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Henry Kingsley

Death: Died
Immediate Family:

Son of <private> Kingsley and Mary Lucas
Brother of Charles Kingsley, Revd. and George Henry Kingsley

Managed by: Private User
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Immediate Family

About Henry Kingsley

Henry Kingsley (2 January 1830 – 24 May 1876) was an English novelist, brother of the better-known Charles Kingsley. He was an early exponent of Muscular Christianity in his 1859 work The Recollections Of Geoffrey Hamlyn.


Kingsley was born at Barnack rectory, Northamptonshire, son of the Rev. Charles Kingsley the elder, Mary, née Lucas. Charles Kingsley came of a long line of clergymen and soldiers, and in addition to the two well-known novelists, the family included Dr. George Kingsley the traveller and writer, and a daughter who also wrote fiction and niece, Mary Kingsley. Henry Kingsley's boyhood was spent at Clovelly and Chelsea, before attending King's College School, King's College London, and Worcester College, Oxford, which he left without graduating. An opportune legacy from a relation enabled him to leave Oxford free of debt and emigrate to Australia, arriving at Melbourne in the Gauntlet in December 1853. He became involved in gold-digging, and later joined the mounted police.

For some time Kingsley had little or no money and carried his swag from station to station. Mr Philip Russell stated in 1887 that he employed Kingsley at his station Langa-Willi, and that Geoffrey Hamlyn was begun there. Miss Rose Browne, the daughter of "Rolf Boldrewood", has stated that it was on her father's suggestion that Kingsley began to write. Mr Russell's story is confirmed by her further statement that her father gave Kingsley a letter to Mr Mitchell of Langa-Willi station, that he stayed with Mitchell, and there wrote Geoffrey Hamlyn.

On his return to the UK in 1858, Kingsley devoted himself to literature, and wrote several well-regarded novels, including Geoffrey Hamlyn (1859), set in Colebrooke, Devon, and Australia, The Hillyars and the Burtons (1865), Ravenshoe (1861), and Austin Elliot (1863). Ravenshoe is generally regarded as the best. Henry Kingsley married Sarah Maria Haselwood on 19 July 1864. In 1869, he went to Edinburgh to edit the Daily Review, but he soon gave this up, and in 1870 became war correspondent for the paper during the Franco-German War.

Kingsley also published Leighton Court (1866), Mademoiselle Mathilde (1868), Tales of Old Travel re-narrated (1869), Stretton (1869), The Boy in Grey (1871), Hetty and other Stories (1871), Old Margaret (1871), Hornby Mills and other Stories (1872), Valentine (1872), The Harveys (1872), Oakshott Castle (1873), Reginald Hetherege (1874), Number Seventeen (1875), The Grange Garden (1876), Fireside Studies (Essays) (1876), The Mystery of the Island (1877).

Kingsley and his wife moved to Cuckfield, Sussex late in 1874, where Kingsley died of cancer of the tongue on 24 May 1876.

Further reading

Melville, Lewis (1906). Victorian Novelists. London: Archibald Constable and Company. pp. 239–257.
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Henry Kingsley's Timeline

Age 46