Crocker, Charles (DNB00)

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CROCKER, CHARLES (1797–1861), poet, was born at Chichester of poor parents 22 June 1797. In his twelfth year he was apprenticed to a shoemaker, and he worked at this trade for twenty years, meantime composing verses which he wrote down at intervals of leisure. Some lines which he sent to the ‘Brighton Herald’ having attracted considerable attention, a list of subscribers was obtained for the publication of a volume of his poems, from which a large profit was obtained. Among his warmest friends was Robert Southey, who asserted that the sonnet ‘To the British Oak’ was one of the finest, if not the finest, in the English language. In 1839 he obtained employment from Mr. Hayley Mason, the publisher of his works, in the bookselling department of the business, but in 1845 he resigned this situation for that of sexton in Chichester Cathedral, to which was soon afterwards added that of bishop's verger. He thoroughly mastered all the architectural details of the building, and his descriptive account of it to visitors was generally followed with more than usual interest. He also published a small handbook on the building entitled ‘A Visit to Chichester Cathedral.’ A complete edition of his ‘Poetical Works’ appeared in 1860. He died 6 Oct. 1861.

[Gent. Mag. June 1862, new ser. xlii. 782–3.]

T. F. H.