Thursday, August 6, 2009

Rev Robert Perceval Graves

The Vice-Warden's signature, R P Graves, on the Alexandra College plate in my Tennyson volume is Rev Robert Perceval Graves. He was a grand uncle (I think) of the poet Robert Graves.

A history of the Graves in Ireland is available here though it might have been a good idea to include a family tree to make the connections clearer!

This Robert Perceval Graves (1810-1893) was born at 12 Fitzwilliam Square, went to Trinity College Dublin where he obtained a Classical Scholarship and graduated with a first gold medal in classics. He moved to the Lake District in England and was ordained for the ministry and served at Abbleside, Lake Windermere for many years. Picture of the lake from this website.

He wrote verse and became friends with Wordsworth, Southey, Hartley Coleridge and other members of the Lake School of Poetry. He later returned to Dublin and for nearly 30 years he was closely identified with Alexandra College, first as professor of Latin, and later as vice-warden and a member of the College Council until his death. In 1892 in a pamphlet "Suggestions on the Subject of University Degrees for Women" he proposed that Trinity College should admit female students.

He wrote a three volume biography of Sir William Rowan Hamilton which was well received and led to his being awarded an honorary doctorate by Trinity College Dublin.

Rowan Hamilton of course has a strong Trim connection and lines from his poetry are inscribed on seats at the Boyne river walk in the town.

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