A native of Hurcott, near Kidderminster, he was born, according to his own account, in 1761 and educated at a school in Hartlebury, Worcestershire.
He served his apprenticeship as a printer at Nottingham and set up his own press at Monmouth in 1791. He did a considerable amount of 'jobbing' work, but his chief claim to fame is the fact that he collected much material relating to the history and topography of Monmouthshire. Whilst the arrangement of the material in his books shows little sign of literary or critical judgement, his works were an invaluable source of information to later historians, including David Williams, archdeacon William Coxe, and Sir Joseph A. Bradney. His first publication was A Descriptive account of Raglan Castle, 1792. Other well-known works, of which several reached their sixth and later editions, are Descriptive account of Tintern Abbey, 1793; Account of the scenery of the Wye, 1795; The Excursion down the Wye, 1796; Accounts of … Monmouth, 1804; and the reprint of the 1607 pamphlet entitled Lamentable Newes out of Monmouthshire in Wales … the great overflowing of waters in the said countye, 1829. He was twice mayor of Monmouth (1819 and 1821).
He died 31 December 1830 and was buried at S. Mary's, Monmouth. The monument in the churchyard was not erected until twenty-five years after his death and gives the date of his death, wrongly, as 7 January 1831.
Published date: 1959
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