Furness, Richard

(1791-1857)
   The son of a small farmer, from Eyam, Derbyshire, the famous "plague village," he became an apprenticed leather worker at Chesterfield, Derbyshire. He turned out to be proficient in mathematics, French, music, and poetry, and became a Wesleyan Methodist local preacher. In 1812, he walked to London to enlist as a volunteer soldier and was invited to preach at the City Road Chapel. He left the Methodists, who criticized him for writing a patriotic song that was sung at a meeting in a public house. In 1821 he moved to the small village of Dore, Derbyshire, where it is recorded he wrote letters for people, calculated their taxes, pulled their teeth, educated their children, and represented the village on parish business. He was buried in Eyam Churchyard. Many of his miscellaneous poems were printed in the Sheffield Iris, and his Poetical Works, with a sketch of his life by Dr. G. Calvert Holland, was published in 1858. He left behind him the words of an Oratorio entitled The Millennium. Some of his poems: "Medicus-Magus," "Old Year's Funeral," "Rag Bag," "Sheffield," "To Anna in Heaven, from Her Father."
   Sources: Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. Eyam, Derbyshire, England, "The Plague Village." (http://www.cress brook.co.uk/eyam). Genuki: The History and Antiquities of Eyam, Derbyshire (http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/DBY/Eyam/Wood/Minstrels.html). The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org).

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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