SIR RICHMOND CAMPBELL SHAKESPEAR was born in India on 11 May, 1812. His father was John Talbot Shakespear (1783-1825) of the Bengal Civil Service; his mother, Emily Thackeray, eldest daughter of William Makepeace Thackeray, also of the B.C.S. and father of the novelist. The Shakespears had a long tradition of military and civil service in India, Afghanistan, Burma, and later in Kuwait where Captain W.H.I. Shakespear was Political Agent until his death in 1915. originally they came from a family of ropemakers in Shadwell, east of the Tower of London, where until well into the 19th century there was still a ropewalk named after them - Shakespear's Walk. With the enormous growth of shipping and trade to and from India through the London docks at the end of the seventeenth century the Shakespears soon found their sons going out to India as " writers ", or through the military school at Addiscombe and into the Indian Army. Whole families of Shakespears were born and raised in India, their children being sent to England for school and then returning to India, either in the civil service or the army. There was much intermarrying among what were then called Anglo-Indians, creating close family ties with the Thackerays, Ricketts, Irvines, Grants, Crawfords and Lows.
Richmond's closest schoolboy friend was William Makepeace Thackeray the future novelist. They were sent to England together to go to school and Thackeray's later descriptions of his early boarding-school life with Richmond in Sussex aged about ten and then with him at Charterhouse are well known to readers of Thackeray. Richmond's brother, George Trant Shakespear, who committed suicide in Geneva in 1844, was also at Charterhouse, and was a friend of Thackeray's and the basis of one of his major... [continues]
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