John Fitchett (poet)
Early life and education
Fitchett was the son of a wine merchant at Liverpool. His parents both died before he reached the age of ten, and Fitchett moved to Warrington by his guardian Mr. Kerfoot, and placed at the Warrington Grammar School under the Rev. Edward Owen.
Fitchett died unmarried at Warrington on 20 October 1838, and was buried at Winwick Church. His library was left to his nephew John Fitchett Marsh, and was later sold after his death, at Sotheby's, London, 12–13 May 1882.
His first published work, Bewsey, a Poem, written at the age of eighteen, had considerable success. He wrote many fugitive pieces, which were collected and printed at Warrington in 1836, under the title of Minor Poems, composed at various Times.
The epic poem King Alfred was Fitchett's major life's work. He spent forty years researching and writing it. It was printed at Warrington for private circulation at intervals between 1808 and 1834, in five quarto volumes. It was cast in the form of a romantic epic poem, the subject being the life and times of King Alfred. He did not live to finish the work, but he left money for printing a new edition, and the work of supervising it was undertaken by his friend Robert Roscoe. Roscoe completed the poem, adding 2,585 lines. The entire work contains more than 131,000 lines.