(1752-70) an English poet. He wrote poetry in an old-fashioned style, and pretended it was the work of a 15th-century priest called Thomas Rowley, who never existed. In 1770 he came to London to produce an opera he had written. He was not very successful, and killed himself at the age of 17. His poetry and his death influenced the Romantic poets and the Pre-Raphaelites and Chatterton is the subject of a novel of the same name published in 1987 by Peter Ackroyd.