix Common Room, at that time one

of the 'crack' university clubs. Here he found a kindred spirit

in the gay and gifted Lord George Grenville (afterwards Lord

Nugent). Here, too, be was again thrown into contact with one

whom he had known in earlier days, Cecil Tattersall, the friend

of Shelley and Lord Byron, and, like most of that misguided

party, but too well known by his abused talents and melancholy

end. And here also his intimacy with Theodore Hook took rise.

College life, more especially at that day, was likely to

present numerous and sore temptations to one who was

overflowing with good-nature and high spirits, and whose early

loss had not only placed a perilous abundance of funds at his

disposal, but also left him utterly unchecked by parental

counsel and authority. His reply to Mr. Hodson, his tutor,

afterwards principal of Brazenose, will convey some notion of

the hours he was wont to keep. This gentleman, on one occasion,

demanded an explanation of his continued absence from morning


'The fact is, sir,' urged his pupil, 'you are too late for


'Too late!' repeated the tutor, in astonishment.

'Yes, sir. I cannot sit up till seven o'clock in the

morning: I am a man of regular habits; and unless I get to bed

by four or five at latest, I am really fit for nothing next


The habit was one for 'time to strengthen, not efface.' No

one might have quoted the old Scotch ballad with greater

feeling and sincerity:

'Up in the morning's nae for me,

Up in the morning airly:

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