Wallis, John

, a worthy English divine, and botanical writer, was born in 1714, in or near the parish of Ireby, in Cumberland. He was of Queen’s college, Oxford, where he took his degree of M. A. in 1740, and acquired some reputation as a sound scholar. Though possessed of good natural abilities, and no small share of acquired knowledge, he lived and died in an humble station. His disposition was so mild, and his sense of duty so proper, that he passed through life without a murmur at his lot. Early in life he married a lady near Portsmouth, where he | at that time resided on a curacy. For fifty-six years they enjoyed the happiness of their’matrimonial connexion an happiness that became almost proverbial in their neighbourhood. After spending a few years in the south of England, he became curate of Simonburn, in Northumberland; and while here, indulged his taste for the study of botany, and filled his little garden with curious plants. This amusement led him gradually into deeper researches into natural history; and, in 1769, he published a “History of Northumberland,” 2 vols. 4to, the first of which, containing an account of minerals, fossils, &c. found in that country, is reckoned the most valuable. In other respects, as to antiquities, &c. it is rather imperfect, and unconnected. His fortune, however, did not improve with the reputation which this work brought him, and a dispute with his rector occasioned him to leave his situation, when he and his wife were received into the family of a clergyman who had formerly been his friend at college. He was curate for a short time at Haughton, near Darlington, in 1775, and soon afterwards removed to Billingham, near Stockton, where he continued until increasing infirmities obliged him to resign. He then removed to the village of Norton, where he died July 23, 1793, in the seventyninth year of his age. About two years before his death a small estate fell to him by the death of a brother; and to the honour of the present bishop of Durham (but certainly not to the surprize of any one that knows that munificent prelate), when the circumstances and situation of Mr. Wallis were represented to him, he allowed him an annual pension from the time of his resigning his curacy. From a sense of gratitude, Mr. Wallis, just at the close of life, was employed in packing up an ancient statue of Apollo, found at Carvoran, a Roman station on the wall, on the confines of Northumberland, as a present to the learned Daines Barrington, brother to the bishop. In the earlier part of his life Mr. Wallis published a volume of letters to a pupil, on entering into holy orders. 1


Hutchinson’s Hist, of Cumberland. —Gent. Mag. LXIII.