COWPER, William. b. Great Berkhamstead, Hertfordshire, 15 November 1731; d. East Dereham, Norfolk, 25 April 1800. His name is pronounced ‘Cooper’. He was the eldest surviving son of the Revd John Cowper and Ann, née Donne. His mother, who died a few days before his sixth birthday, came from the landed gentry, and members of his father’s family had been distinguished lawyers. Following his mother’s death William was sent away to school, where he was bullied. He later boarded for about two years with an oculist in London. From 1742 to 1749 he was educated at Westminster School, where he made several lasting friendships. Destined for a legal career, he was articled to a solicitor in Holborn...
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