1805William Harrison Ainsworth was born in Manchester, February 4.
1817A solicitor's son, he entered the Manchester Free Grammar School at age twelve with a view to studying law.
1820Began writing plays.
1821First appearance in print: The Rivals, a Serio-Comic Tragedy, published under the pseudonym "T. Hall" in the Pocket Magazine.
1822Left the Grammar School. Began the study of law. Dedicated his first book, pseudonymously published, to Lamb: The Maid's Revenge; and A Summer's Evening Tale; with Other Poems "By Cheviot Ticheburn."
1824After the death of his father, he left Manchester for London to study law.
1826 Admitted as a qualified solicitor. Publication of his first novel Sir John Chiverton (in collaboration with J. P. Aston). Married Anne Frances ("Fanny") Ebers, a publisher's daughter, on October 11.
1827Birth of his first child, Fanny.
1829Birth of his second child, Emily.
1830Having abandoned publishing, he began the practice of law. Birth of his third child, Anne Blanche. He then began his association with the new Fraser's Magazine.
1834Published first significant novel, Rookwood; like six other Ainsworth novels, this was illustrated by George Cruikshank. The tale of highwayman Dick Turpin was so successful that Dickens alluded to it in Sketches by Boz.
1835Separation from his wife.
1836Probably through John Macrone (1809-37), then editor of Bentley's Miscellany , Ainsworth met Charles Dickens. Ainsworth introduced the younger writer to Count d'Orsay, novelist Sir Edward G. D. Bulwer-Lytton, artist Daniel Maclise, dramatist Thomas N. Talford, and journalist John Forster. For the next four years Forster, Dickens, and Ainsworth were much in company, especially at dinners which Ainsworth hosted at Kensal Lodge.
1837 Published his second important novel, Crichton.
1838Death of his wife, March 6.
1839Ainsworth published his best-seller, the Newgate novel Jack Sheppard, illustrated by George Cruikshank. Ainsworth's hero, a housebreaker, jail-breaker, and womanizer, was much admired among the general public for his daring. In March, Ainsworth became editor of Bentley's Miscellany.
1840Published The Tower of London, illustrated by Cruikshank; began serial publication of Guy Fawkes.
1841Guy Fawkes appeared in volume form. He published Old Saint Paul's. In December, he resigned editorship of Bentley's Miscellany.
1842Inception of Ainsworth's Magazine, February. Published The Miser's Daughter, il. Cruikshank. Began serial publication of Windsor Castle, based on the legend of Herne the Hunter.
1843Published Windsor Castle in volume form.
1844Saint James's. Began serial publication of Auriol under the title Revelations of London.
1845Purchased the New Monthly Magazine, in June, and edited it.
1847Serial publication of James the Second.
1848 James the Second appeared in volume form. Serial publication of The Lancashire Witches began.
1849 The Lancashire Witches appeared in volume form.
1851 Begins publication in parts of The Life and Adventures of Mervyn Clitheroe.
1853 Serial publication of The Star-Chamber. Moves from London. The serial publication of The Flitch of Baconbegan.
1854 Volume editions of The Star-Chamber and The Flitch of Bacon. Purchased Bentley's Miscellany. Ainsworth's Magazine ceased publication. At this time, Ainsworth moved to Brighton.
1855 The serial publication of The Spendthrift began. Ballads, illustrated by Sir John Gilbert, published.
1857 Volume edition of The Spendthrift published.
1858 Volume edition of Mervyn Clitheroe.
1859 The Combat of the Thirty. Began serial publication of Ovingdean Grange.
1860 Ovingdean Grange appeared in volume form.
1861 The Constable of the Tower published.
1862 The Lord Mayor of London. The serial publication of Cardinal Pole began.
1863 Cardinal Pole appeared in volume form. The serial publication of John Law began.
1864 The volume edition of John Law. The serial publication of The Spanish Match as The House of Seven Chimneys began.
1865 Volume editions of The Spanish Match and Auriol. The serial publication of The Constable de Bourbon began.
1866 Volume edition of The Constable de Bourbon. The serial publication of Old Court began.
1867 Volume edition of Old Court. Begins serial publication of Myddleton Pomfret.
1868 Volume edition of Myddleton Pomfret . He sells Bentley's Miscellany back to Bentley. Serial publication of The South-Sea Bubble .
1869 Serial publication of Hilary St. Ives.
1870 Volume edition of Hilary St. Ives. Serial publication of Talbot Harland . Resigns editorship of New Monthly Magazine.
1871 Tower Hill. Volume editions of The South-Sea Bubble and Talbot Harland.
1872 Boscobel.
1873 The Good Old Times, titled The Manchester Rebels of the Fatal'45 in subsequent editions.
1874 Merry England. Serial publication of The Goldsmith's Wife.
1875 Volume edition of The Goldsmith's Wife. Preston Fight.
1876 The Leaguer of Lathom and Chetwynd Calverley.
1877 The Full of Somerset.
1878 Beatrice Tyldesley.
1879Beau Nash.
1881 Stanley Brereton. Honored at a banquet in the Manchester Town Hall, September 15.
1882 William Harrison Ainsworth dies at Reigate, January 3. He is buried at Kensal Green Cemetery, London.

Created 12 December 2000

Last modified 21 September 2023