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CHARLES KINGSLEY - EARLY DAYS AT HOLNE

Taken from Volume 1 of the Biography edited by his wife, Frances Kingsley

 

"Charles Kingsley, son of Charles Kingsley of Battramsley, in the New Forest, was born on 12 June 1819, at Holne Vicarage, under the brow of Dartmoor, Devonshire.  Charles's father was a man of cultivation and refinement, a good linguist, an artist, a keen sportsman and a natural historian. He was educated at Harrow and Oxford and brought up with good expectations as a country gentleman, but having been early in life left an orphan, and his fortune squandered for him during his minority, he soon spent what was left, and at the age of 30, found himself almost penniless and obliged, for the first time to think of a profession.

Being too old for the Army, and having many friends who were owners of church property, he decided on the church, sold his hunters and land, and with the young wife, went for a second time to college, entering his name at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, to read for holy orders. While there he became acquainted with Dr Herbert Marsh, then Prof of Divinity and afterwards Bishop of Peterborough, a fine classicist and first rate German scholar. This last case, combined with their mutual love of literature attached the two men to one another and when Dr Marsh was raised to a bishopric, he took an early opportunity of getting Mr Kingsley into his diocese and making him. his Examining Chaplain.  His first cure was in the Fens, from which he moved to Holne in Devonshire.

Charles's mother was the daughter of Nathan Lucas of Farley in Barbados and Rushford Lodge in Norfolk, and was born in the West Indies. She was a remarkable woman, full of poetry and enthusiasm. Keenly alive to the charms of scenery, and highly imaginative in her younger days, as she was eminently practical in mature  life, she believed that impressions made on her own mind, before the birth of this child for whose coming, she longed, by the romantic surroundings of her  Devonshire home, would be mysteriously transmitted to him; and in this faith, and for his sake, as well as for her own, she luxuriated in the exquisite scenery of Holne and Dartmoor, the Chase, the hills and the lovely Dart which flowed below the grounds of the little parsonage, and gave herself up to the enjoyment of every sight and sound, which she hoped would be dear to her child in after   life. These hopes were realised, and though her little son left home when he was six weeks old, and never saw his birthplace till He was a man of 30, it and every Devonshire scene and association had a mysterious charm for  him through life. "I am"  he was proud to say "a West Country man born and bred".

 

 
 
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