Thomas Chatterton (1752 - 1770) was an English poet and writer, and forger of medieval texts. He made up an imaginary monk of the 15th century, called him Thomas Rowley, and wrote poetry and histories which he attempted to pass off as Rowley’s ancient writings. He had some success, but when in 1769 he sent specimens of "Rowley's" poetry and histories to Horace Walpole, the truth came out. When Walpole found out that Chatterton was only sixteen and that the alleged Rowley pieces were probably forgeries, he scornfully sent Chatterton away.
Chatterton continued to write political letters, lyrics, operas and satires, for various journals. He won high praise for many of these pieces, and was making a name for himself, but remained extremely short of money – a lonely writer starving in his London garret.
He committed suicide, using arsenic, at the age of 17. As it turned out, he had been within days of securing a wealthy patron.