Originally publishing poetry as “E.P.”, the identity of Edward Priestland remained a mystery until even after his work was collected into William Cubbon’s A Book of Manx Poetry in 1913.
Edward Priestland was born in 1849 in Andreas to John and Elizabeth (nee Shingle). He was educated at King William’s College, under T. E. Brown, and then at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. At the age of 23 he was appointed Second Master at Dorset County School, Charminster, but he soon moved on to become Curate of Spondon House School, Derby. When he married Lucy Mary Gascoigne, the daughter of the school’s Master, in 1877, his father-in-law stepped down for Priestland to replace him as Master.
In around 1900, Priestland had his only collection of poetry, Manx Memories, privately printed. It was a few years prior to this that Priestland had commemorated the death of his mentor, T. E. Brown, with a poem in the Isle of Man Times. The quality of the lines so impressed William Cubbon that he included it in his A Book of Manx Poetry, despite not knowing the true identity of the author behind “E.P.” It was only shortly after the publishing of the collection in 1913 that Priestland’s identity was discovered. Sadly it was not long after this that he died, on 23 September 1914 in London at the age of 69.
[Image courtesy of Manx National Heritage]
Works by Edward Priestland