Robert Smith Surtees (17 May 1805 – 16 March 1864) was an English editor, novelist and sporting writer, widely known as R. S. Surtees. He was the second son of Anthony Surtees of Hamsterley Hall, a member of an old County Durham family.
Surtees attended a school at Ovingham and then Durham School, before being articled in 1822 to Robert Purvis, a solicitor in Market Street, Newcastle upon Tyne.
He left for London in 1825, intending to practise law in the capital, but had difficulty making his way and began contributing to the Sporting Magazine. He launched out on his own with the New Sporting Magazine in 1831, contributing the comic papers which appeared as Jorrocks' Jaunts and Jollities in 1838. Jorrocks, the sporting cockney grocer, with his vulgarity and good-natured artfulness, was a great success with the public, and Surtees produced more Jorrocks novels in the same vein, notably Handley Cross and Hillingdon Hall, where the description of the house is very reminiscent of Hamsterley. Another hero, Soapey Sponge, appears in Mr Sponge's Sporting Tour, possibly Surtees best work. All Surtees' novels were composed at Hamsterley Hall, where he wrote standing up at a desk, like Victor Hugo...
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