One of English literature’s great polymaths, William Barnes was born into a farming family in 1801 at Bagber, Sturminster Newton, in Blackmoor, Dorset. Educated at the local church school, Barnes became clerk to a local solicitor, Dashwood, at the age of thirteen. He continued his education with the help of a local rector and the headmaster of the local Grammar School. He left Dorchester in 1823 to become a schoolmaster in Mere, Wiltshire. In 1819 he fell in love with Julia Miles, and married her in 1827, once he had overcome the initial opposition of her father, Dorchester’s Supervisor of Excise. Barnes remained devoted to her for the rest of her life (and, indeed, for the rest of his). After her death in 1852 he closed the …
Van-Hagen, Stephen. "William Barnes". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 October 2006; last revised 18 September 2007.
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