Christopher Anstey: Guide to Bath

Christopher Anstey, English poet, was the son of the rector of Brinkley, Cambridgeshire, where he was born on the 31st of October 1724. He was educated at Eton and King's College, Cambridge, where he distinguished himself for his Latin verses. He became a fellow of his college (1745), but the degree of M.A. was withheld from him, owing to the offence caused by a speech made by him beginning: "Doctores sine doctrina, magistri artium sine artibus, et baccalaurei baculo potius quam lauro digni." ("Teacher without doctrine...") In 1754 he succeeded to the family estates and left Cambridge; and two years later he married the daughter of Felix Calvert of Albury Hall, Herts. The marriage was by all accounts a success. Anstey referred to his wife as 'the pattern of virtue, and the source of all my happiness'. Thirteen children were born to the couple, though only eight survived their father. For some time Anstey published nothing of any note, though he cultivated letters as well as his estates. Some visits to Bath, however, where later, in 1770, he made his permanent home, resulted in 1766 in his famous rhymed letters, The New Bath Guide or Memoirs of the B. .. r. .. d [Blunderhead] Family...", which had immediate success, and was enthusiastically praised for its original kind of humour by Horace Walpole. On the strength of this success, Anstey and his family moved to Bath, taking residence in the newly constructed Royal Crescent. In 1792 the family moved again, this time into the also newly completed Marlborough Buildings, where they lived until his death in 1805. The Election Ball, in Poetical Letters from Mr Inkle at Bath to his Wife at Gloucester (1776) sustained the reputation won by the Guide. Anstey's other productions in verse and prose are now forgotten. He died on the 3rd of August 1805. His Poetical Works were collected in 1808 (2 vols.) by the author's son John (d. 1819), himself author of The Pleader's Guide (1796), in the same vein with the New Bath Guide. Information obtained from Wikipedia and They Came to Bath.

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