Robert S. Surtees was born in 1803. In 1831, after the death of his brother made him heir to his father's fortune, he started the New Sporting Magazine with Rudolph Ackermann. In the pages of this magazine Surtees developed the humorous character Mr. John Jorrocks. As well as writing, Surtees became a Justice of the Peace for Durham, a Major in the local militia and High Sheriff of the county. He died at Brighton on 16 March 1864.