Garnett, Richard (1789–1850)
British philologist who maintained a secret interest in astrology.
He was born July 26, 1789, in Otley, Yorkshire, and
educated at Otley Grammar School. In time he mastered several
languages—French, Italian, German, Latin, and Greek—
and became a curate at Blackburn and assistant master of the
grammar school. He also contributed articles to the Protestant
Guardian. After the death of his first wife and their infant
daughter, he moved to Lichfield, where he became priest-vicar
of Lichfield Cathedral in 1829 and absorbed himself in the
study of comparative philosophy. He contributed important
papers to the Quarterly Review dealing with English lexicography,
dialects, and the Celtic languages. In 1834 he married his
second wife, Rayne Weaks.
In 1838 he became assistant keeper of printed books at the
British Museum Library. He became a member of the Philological
Society and contributed important papers to its Transactions.
He died September 27, 1850.
Few suspected that this eminent scholar of philology and
important official at the august British Museum Library was secretly
fascinated by astrology. However, he not only studied
early accounts of this subject but also experimented himself
with research on the association of planetary positions with
mental illness. He published his findings under the pseudonym
A. G. Trent (an anagram of his own name).