Thomas Sanderson (poet)

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Thomas Sanderson

Thomas Sanderson (1759–1829) was an English poet. He spent almost his entire life in Cumberland.

Cumberland Historic county of England

Cumberland is a historic county of North West England that had an administrative function from the 12th century until 1974. It was bordered by Northumberland to the east, County Durham to the southeast, Westmorland and Lancashire to the south, and the Scottish counties of Dumfriesshire and Roxburghshire to the north. It formed an administrative county from 1889 to 1974 and now forms part of Cumbria.



Born in 1759 at Currigg in the chapelry of Raughtonhead, Cumberland, he was the fourth son of John Sanderson (1723–1776), by his wife Sarah Scott of Caldbeck. He was educated first by his father, and then at Sebergham school. [1]

Sebergham village in United Kingdom

Sebergham is a small village and civil parish in the English county of Cumbria. It is located on the B5305, south of Carlisle and south-east of Wigton. The civil parish population at the 2011 Census was 365.

A competent classical scholar, Sanderson in 1778 became master at a school at Greystoke, near Penrith. Later he was a private tutor in the neighbourhood of Morpeth, Northumberland. He returned to his mother's house at Sebergham, and lived in complete seclusion, but occasionally met, at a spot overlooking the River Caldew, Josiah Relph, the Cumbrian poet. On his mother's death he resumed work as a schoolmaster, first at Blackhall grammar school, near Carlisle, and then at Beaumont, where, in 1791, he became acquainted with Jonathan Boucher. [1]

Greystoke, Cumbria village in Cumbria, England

Greystoke is a village and civil parish on the edge of the Lake District National Park in Cumbria, England, about 4 miles (6.4 km) west of Penrith. The village centres on a green surrounded by stone houses and cottages.

Morpeth, Northumberland town in Northumberland, England

Morpeth is a historic market town in Northumberland, North East England, lying on the River Wansbeck. Nearby villages include Mitford, Clifton and Pegswood. In the 2011 census, the population of Morpeth was given as 14,017, up from 13,833 in the 2001 census. The earliest record of the town is believed to be from the Neolithic period. The meaning of the town's name is uncertain, but it may refer to its position on the road to Scotland and a murder which occurred on that road. An alternative origin is a derivation of 'murderers' path' from the time when the gallows were on the Common. The de Marley family was granted the Barony of Morpeth in c. 1080 and built two castles in the town in the late 11th century and the 13th century. The town was granted its coat of arms in 1552. By the mid 1700s it had become one of the main markets in England, having been granted a market charter in 1199, but the opening of the railways in the 1800s led the market to decline. The town's history is celebrated in the annual Northumbrian Gathering.

River Caldew river in the United Kingdom

The River Caldew is a river running through Cumbria in England. Historically, the county watered by the Caldew was Cumberland.

Sanderson had some success as a poet, and legacies from relatives; he gave up teaching and retired to Kirklinton, nine miles north-east of Carlisle, where he boarded with a farmer, and spent the remainder of his life as a writer. He died on 16 January 1829, when a fire broke out in his room while he was asleep. Some of his manuscripts were lost in the flames. [1]

Kirklinton village in United Kingdom

Kirklinton is a village in the Carlisle district, in the English county of Cumbria. The population of the civil parish of Kirklinton Middle, taken at the 2011 census was 384. It is a few miles away from the large village of Longtown. It has a church called St Cuthbert's Church. The parish contains the village of Smithfield.


Boucher thought well of some verses which Sanderson had contributed a "Crito" to the Cumberland Packet. He induced Sanderson to contribute an "Ode to the Genius of Cumberland" to William Hutchinson's History of Cumberland (1794). [1]

William Hutchinson (1732–1814) was an English lawyer, antiquary and topographer.

In 1799 Sanderson wrote a memoir of Josiah Relph, with a pastoral elegy, for an edition of the poet's works. In 1800 he published a volume of Original Poems.’ He published only two poems after 1800, while planning a long one on "Benevolence". [1]

In 1807 Sanderson issued a Companion to the Lakes, a compilation from Thomas Pennant, William Gilpin, and Arthur Young, supplemented by personal knowledge. Cumbrian ballads are given in the appendix. He defended the literary style of David Hume against Gilbert Wakefield, in two essays in the Monthly Magazine , and contributed a memoir of Boucher to the Carlisle Patriot for July 1824. Other friends were Robert Anderson, the Cumbrian ballad-writer, to whose Works (ed. 1820) he contributed an essay on the peasantry of Cumberland, and John Howard, the mathematician. [1]

Unlike his friends, Sanderson never wrote in dialect, but his rhymes occasionally showed the influence of local pronunciation. In 1829 appeared Life and Literary Remains of Thomas Sanderson, by J. Lowthian, rector of Sebergham, 1816–18. [1]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Lee, Sidney, ed. (1897). "Sanderson, Thomas"  . Dictionary of National Biography . 50. London: Smith, Elder & Co.


Wikisource-logo.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain :  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1897). "Sanderson, Thomas". Dictionary of National Biography . 50. London: Smith, Elder & Co.

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