At the Circulating Library Author Information: Joseph Downes
Author: Joseph Downes (1791–1860)
Alternate Name(s): Esthwaite Water (pseudonym)
Biography: Joseph Downes was born in 1791 in London. He studied medicine in Edinburgh and became a practicing physician. Downes married, but his wife has not been identified. In the late 1830s, he moved to Builth, Breconshire, Wales, and began contributing articles, stories, and poems to periodicals. In addition, he published the collection The Mountain Decameron (1836), a collection of Welsh folktales and stories. According to one account, "Downes lived in close communion with nature in her wildest aspects, and in her remotest and most inaccessible retreats among the Brecknockshire hills"; and another says, "He was a passionate admirer of mountain scenery, and in the summer season he used to camp out night and day in the open air, in the recesses of the most secluded glens that he knew of." This eccentric figure died in 1860 in Builth.
References: British Census (1851); "The Sin-Eater in South Wales," Literature (13 October 1900); Wellesley
- The Mountain Decameron: A Novel. 3 vol. London: Bentley, 1836.