Mr. Sponges Sporting Tour

Mr. Sponge's Sporting Tour

Robert Smith Surtees

Historical / Victorian / Fiction

Robert Smith Surtees (17 May 1805 – 16 March 1864) was an English editor, novelist and sporting writer, widely known as R. S. Surtees. He was the second son of Anthony Surtees of Hamsterley Hall, a member of an old County Durham family.e left for London in 1825, intending to practise law in the capital, but had difficulty making his way and began contributing to the Sporting Magazine. He launched out on his own with the New Sporting Magazine in 1831, contributing the comic papers which appeared as Jorrocks\' Jaunts and Jollities in 1838. Jorrocks, the sporting cockney grocer, with his vulgarity and good-natured artfulness, was a great success with the public, and Surtees produced more Jorrocks novels in the same vein, notably Handley Cross and Hillingdon Hall, where the description of the house is very reminiscent of Hamsterley. Another hero, Soapey Sponge, appears in Mr Sponge\'s Sporting Tour, possibly Surtees best work. All Surtees\' novels were composed at Hamsterley Hall, where he wrote standing up at a desk, like Victor Hugo. In 1835, Surtees abandoned his legal practice and after inheriting Hamsterley Hall in 1838, devoted himself to hunting and shooting, meanwhile writing anonymously for his own pleasure. He was a friend and admirer of the great hunting man Ralph Lambton, who had his headquarters at Sedgefield County Durham, the \'Melton of the North\'. Surtees became Lord High Sheriff of Durham in 1856. He died in Brighton in 1864, and was buried in Ebchester church.
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