George Castleden, Bard of Woburn

George Castleden (1804-1884) was a prolific letter-writer and poet from Woburn, in Bedfordshire. The son of the local Congregationalist preacher, he worked as a clerk in the Duke of Bedford’s offices at Woburn Abbey for twenty years. As well as many published poetical works, he also wrote extensively to the local papers. His subjects were as diverse as the trees in Woburn Park, the national and local political scene and elections, the education system, Britain’s wars, the Irish famine, European Royalty, the American Civil War, an assassination attempt on Queen Victoria, and how to bottle sunbeams for use on cold winter nights!
A Liberal Whig non-conformist, as well as being an abolitionist, temperance-supporting pacifist, he wrote openly and honestly about not only the important matters of the day, but also the trivial. His critics sarcastically labelled him the Bard of Woburn; a name he felt honoured to accept.
For the first time, his newspaper letters and poems have been collected together and presented in a chronological format, with a detailed biography and bibliography.

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