OLD DEVONPORT . UK
www.olddevonport.uk
 

  Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: March 12,, 2016.
Webpage updated: April 19, 2016

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WHO WAS WHO IN OLD DEVONPORT

NOEL THOMAS CARRINGTON (1777-1830)

Noel Thomas Carrington was born at number 21 Princess (sic) Street in Plymouth-Dock in 1777.  His father was a sawyer in the Royal Dockyard.

His early education was at a school in Cumberland Street kept by a Mr Walters.  At fifteen years of age he entered the Royal Dockyard as an apprentice shipwright.  It is said that his 'moody and contemplative mind' and 'studious habits and reserved manners' caused him to be 'frequently reproved for his indifference to the plain duties of his station.'  After three years he fled aboard a man-of-war and took part in the sea action off Cape Finisterre on February 14th 1797.  His first verses were written in celebration of that victory and when his Captain saw them he granted the boy his freedom and sent him home.

Upon his return to Plymouth-Dock he married and set up a school at the head of Fore Street.  He soon abandoned this project and moved to London, where he found various small jobs, one of which was Poll Clerk at the Middlesex election.  In 1804 he became a teacher at Maidstone in Kent, where he re-married.  He returned to Plymouth-Dock in 1809, where he continued teaching at Marlborough Street, then at the back of George Street, and finally in Saint Aubyn Street.  He also served with the Plymouth-Dock Volunteers.  At Dock he wrote his two best known poems, "On the Banks of the Tamar", which was published in 1820, and "Dartmoor" in 1826.  He also wrote "My Native Village".

The opening of the Classical Subscription schools in the town brought about a reduction in the children attending his school and, having a large family, he fell into poverty.  In March 1830 he closed his school and, suffering badly from consumption, removed to Bath, where his son, Frederick George Carrington, had become proprietor of the Bath Chronicle newspaper.  For the last three years of his life His Majesty, King George IV, allowed him a pension of 25 per annum from the Privy Purse. 

Noel Thomas Carrington, who was acknowledged as England's first descriptive poet of the age, died at Bath on Thursday September 2nd 1830 and was buried at Combe Hay Church, near Bath.