Bill, Robert (c. 1790–1823)

The elder son of John Bill (d. 1847), a surgeon to the Manchester Infirmary who inherited the Farley estate, near Alton, Staffordshire. Robert Bill was educated at Macclesfield School (now the King’s School, Macclesfield), whose headmaster was Dr David Davies (1755–1828). Bill matriculated at Oriel College, Oxford, in 1807 graduating BA 1810 and MA 1814. He pursued a career as a barrister. In 1820 he married Louisa Dauncey, the daughter of Philip Dauncey K.C. (d. 1819) and his wife Marie (Mary) (b. 1769), and the granddaughter of Mrs Dolignon who had acted in loco parentis during Southey’s time at Westminster School. Bill fathered two daughters and died in Rochester, Kent, on 12 October 1823. As a schoolboy in May 1806, Bill wrote to Southey, expressing his enthusiasm for his work. Bill was clearly a fan of contemporary poetry because in February of the same year he had written admiringly to Thomas Campbell. His enthusiasm persisted and in 1823 he, his wife and sister-in-law subscribed to Joanna Baillie’s A Collection of Poems, which included Southey’s ‘The Cataract of Lodore’ and ‘Lines in the Album, at Lowther Castle’. Bill’s love of poetry was shared by his relative, and namesake, the mechanic and inventor Robert Bill (1754–1827; DNB).