Robertson and Realf

Meeting Poet Richard Realf’s 3x Great-Niece 

By Sally Connellan, Research Coordinator

Today I met the 3x great-niece of Richard Realf who is writing a book on his life and work, Realf was a poet born in East Sussex (14 June 1832 – 28 October 1878). Richard Realf emigrated to United States in 1854 and traveled all over the US (New York, Kansas, Texas, Washington, South Carolina and more), he also served in the American Civil War. “My Slain”, “An Old Man’s Idyll”, “Indirection”, are some of Realf’s most famous poetry titles.

Image of a young Richard Realf (found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Realf )


Richard Realf has a connection with the Holy Trinity Church (HTC) and specifically the famous and influential Rev Fredrick Robertson “Robertson of Brighton”, whose life our group will be exploring as part of our research. Richard Realf lived in Brighton between 1850-1853 and whilst residing, he worshiped at Holy Trinity Church. Realf references Robertson in many of his personal letters. In Brighton he became an amanuensis to a lady in Brighton at 63 Montpelier Road when Roberson was at number 60 (confirmed in a 1851 Cencus), perhaps their being neighbors started their relationship. As a young and growing poet Realf was encouraged by influential figures such as Lady Noel Bryon, who we know has links with Robertson as she attended his sermons and his funeral when he died. 

There is certainly a history of creative figures within community linked to the HTC. It was great to learn about some of the interesting lives of the people who entered the Holy Trinity and those who knew the famous preacher Robertson of Brighton!

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