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William Cowper

  • About
  • Born in 1731, the first surviving child of John Cowper, Rector of Berkhamstead and Chaplain to George II, and Anne (nee Donne), who died when he was six; destined for a legal career, he was educated at Westminster and the Middle Temple. In 1763 he suffered a major breakdown. After several attempts at suicide, he was committed to Dr Cotton's 'Collegium lnsanorum' at St Albans,where he experienced an intense religious conversion. In 1765, 'restored to perfect health both of mind and body', he moved in to lodge with the Revd Morley Umwin and his wife, Mary. After the Revd's death, Mary became his companion. In the early 1790s, his mental health deteriorated sharply. A move to Norfolk and the death of Mary left him desolated. He died at East Dereham, on April 25th, 1800.
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