Lewis Carroll/Early Life

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Croft Rectory, the family home

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (CLD) was born on 27 January 1832 in Daresbury, Cheshire. He was the third child and first son of the perpetual curate of Daresbury, Charles Dodgson, and Frances Dodgson née Lutwidge. There would eventually be eleven children, four boys and seven girls. None died young; apart from Charles, all lived to 70.

In 1843, the Prime Minister, Robert Peel, gave Charles Dodgson the position of rector of Croft, Yorkshire. This was a much better paid job, and the rectory was far bigger than their previous accommodation. The last child, Edwin, was born there in 1846.

In 1844, CLD was sent to a boarding school, Richmond. He showed considerable promise.

In 1846, he was able to transfer to Rugby School, one of the finest schools in England. However, he hated his time there.

In January 1851, he went up to his father's old college, Christ Church, Oxford. He was to remain there for the rest of his life. However, his mother died just after he went, and he had to hurry home for the funeral. A few weeks later, his mother's younger sister Lucy moved in with the family to look after the children; she was to stay with them until her own death in 1880.

In 1852, Charles Dodgson became Archdeacon of Richmond and a canon of Ripon Cathedral.

In December 1852, CLD received a First Class in Maths Moderations. On the basis of this, his father's friend E. B. Pusey got him a Studentship, meaning that he was a life member of Christ Church provided he remained unmarried and became a Church of England minister.

In October 1854, he received a First Class in the Final Mathematics School. He was awarded his BA in December.

In February 1855, he was made "Master of the House" (giving him the privileges of an MA, but only within the grounds of Christ Church) in honour of the appointment of the new Dean, H. G. Liddell.

Later in 1855, he was in contact with the editor of The Comic Times, Edmund Yates, offering short stories and poems for publication. Yates asked him to propose a pen name, and from CLD's list of suggestions chose "Lewis Carroll".

In 1856, CLD took up photography as a hobby. He was inspired by his mother's brother, Skeffington Lutwidge, and his friend Reginald Southey, great-nephew of the poet Robert Southey. In this year, he first met H. G. Liddell's second daughter, Alice.

In 1857, he had a holiday in the Lake District, during which he met Tennyson. In Novewmber, he wrote the first version of Hiawatha's Photographing. He was later to revise it extensively.

In December 1861, he was ordained a deacon in the Church of England. He never proceeded to full orders.


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