A Blupete Biography Page

Early Years, Part 1 to the Life & Works of
Robert Southey

Thomas Southey, a Bristol linendraper, married Margaret Hill in 1772. Their son, Robert, was born to them at Bristol on August 12th, 1774, as the second and eldest surviving child.1 In his early years Robert was mostly brought up by his mother's half sister, living in Bath, Miss Elizabeth Tyler. Bath was a centre to which the rich and influential regularly retired and thus it was a cultural centre. Miss Tyler was to bring her young charge to cultural events including live theatre.

At the age of fourteen, Robert was sent, at his uncle's expense (his uncle was Rev. Herbert Hill who was the Chaplain to the "British Factory" at Lisbon, Portugal) to Westminster School. During his last year at school, Southey entered a period of acute adolescent rebellion, finally being expelled for a school-magazine essay condemning flogging. As a result of this expulsion Southey was refused entrance at Christ Church, Oxford; however, he was accepted at Balliol where he matriculated in November 1792. Southey's stay at Oxford was not so profitable for him, as he was later to declare, "All I learnt was a little swimming ... and a little boating."2

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2011