Plumptre, Charles John (DNB00)

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PLUMPTRE, CHARLES JOHN (1818–1887), barrister and writer on elocution, born on 28 March 1818, was elder brother of Edward Hayes Plumptre [q. v.], dean of Wells. After receiving an education at private schools and King's College, London, he was entered at Gray's Inn in May 1838, and was called to the bar in June 1844. In conjunction with George Harris he edited vols. xi. and xii. of ‘The County Courts' Chronicle,’ and, in conjunction with Mr. Serjeant Edward William Cox [q. v.], between 1850 and 1860 he established the first penny readings for the people. His fine presence and remarkable command of the modulations of a sweet and powerful voice led him to devote especial attention to the study and practice of elocution. He gradually withdrew from practice at the bar and devoted his chief attention to lecturing on his favourite art, especially at the universities and at the various theological colleges, where his instructions were highly valued. He held official appointments as lecturer on elocution both at Oxford and at King's College. In 1861 he published a course of lectures delivered at Oxford in 1860; these subsequently formed the basis of a large work, ‘The Principles and Practice of Elocution’ (London, 1861, 8vo), which was dedicated to the Prince of Wales, and has gone through five editions. He died on 15 June 1887.

[Times, 21 June 1887; Men at the Bar; Men of the Time, 1868; private information.]

R. G.