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Walton was ever a haberdasher, as stated by some biographers. Twelve years before taking unto himself a wife, the shopkeeper occupied

half a shop’in Fleet Street, two rooms west of Chancery Lane. This building was demolished in 1799, but is represented in illustrated editions of The Complete Angler.

When a young man, Walton wrote verses. He became acquainted with the Rev. Dr. John Donne, who was the vicar of the neighbouring Church of St. Dunstan, and contributed biography to that eminent preacher's first edition, in folio, of his LXXX. Sermons; a biography which was afterwards amplified and published separately in 1658. Walton's wife died in 1640. All their children, seven in number, died during their infancy. Four years after his wife's death, Walton, who was an ardent Royalist, vacated his position as a vestryman of St. Dunstan's Parish, and retired to his native place, where he lived upon a well-earned but modest competence.

He returned to London early in the following year. In 1646 he married the half-sister of Bishop Ken, and in 1650 lived at Clerkenwell. He had not yet issued the work with which his name is most intimately associated. In 1651, however, he published his Reliquæ Wottoniana, together with his Life of Sir Henry Wotton, a work which was re-issued in 1654, 1672, and 1685. In the first-mentioned year Walton is believed to have been at Stafford awaiting the result of the battle of Worcester. He was intrusted with 'the lesser George' jewel of Charles the Second, which he delivered into the custody of Colonel Blague, with whom it remained until the return of the exiled monarch.

It was not until Walton was sixty years of age that his great English classic was presented to the world. This matchless idyl of angling and its associations was published in 1653, and entitled “The Compleat Angler, or the contemplative Man's Recreation : being a Discourse of Fish and Fishing, not unworthy the Perusal of most Anglers. . . . London, Printed by T. Maxey for Richard Marriot in S. Dunstan's Churchyard, Fleet Street.' In this edition the dialogue is between 'Piscator' and 'Viator,' but in the second edition the conversation is given as between 'Piscator,' 'Venator,' and Auceps.' The scene throughout is ‘Totnam Hill,' and the time a May-day morning.

There were five editions issued during the lifetime of the author : in 1653, 1655, 1661 (re


resided at Winchester, in which city Walton died on December 15, 1683.

Walton was interred in Prior Silkstede's Chapel in the north transept of Winchester Cathedral. The site of his grave is marked by a black marble slab on which is a suitable inscription from the pen of Bishop Ken, to whom he was related by marriage, as stated elsewhere in this sketch. He bequeathed a holding at Shalford to the poor of Stafford. The Cathedral library of Winchester contains many of the books which had belonged to the cheery old angler-author.

J. P. B.



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