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Legh Richmond Edit Profile

clergyman , writer

Legh Richmond was an English clergyman and writer, who is noted for tracts, narratives of conversion that innovated in the relation of stories of the poor and female subjects, and which were subsequently much imitated.


Legh Richmond was born on January 29, 1772 in Liverpool, England. He was the son of Henry Richmond, physician and academic, and his wife Catherine Atherton.


He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge.


In 1798 he was appointed to the joint curacies of Brading and Yaverland in the Isle of Wight.

Richmond was powerfully influenced by William Wilberforce's Practical View of Christianity, and took a prominent interest in the British and Foreign Bible Society, the Church Missionary Society, the London Society for Promoting Christianity amongst the Jews and similar institutions.

In 1805 Richmond became assistant-chaplain to the Lock Hospital, London, for a short period. Later that year he was appointed rector of Turvey, Bedfordshire, as successor to Erasmus Middleton. The patron, Sarah Fuller, consulted Ambrose Serle; who recommended Richmond. He remained at Turvey for the rest of his life. He began taking pupils at the rectory, two being Charles Longuet Higgins and Walter Augustus Shirley, while teaching his own sons, but was not effectual and passed tuition on to his curates.

Richmond was instrumental in unmasking the imposter Ann Moore, the "fasting woman" of Tutbury, in 1813. In 1814 he was appointed chaplain to Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn (1767–1820), father of Queen Victoria.

Richmond was one of the first clergymen to found a village Friendly Society. The Turvey Friendly Society was formed to give wages to the poor when they were sick and could not work.

It was in Turvey that Richmond began to write stories based on material he had collected while living in the Isle of Wight. These were simple tales about country folk. The Dairyman's Daughter was the first published, followed by The Young Cottager and The Negro Servant. All were originally published in the Christian Guardian between 1809-1814. The best known of his writings is The Dairyman's Daughter, of which as many as four millions in nineteen languages were circulated before 1849. A collected edition of his stories of village life was first published by the Religious Tract Society in 1814 under the title of Annals of the Poor. Sixteen years after Richmond’s death, the engraver George Brannon published a supplement to Annals of the Poor under the title The Landscape Beauties of the Isle of Wight (1843).

Richmond also edited a series of Reformation theological works, with biographies, in eight volumes called Fathers of the English Church (1807–12).


  • He was known for an influential collection of letters to his children, powerfully stating an evangelical attitude to childhood of the period, and by misprision sometimes taken as models for parental conversation and family life, for example by novelists, against Richmond's practice.



Richmond in 1797 married Mary Chambers (died 1873), daughter of James William Chambers of Bath. They had 12 children, of whom eight survived their father.

Henry Richmond

Catherine Atherton

Mary Chambers