Gift of tongues

Charles Jenner (1736-1774), The Gift of Tongues (1767). Forgotten Books, 2018. Courtesy

Rev. Charles Jenner (1736 - 11 May 1774) was an English poet, novelist, and cleric.[1]


Family, youth, educationEdit

Jenner was the eldest son of Charles Jenner, D.D. (1707–1770), and his wife Mary, the daughter of John Sawyer of Heywood, Berkshire. His father was a graduate of Brasenose College, Oxford (B.A. 1727, M.A. 1730, and B.D. and D.D. 1743), and became rector of Buckworth, Huntingdonshire, in 1740; chaplain to George II in 1746; prebendary of Lincoln in 1753; and archdeacon of Bedford in 1756, and of Huntingdon in 1757. Pecuniary embarrassments ultimately forced him to leave the country, and he died at St. Omer on 2 February 1770. He published a single sermon in 1753. A portrait is in the possession of his great-grandson, Herbert Jenner-Fust, esq., LL.D., of Hill Court, Gloucestershire.[1]

The son was educated at Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, where he earned a B.A. in 1757 and an M.A. in 1760, but afterwards migrated to Sidney Sussex College.[1]


In 1764 he married Rebecca, daughter of William Thomson, but left no issue.[1]

In 1769 he was made vicar of the living of Claybrook in Leicestershire, which he held with that of Craneford St. John in Northamptonshire. According to the historian of his parish, his character, manners, and talents were of a high order. He suffered much through his father's imprudence in money matters, but, according to Nichols, he himself was "of an opposite turn."[1]

Angus Macaulay in his History of Claybrook, 1791, says that Jenner "had a fine taste for music, and his society was much courted by amateurs of that art," and according to Nichols's Literary Anecdotes he was "a good singer of catches and performer at concerts." He composed and published a song entitled "The Syren," and in his novel The Placid Man, and other of his writings, showed much knowledge of music and musical literature.[2]

He died of a cold caught at Vauxhall, aged 38.[1]


His literary work possesses little originality. His debut volume of poems was published in 1766. Another volume of poems, entitled Town Eclogues, was published in 1772; 2nd edition 1773. He also published separately Louisa: A tale; to which is added, An elegy to the memory of Lord Lyttelton.[1]

In 1770 he published anonymously his only novel, The Placid Man; or, Memoirs of Sir Charles Beville. This attained considerable success, and was republished with his name in 1773.[1]

Besides these he published in 1767 a volume of sketches and essays entitled Letters from Altamont to his Friend in the Country, and 2 volumes of miscellaneous papers, entitled Letters from Lothario to Penelope, in 1771.[1] This last includes 2 dramas, Lucinda, a dramatic entertainment, and The Man of Family, a sentimental comedy; both also published separately in 1770 and 1771 respectively.[2]


In 1767 and 1768 he gained the Seatonian Prize at Cambridge for poems on sacred subjects, the 1767 winner being on The Gift of Tongues, the 1768 poem on The Destruction of Nineveh.

A monument was erected to his memory in Claybrook Church by Lady Craven, with commemorative verses of her own.



  • Poems. Cambridge, UK: J. Bentham, for T. & J. Merrill, 1766.
  • The Gift of Tongues: A poem. Cambridge, UK: J. Archdeacon, for Thomas & John Merrill, 1767.
  • The Destruction of Nineveh: A poem. Cambridge, UK: J. Archdeacon, for Thomas & John Merrill, 1768.
  • Town Eclogues. London: T. Cadell, 1772.
  • Louisa: A tale; to which is added, An elegy to the memory of Lord Lyttelton. London: T. Cadell, 1774.


  • The Man of Family: A sentimental comedy. London: T. Cadell, 1771; Dublin: H. Saunders, et al, 1771..


  • The Placid Man; or, Memoirs of Sir Charles Beville. (2 volumes), London: J. Wilkie, 1770.


  • Letters from Altamont in the Capital: To his friends in the country. London: T. Becket & P.A. De Hondt, 1767.

Collected editionsEdit

  • Letters from Lothario to Penelope; to which is added Lucinda: A dramatic entertainment. London: T. Becket and P.A. De Hondt, 1769.

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[3]

See alsoEdit


  • PD-icon.svg Jenner, Henry (1892) "Jenner, Charles" in Lee, Sidney Dictionary of National Biography 29 London: Smith, Elder, pp. 320-321 . Wikisource, Web, July 21, 2016.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Jenner, 320.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Jenner, 321.
  3. Search results = au:Charles Jenner 1774, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, July 22, 2016.

External linksEdit


PD-icon.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain, the Dictionary of National Biography (edited by Leslie Stephen). London: Smith, Elder, 1885-1900. Original article is at: Jenner, Charles

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