Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 46.djvu/77

This page has been validated.

land, should be translated from Chichester to Worcester, and this was done by papal bull dated 27 Feb. 1426 (Ord. Privy Council, iii. 180, 190).

In November 1432 he was appointed to go to the council of Basle, with license to visit the ‘limina apostolorum’ for a year after the dissolution of the council (Fœdera, x. 527–9). He does not seem to have set out until the following spring, and shortly after his arrival at Basle he died (23 Aug. 1433), and was buried there. His will, dated 6 Dec. 1432, was proved on 18 Oct. 1433 (Ord. Privy Council, iv. 156; Le Neve, iii. 60). In the Cottonian Collection (Nero E. V.) there is a fine manuscript entitled ‘Origo et Processus Gentis Scotorum ac de Superioritate Regum Angliæ super regnum illud’ which belonged to Polton, and was bought from his executors by Humphrey, duke of Gloucester.

[Rymer's Fœdera, orig. ed.; Proceedings … of Privy Council, ed. Nicolas; Von der Hardt's Concilium Constantiense, 1697, &c.; Lenfant's Concile de Basle, 1731; Godwin, De Præsulibus Angliæ, ed. Richardson, 1743, pp. 466, 491, 509; Le Neve's Fasti Eccl. Anglic. ed. Hardy; Stubbs's Reg. Sacrum.]

J. T-t.

POLWARTH, fifth Baron. [See Scott, Henry Francis, 1800–1867.]

POLWHELE, RICHARD (1760–1838), miscellaneous writer, claimed descent from Drogo de Polwhele, chamberlain of the Empress Matilda. Upon Drogo Matilda bestowed in 1140 a grant of lands in Cornwall (Gent. Mag. 1822 pt. ii. p. 551, 1823, pt. i. pp. 26, 98). The family long resided at Polwhele, in the parish of St. Clement, Cornwall, about two miles from Truro, on the road to St. Columb, and several of its members were among the Cornish representatives in parliament. His father, Thomas Polwhele, died on 4 Feb. 1777, and was buried in St. Clement's churchyard on 8 Feb.; his mother was Mary (d. 1804), daughter of Richard Thomas, alderman of Truro (Polwhele, Cornwall, vii. 43); she suggested to Dr. Wolcot the subject of his well-known poem, ‘The Pilgrim and the Peas’ (Redding, Fifty Years, i. 266).

Richard, the only son, was born at Truro on 6 Jan. 1760, and was educated at Truro grammar school by Cornelius Cardew, D.D. He began to write poetry when about twelve years old, and his juvenile productions were praised by Wolcot, then resident at Truro, but with the judicious qualification that he should drop ‘his damned epithets.’ On his father's death in 1777 he accompanied his mother on a visit to Bath and Bristol, where he made the acquaintance of literary personages, including Mrs. Macaulay and Hannah More. He presented the first of these ladies with an ode on her birthday, which was printed at Bath, with five others, in April 1777; and he was induced by the flattery of his friends to publish in the next year a volume of poems called ‘The Fate of Lewellyn.’ The title-page concealed the author's name, stating that it was ‘by a young gentleman of Truro School,’ whereupon the critic in the ‘Monthly Review’ stated that the master of that school should have kept it in manuscript, and Cardew retorted that he was ignorant of the proposed publication. This premature appearance in print impaired Polwhele's reputation. From that date he was always publishing, but all his works were deficient in thoroughness.

Polwhele matriculated as commoner at Christ Church, Oxford, on 3 March 1778, and received from it two of Fell's exhibitions. He kept his terms until he was admitted a student in civil law, but he left the university without taking a degree. In 1782 he was ordained by Bishop Ross as curate to the Rev. Thomas Bedford, rector of Lamorran, on the left bank of the Fal, Cornwall, but stayed there for a very short time, as in the same year he was offered the curacy of Kenton, near Powderham Castle, Devonshire, the seat of the Courtenays. In this position he remained until the close of 1793. The parish is situate in beautiful scenery; many of the resident gentry were imbued with literary tastes, and it is but a few miles from Exeter, where Polwhele joined a literary society which ‘met every three weeks at the Globe Tavern at one o'clock; recited literary compositions in prose and verse, and dined at three’ (Polwhele, Cornwall, v. 105). The association published in 1792 ‘Poems chiefly by Gentlemen of Devonshire and Cornwall’ (2 vols.), edited by Polwhele, and in 1796 ‘Essays by a Society of Gentlemen at Exeter.’ A quarrel over the second publication gave rise to a bitter controversy between Polwhele and his colleagues (Gent. Mag. 1796, pt. ii.). Meanwhile he projected his Haldon, and from the diocesan records ‘History of Devonshire,’ and derived considerable assistance from the documents at Powderham, Mamhead, and at Exeter (cf. ib. 1790, pt. ii. pp. 1178–80). His list of subscribers was soon full, but the work proved unsatisfactory.

Polwhele had married in 1782 Loveday, second daughter of Samuel Warren of Truro, by his wife, Blanche Sandys, of an old Cornish family. On 1 Feb. 1793 his wife died at Kenton, aged 28, leaving one son and two