The Southampton Luminary and County Chronicle had a brief existence between 1822 (first noted on 18 April) and July 1823 as a Tory newspaper supporting the principles of George Canning. No copies now exist. It was published weekly on Sunday mornings - but normally dated Monday - from 28 High Street, priced 7d. Its "sudden and unexpected demise" saw its metamorphosis into the Southampton Herald.
The first proprietors of the Luminary were William Lomer the younger & Co, a partnership between William Lomer junior and Christopher Irving. This was dissolved by mutual consent on 14 September 1822, the sole proprietorship passing to William Lomer the younger. He is recorded in Pigot's directory of 1823/4 as a printer living in Monkton's Court and he belonged to an extended family of corn factors and grocers, well represented in the corporation. Scottish-born Irving was a schoolmaster and author of over twenty school books. He had previously the direction of the Military, Naval, Classical and Commercial Academy in Quay Street, Newport, Isle of Wight, a prestigious school set up by l'Abbe de Grenthe.

First noted in Southampton in August 1821, as Provincial Grand Secretary of the United Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons in the town, his daughter Helena was baptized at All Saints Church on 23 May 1822. Irving was described in the parish registers as schoolmaster of Above Bar. A commission of bankruptcy was awarded against Irving in January 1823, described here as schoolmaster, dealer and chapman. The printer of the Luminary was Thomas Cope, only 27 years of age and destined for a glittering career in the business: employed in 1828 in London by William Clowes, "the prince of printers", he was to become publisher of The Times from 1848 to1863. He oversaw the new publishing department built by John Walter III in 1857-8. A son, William Cope, married Sarah Jane Trew, daughter of the Southampton banker Thomas Trew, at St Luke's Church on 14 July 1855. The death of the Luminary was signalled by the bankruptcy of William Lomer in the summer of 1823. The paper, complete with the goodwill, premises, type and printing apparatus - all new within the last twelve months - was sold by private contract in July 1823, apparently in accordance with the wishes of the bankrupt and his friends.

An epigram attributed (optimistically) to Lord Byron which appeared in the Luminary was reprinted in The Nic-Nac; or Oracle of Knowledge, no.27, 31 May 1823, p 216:

In digging up thy bones, Tom Paine,
Old Cobbett hath done well;
You visit him on earth again,
He'll visit you in hell.

Further reading:
'Early Hampshire newspapers,' in The Hampshire Antiquary and Naturalist, volume 2, 1892, pp.77-8.


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