Paynter, David William (DNB00)

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PAYNTER, DAVID WILLIAM (1791–1823), author, son of Richard Walter Paynter, attorney, was born at Manchester in 1791, and educated at the grammar school of that town. He was intended for the medical profession, but early evinced a predilection for poetry and the drama, and became closely associated with James Watson, a local literary character, with whom he frequently figured in the magazines and newspapers as ‘Corporal Trim,’ while Watson called himself ‘Uncle Toby.’ His separate publications were: 1. ‘The History and Adventures of Godfrey Ranger,’ 1813, 3 vols., a sort of novel, in coarse imitation of Smollett. 2. ‘Eurypilus, King of Sicily: a Tragedy,’ 1816, 4to. 3. ‘The Muse in Idleness,’ 1819. This volume was the subject of a sarcastic article by James Crossley [q. v.] in ‘Blackwood's Magazine.’ 4. ‘King Stephen, or the Battle of Lincoln: an Historical Tragedy,’ 1822. 5. ‘The Wife of Florence: a Tragedy,’ 1823 (posthumous). In 1820 he edited Watson's literary remains, under the title of ‘The Spirit of the Doctor,’ to which he appended some of his own fugitive pieces, including letters from Lancaster Castle, where he was for some time a prisoner for debt. In the introduction to ‘King Stephen’ he tells of his efforts to get his productions put on the stage. After they had been declined by several managers he collected a company of his own, and brought out ‘King Stephen’ at the Minor Theatre, Manchester, on 5 Dec. 1821. This seems to have been the only occasion on which a piece of his was acted. He died at Manchester on 14 March 1823, and was buried at Blackley, near that city. He married in 1813, and left children.

[Manchester Guardian, 6 Oct. 1841; Procter's Literary Reminiscences and Gleanings, 1860, p. 57; Manchester School Register (Chetham Soc.), ii. 229; Blackwood's Mag. 1821, ix. 64, 196.]

C. W. S.