Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive

The Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive — ECPA — is a collaborative digital archive and research project devoted to the poetry of the long eighteenth century. Edited and annotated collaboratively, the growing ECPA corpus currently comprises works by authors. ECPA builds on the electronic texts created by the Text Creation Partnership from Gale’s Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO). ECPA was founded and is edited by Alexander Huber, Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford (editor of the Thomas Gray Archive). See About for further information.

Featured Author

Churchill, Charles

(February 1732 - 4 November 1764)
Charles Churchill (1732-1764)

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Charles Churchill (1732-1764)

ODNB 5397; NCBEL 593-5; DMI 1406

Biographical note

Charles Churchill was born in Westminster in February 1732, the son of a clergyman. He was educated at Westminster School (1741-48) and was subsequently admitted to St. John's College, Cambridge, but married clandestinely before he took up residence. He was ordained in 1754, but after a series of minor appointments he abandoned his clerical career and turned to writing for a living. Churchill published all of his poetry between 1761 and his early death three years later. In 1761, he had considerable popular success with his poem The Rosciad and his Apology, satires on contemporary actors. In 1763, Churchill became acquainted with the radical, journalist and politician John Wilkes, and became editor of Wilkes' journal The North Briton to which he contributed several pieces. Churchill continued to publish mostly satirical poems, and in 1763 he published his collected works. In 1764 he travelled to France to meet Wilkes who had been expelled from parliament and outlawed for a satiric attack on John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich and had fled to France. However, Churchill died of a fever at Boulonge soon afterwards. Churchill was the most admired and feared satirist of his generation and was imitated and admired by later poets, such as Chatterton, Cowper, and Lord Byron.



  • Smith, Margaret M. Index of English Literary Manuscripts. Vol. III, 1700-1800 . London: Mansell, 1986-1997. Pt. 1 Addison-Fielding. 223-226. Print. 4 volumes.


  • Grant, Douglas, ed. The Poetical Works of Charles Churchill. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1956. Print.
  • Rounce, Adam, ed. Charles Churchill: Selected Poetry. Nottingham: Trent Editions, 2003. Print.


  • Baines, Paul, Julian Ferraro, Pat Rogers, eds. The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Eighteenth-Century Writers and Writing, 1660-1789. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011. 63-64. Print.
  • Radcliffe, David H., ed. Rev. Charles Churchill (1731-1764). Spenser and the Tradition: ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830. Center for Applied Technologies in the Humanities, Virginia Tech, 2006. Web. 14 Oct. 2011. http://spenserians.cath.vt.edu/AuthorRecord.php?recordid=33135.


  • Bertelsen, Lance. The Nonsense Club: Literature and Popular Culture, 1749-1764. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986. Print.
  • Carretta, Vincent. The Snarling Muse: Verbal and Visual Political Satire from Pope to Churchill. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983. Print.
  • Carnochan, W.B. Satire, Sublimity, and Sentiment: Theory and Practice in Post-Augustan Satire. PMLA 85 (1970): 260-7. Print.
  • Fisher, Alan S. The Stretching of Augustan Satire: Charles Churchill's 'Dedication to Warburton'. Journal of English and Germanic Philology 72 (1973): 360-77. Print.
  • Golden, Morris. Sterility and Eminence in the Poetry of Charles Churchill. Journal of English and Germanic Philology 66 (1967): 333-46. Print.
  • Hammond, Brean S. and Martin Malone. Pope and Churchill. Nicholson, Colin, ed., Alexander Pope: Essays for the Tercentenary. Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1988, 22-38. Print.
  • Lockwood, Thomas. Post-Augustan Satire: Charles Churchill and Satirical Poetry 1750-1800. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1979. Print.
  • Smith, Raymond J. Charles Churchill. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1977. Print.