Friday, October 24, 2014

Richard Harris Barham (1788-1845)

Aka Thomas Ingoldsby
Born December 6, 1788, Canterbury, Kent, England
Died June 17, 1845, London, England

Richard Harris Barham was born on December 6, 1788, in Canterbury, England, and attended Saint Paul's School and Brasenose College, Oxford. At age seven he inherited his father's estate, and while in school he was crippled in his right arm by a coach accident. Rather than living a vigorous physical (or dissipated) life, he became a cleric and writer, contributing first to Blackwood's Magazine (in 1826), then to Bentley's Miscellany (in 1837). His tales for Bentley's, some in verse, some in prose, became very popular. They were collected in three volumes collectively known as The Ingoldsby Legends and published from 1840 to 1847 under the nom de plume Thomas Ingoldsby. According to Alan Major, "[They] were the first burlesque and horror tales in verse in the English language." Weird Tales reprinted "The Specter of Tappington" in its October 1928 issue. The story was originally published in Bentley's Miscellany in the February 2, 1837, issue. The editor of the magazine was Charles Dickens, and the story was the first in the Ingoldsby Legend series.

Barham also wrote for the Edinburgh Review, Literary Gazette, and John Gorton's Biographical Dictionary. His novel, My Cousin Nicholas, was published in 1834, and his collection of verse, The Ingoldsby Lyrics, posthumously by his son. Richard Harris Barham died in London on June 17, 1845, at age fifty-six.

Richard Harris Barham's Story in Weird Tales
"The Specter of Tappington" (Oct. 1928)

Further Reading
"Thomas Ingoldsby of Tappington Hall" by Alan Major, an extract from Bygone Kent, Vol. 9, No. 9, Sept. 1988, here.

Richard Harris Barham, aka Thomas Ingoldsby (1788-1845)

Text copyright 2014 Terence E. Hanley

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