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MS 656

Reference code

MS 656

Title

Winthrop Mackworth Praed and Sir George Young (3rd Baronet) collection

Level

Sub-fonds

Administrative / Biographical history

Winthrop Mackworth Praed (1802–1839) Winthrop Mackworth Praed was born on 26 June 1802 to William Mackworth Praed (1756–1835) and his wife Elizabeth (1767–1810). He was the fourth of five children and was particularly close to his youngest sister Susan (1804/5–1895) throughout his life. Growing up the family would split their time between London, where William Praed was a Serjeant-at-Law, and Bitton House, the family estate in Teignmouth, Devon. He followed his older brother Mackworth Praed from Langley Broom School, near Colnbrook to Eton College where he stayed between 1814 and 1821. He would often suffer from ill health; however this did not affect his ability at school and from an early age excelled at the Classics, having work ‘sent up for good’. He left his mark at Eton founding a manuscript journal in 1820 entitled ‘Apis Matina’ and afterwards ‘The Etonian’. The works were dominated by his contributions which would often show signs of the satirical verse he would become well known for. He also started the first school library 1821 in a room belonging to Williams the bookseller and his legacy continued when the ‘Praed Society’ was set up in his honour. From Eton he went to Trinity College Cambridge, were he read classics, winning a number of medals and prizes for his work and in 1825 was bracketed third in the classical tripos. He was an active member of the Cambridge Union Society, where he was praised for his debating, which often took a radical stance. Throughout his schooling Praed would regularly pen verses, which would often accompany the letters to his sister Susan, and this was to continue throughout his life. He left Cambridge in 1825 and became the tutor to Lord Ernest Bruce, the second son of the marquees of Ailesbury, accompanying him to Eton. During this time he began to contribute to several publications including the ‘Morning Chronicle’ and the ‘New Monthly Magazine’ which would publish many of his poems. He became a Trinity fellow in 1827 before moving to London to work as a pupil of John Bayley, a Middle Temple barrister and was called to the bar in 1829. Praed was an admirer of Robert Peel and despite his professed independent political affiliation, look the Tories up on their offer of a pocket bough of St Germans for two years, taking his seat as an MP for the first time. The chief concern at the time was the Whig government’s proposed Reform Bill, which Praed objected to. The bill was passed and the seat of St Germans was disfranchised. Praed instead stood for the borough of St Ives, but narrowly lost out. He concentrated on his legal practice, which had continued to grow rapidly whilst he was in parliament, before standing for MP again in 1834 for the Great Yarmouth seat, which he duly won. He retired from his constituency in 1837 before being returned for Aylesbury. In 1835 he had married Helen Bogle, the daughter of a wealth sugar merchant, and they had two daughters. Praed’s health, which had always suffered, declined rapidly and he died on 15 July 1839 of consumption. He had achieved a remarkable amount in short life, and at the time of his death was best known for his poetry, which was popular in America having been reprinted from English periodicals. During his life his poetry had been mostly published in newspapers, magazines and ‘annuals’. The first collection of his poems was published in America in 1844 by Langley and edited by R.W. Griswold. Several other American editions of his poems followed, but his work was not published in England until his nephew Sir George Young, 3rd baronet, and Praed’s close friend Derwent Coleridge brought together a two-volume edition of his work, which was published in 1864. Young went on to publish Praed’s essays in ‘Morley’s Universal Library’ in 1887 and another volume of poems in 1888 Sir George Young (3rd baronet): 1837–1930 Sir George Young was 3rd baronet of Formosa Place, Berkshire. He was the son of Sir George Young, 2nd baronet and his wife Susan (the sister of Winthrop Mackworth Praed). He was born on 15 September 1837. He succeeded to the baronetcy at the age of 10 when his father died in 1848. He was educated at Eton College where he won the Newcastle medal in 1855. He then went to Trinity College Cambridge in 1856. He shared his uncles’ aptitude for Classics, and despite originally only getting a second class degree, he embarked on the fellowship exams. During his time at Cambridge he was elected president of the Cambridge Union in 1860; gaining the La Bas prize for an essay on Greek Literature which was published in 1862; and in the same year was successful at his longed for fellowship. He unsuccessfully stood for parliament as a Liberal candidate for Chippenham in November 1868, but was given a role within the Gladstone administration where he investigated the conditions of Chinese and Indian labourers in British Guiana. In 1871 he married Alice Eacy Kennedy. He was unsuccessful in standing for Parliament again in 1874 but continued to be employed by Gladstone working on commissions including Factory and Workhouse conditions and Education before taking a permanent position with the Charity Commission. Between 1864 and 1888 he was responsible for the publication of several editions of his uncle – Winthrop Mackworth Praed’s work. He died on 4 July 1930 and was succeed in the baronetcy by his son George.

Date

1780-1971

Extent & medium

13 boxes; 3 series

Content description

The papers relating to Winthrop Praed cover the whole of his life, from his schooldays to his political career and constitute the principal part of this collection. The bulk of the papers consist of autograph manuscripts of Praed’s poetry and correspondence with his sister Susan, from which a great deal can be learnt about his life. There are also commonplace books created by Praed and additional correspondence to other family members. Other than what is contained in his letters to Susan, the papers contain very little about his career in politics or wider correspondence with his friends and acquaintances. In addition, research papers that have drawn on the archive have been added to the collection, and this has been represented in a separate series. The remaining papers in the collection relates to other family members. These papers are very sporadic, principally consisting of sketchbooks and commonplace books.

Provenance

The majority of the collection was accumulated by Lady Susan Young. The material was subsequently added to by her son, Sir George Young (3rd baronet), with material of his own as well as items belonging to other family members. The papers that formed the Praed collection where kept in the family by decent from Praed’s eldest daughter, until they appeared for sale at Duke’s of Dorchester [Acc.no. 2013/119]

Associated material

Eton College Library also holds published copies of Praed’s work The British Library holds letters from Praed to Sir Robert Peel and others

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