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The Reverend William Purton (1833-1891)

The Reverend William Purton (1833-1891)

Having grown up among artists, the Reverend William Purton became an amateur draughtsman of some skill and flair. This is demonstrated by both the caricatures in his published volume, The Dunce’s Dessert (1861), and his unpublished drawings for Tennyson’s Idylls of the King (1864).

William Purton was born in Hampstead, Middlesex, on 4 February 1833, the elder surviving son of William Purton of the Woodhouse, Hopton Wafers, Cleobury Mortimer, Shropshire, and his wife and cousin, Sarah Cooper of Hampstead. His grandfather was William Purton of Faintree Hall, Shropshire.

Purton grew up in an artistic atmosphere, as his father was an amateur artist, and one of John Constable’s circle of friends in Hampstead during the last years of his life.

Like his grandfather and father before him, Purton went up to Trinity College, Oxford, in 1851, and gained a BA in Mathematics in 1855, and an MA in 1858. He was ordained deacon by the Bishop of Hereford in 1856, and priest by the same Bishop in the following year. He commenced his ministerial duties, in 1856, as curate of St Leonard’s, Bridgnorth, Shropshire (his uncle, John Purton, being the rector of nearby Oldbury).

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