Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Sherer, Moyle

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SHERER, MOYLE (1789–1869), traveller and author, youngest son of Joseph Sherer, esq., of Southampton, was born in that city on 18 Feb. 1789. He was lineally descended, through his grandmother, from the Moyles of Bake in Cornwall. At twelve years of age he was sent to Winchester College, but left on obtaining a commission in the 34th, now called the Border regiment. In 1809 his corps was ordered to Portugal, and was soon engaged in the war in the Peninsula. The regiment took part in the engagements of Albuera, Arroyo dos Molinos, and Vittoria. In the summer of 1813, when Soult was endeavouring to force the English back from the Pyrenees, Sherer was taken prisoner at the pass of Maya, and was removed to France, where he remained for two years, living chiefly at Bayonne.

In 1818 the 34th went out to Madras, and from that presidency Sherer sent home the manuscript of his first book, ‘Sketches of India.’ It was published in 1821, and went through four editions. Its author returned to England in 1823 by the Red Sea, and, encouraged by his previous success as an author, produced his ‘Recollections of the Peninsula,’ which was also popular and reached a fifth edition. In 1824 his ‘Scenes and Impressions in Egypt and Italy’ followed, being an account of his pioneering experience of an overland route. In 1825 Sherer turned to romance, and wrote ‘The Story of a Life,’ in 2 vols., which passed through three editions. In the same year a visit to the continent produced a volume entitled ‘A Ramble in Germany’ (1826). While in India, Sherer had imbibed evangelical religious views, and, anxious to promote them among his comrades in the army, published in 1827 a little treatise named ‘Religio Militis.’ But in 1829 he returned to fiction, and brought out his ‘Tales of the Wars of our Times,’ in 2 vols. This work proved less successful than some of its predecessors. Of a ‘Life of Wellington,’ which he contributed to Dr. Lardner's ‘Cabinet Library,’ 1830–2, the first volume passed through three editions, and the second through four. In 1837 he published his final essay in fiction, a tale of the civil war of Charles I's reign, entitled ‘The Broken Font’ (2 vols.). It was somewhat coldly received. In 1838 he issued his latest publication, a volume of extracts from his earlier works, named ‘Imagery of Foreign Travel.’

Though warmly attached to his profession, Sherer had little taste for garrison life, and retiring from the army about 1836, took up his abode at Claverton Farm, near Bath. A brevet majority was all that rewarded his long service. For many years, though changing his residence, he clung to the same neighbourhood. Subsequently a nervous disease required that he should be placed in medical hands. He never completely recovered, but survived to the winter of 1869. He was buried in Brislington churchyard.

[Private information.]

J. W. S.