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Poets from Northamptonshire

John Askham and Thomas Randolph
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A number of poets have lived and worked in our county including, famously, John Dryden and John Clare, "Northamptonshire's Peasant Poet". But there were others, less well known.

John Askham

John Askham, "the shoemaker poet", was born in Wellingborough in 1825. As a child, he attended Wellingborough Free School for about a year. His education continued later in life through his own efforts.

After training with his family and, later, another shoemaker, he set up his own business. His studies also empowered him to become the librarian of the newly-formed Literary Institute at Wellingborough and a schools and health inspector.

Between 1863 and 1893, Askham published five volumes of poetry. He was especially fond of the Sonnet format and poetry about nature. He also composed around another favourite theme, Roman Britain.

After a long illness which casue paralysis in his later years, he died in Wellingborough in 1894.

Read more about John Askham, including examples of his poetry, at the "Classics and Class" website. Visit now »

London Road Cemetery

To see more about John Askham and read some of his poetry at the bottom, click or tap this photo from London Road Cemetery, Wellingborough.

Heritage Trail Plaque

Heritage Trail Plaque
John Askham

Thomas Randolph

Thomas Randolph was born at Newnham, near Daventry in 1605. Later in childhood the family moved to Little Houghton. He was educated at Westminster School and Trinity College, Cambridge. He was expected to succeed Ben Jonson as Poet Laureate but, sadly, died at just 29 years old (1635) in Blatherwycke, near Corby.

He was a writer of humorous plays. His drama "The Jealous Lovers" was presented by the students of Trinity College, Cambridge, before the King and Queen in 1632.

Read Thomas Randolph's poems at »

"Stolen sweets are always sweeter;
Stolen kisses much completer;
Stolen looks are nice in chapels;
Stolen, stolen be your apples."

Book of Poems

Poems of Thomas Randolph