John Wolcot, Satirist, 1738 – 1819

John Wolcot was born in Devon and upon the death of his father was educated in Bodmin, and later became apprenticed to his uncle who was a surgeon at Fowey, living at Trafalgar House.  After studying medicine he became physician to Sir William Trelawney, Governor of Jamaica.  He was ordained into the church in 1769 but on his return to England after Trelawney’s death, he abandoned the church and resumed his medical career in Truro.  It was in Truro that he discovered the artist John Opie and became his patron, introducing him to public notice.  Under the pen-name of Peter Pindar, Wolcot became well known as a satirical writer in verse. Apparently a great story teller of ordinary occurrences, he was admired for his wit and social comment, although he could be cruel to his favourite targets the Royal Academy and the King.

 

Research Helen Luther

 

Sources:   W.H.K. Wright, West-Country Poets: Their Lives and Works. (London: Elliot Stock, 1896), William R. Jones, ‘Wolcot, John ’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (Oxford University Press, 2004).