Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Sherwin, Ralph (1799-1830)

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SHERWIN, RALPH (1799–1830), actor, born in April 1799 at Bishop Auckland in Durham, received the rudiments of education in his birthplace, and subsequently at a school in Witton, presumably Witton-le-Wear. During five years he studied medicine in London and Edinburgh. His first appearance on the stage was made in York in July 1818, under Mansell. In the York company he remained two years, acting in Leeds, Hull, and Sheffield. He then went to Birmingham, under Bunn, losing his wardrobe when the theatre was burned down. At Brighton, under Brunton, he played low comedy and old men, subsequently rejoining Bunn at Leicester, and reappearing in the newly erected theatre in Birmingham. On 11 Feb. 1823, as Sherwin from York, he appeared at Drury Lane, playing Dandie Dinmont in ‘Guy Mannering’ to the Dominie Sampson of Liston. Engaged for three years, he acted Robin in ‘No Song no Supper,’ Paddock in ‘My Spouse and I,’ Diggory Delph in ‘Family Jars,’ and other parts. He was, on 12 Feb. 1825, the original Shock, a very poor shepherd, in Joseph Lunn's adaptation, ‘The Shepherd of Derwent Vale, or the Innocent Culprit;’ on 31 May Sam Sharpset in the ‘Slave’ to Macready's Gambia, and on 29 June Russet in the ‘Jealous Wife.’ Few opportunities were, however, given him, and at the end of the three years he seems not to have been re-engaged. Irregular habits were the reputed cause of his dismissal. He then took to driving a stage-coach, which he upset, returning for a short time to the stage. Sherwin had a fine face and figure, expressive features, and a voice smooth and powerful. He was a good mimic, could sketch likenesses with remarkable fidelity, and was an efficient representative of Yorkshire characters. His talent was, however, impaired by indulgence. He died in 1830, in Durham, at his father's house.

[Biography of the British Stage, 1824; Gent. Mag. 1830, ii. 376; Genest's Account of the English Stage.]

J. K.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.250
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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101 ii 20 Sherwin, Ralph (1799-1830) : for Wilton (bis) read Witton