William Hayley is remembered today as a poet and a man of letters of modest abilities. His reputation rests mainly upon his biography of the poet William Cowper, and his friendship with the major artists and intellectuals of his time, such as William Blake, John Flaxman, Edward Gibbon, William Cowper, Anna Seward, Charlotte Smith, Walter Scott and Amelia Opie.

William Hayley was born in Chichester, Sussex, on 29 October 1745. He was the surviving child of Thomas Hayley, a wealthy and well-educated man, brought up in the Georgian Deanery of Chichester, and of Mary (née Yates), the daughter of a large landowner from Horsham, Sussex. He received his initial education at the Kingston Grammar School of London (1750), where he suffered from an unidentified malady that eventually left him lame.

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Citation: Volpone, Annalisa. "William Hayley". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 28 July 2010 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=2042, accessed 22 April 2024.]

2042 William Hayley 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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