Alfred Perceval Graves (1846–1931) was a poet and schools inspector, the father of Robert Graves (1895–1985). Less well-known are his musical connections with Stanford and literary links with Ireland’s father Alexander. This latter friendship came about while Graves was an assistant inspector in Manchester, where he collaborated with a colleague in writing The Elementary School Manager (1879). In 1880, promoted to full inspector, he moved to Huddersfield to take charge of the West Riding district of Yorkshire.
In 1930 his autobiography, To Return to All That, mentions visiting Alexander Ireland in Bowdon, describing him as ‘a good friend’. This relationship must have coincided with the birth of John Ireland. Graves also reveals the names of two of the visitors to the Ireland’s household. These were David Main, editor of English Victorian Sonnets, and Alexander Balloch Grosart ( 1827–99), a Presbyterian minister and literary editor, responsible for reprinting rare Elizabethan literature. Like Ireland, Grosart moved from Edinburgh to north-west England.