William Shenstone and others: Poems

Scope and Content

A manuscript collection of poems by William Shenstone and others, with illustrations by John Dovaston, some modelled on those in Dodsley's published volumes. There is an index at the end.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Shenstone (1714-1763), poet, was born on 13 November 1714. He was educated at Halesowen and Solihull, and entered Pembroke College, Oxford, in 1732, where he studied poetry but did not take a degree. He published The judgement of Hercules (1741) and The schoolmistress (1742) anonymously. From 1745 he carried out improvements to the family estate of The Leasowes on Mucklow Hill, near Halesowen. Shenstone's Pastoral ballad (1755) and a set of his other poems (1758) were issued by Robert Dodsley, who also published a collection of his works, 1764-1769. Shenstone died on 11 February 1763.

John Dovaston (1740-1808), of The Nursery, West Felton, Oswestry, Shropshire, received little formal education, and inherited a small estate beset by mortgages and incumbrances. He made two profitable voyages to theWest Indies, and thereafter pursued wide-ranging interests as an antiquarian, naturalist, musician and planter of trees. He was the father of the naturalist and poet John Freeman Milward Dovaston (1782-1854).

Access Information

Open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Acquisition Information

Purchased from Mrs A. Glaiyser and Mrs S. Riley, 5 August 1981.

Other Finding Aids


Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives. The biographical history was compiled with reference to the article on John Dovaston in the Gentleman's magazine, June 1808, pp. 563-564, and the entry on William Shenstone in Sidney Lee, ed., Dictionary of national biography, vol. XVIII (London, 1909), pp. 48-50.

Custodial History

The book was formerly the property of John Dovaston, who may also have been the scribe. It bears the bookplate of his son, John Freeman Milward Dovaston.