Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Richardson, John (1817-1886)

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RICHARDSON, JOHN (1817–1886), Cumberland poet, was born at Stone House (now called Piper House) in Naddle Vale, near Keswick, Cumberland, on 20 Aug. 1817. His father, Daniel Richardson, and his mother, Mary Faulder, were natives of the Vale. He was educated under ‘Priest’ Wilson, who taught the school of St. John's in the Vale, and was incumbent of its little church. On leaving school Richardson followed his father's trade as a mason, and eventually as a builder. Among other works of a public character he rebuilt the church of St. John's in the Vale, the parsonage, and the schoolhouse. About 1857 he became master of the school, in which he laboured with untiring energy and remarkable success till partially disabled by a paralytic seizure about a year before his death. He died on the fell side, near his residence, Bridge House, on 30 April 1886. He married Grace Birkett, who, with eight of their family of ten children, survived him. Many of his writings, which are numerous, both in prose and verse, are in the vernacular of the district of Cumberland in which he had spent his life. Besides his ‘Cummerland Talk’ (1st ser. Carlisle, 1871; 2nd ser. Carlisle, 1876), Richardson read seven papers to the Keswick Literary Society, which were printed in the ‘Transactions of the Cumberland Association for the Advancement of Literature and Science.’ In 1879 and 1880 he contributed to the ‘West Cumberland Times’ a series of sketches, ‘Stwories 'at Granny used to tell.’ He also contributed to various newspapers pieces of poetry and prose, some of them in the Cumberland dialect. Most of his compositions are characterised by humour and pathos. As a poet and song-writer he had a great local reputation, and his literary work often proved of conspicuous merit.

[Information from Mr. W. Routh Fitzpatrick, his son-in-law; Rawnsley's Literary Associations of the English Lakes, ii. 234.]

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