This booklet was first published in 1921 by E. F. Fennemore and J. J. Harmer.It has more recently been reprinted by the Harmer Family Association.
THE HARMER FAMILY
Though unpretentious in itself, the little village of Randwick, situated in a coombe of the Cotswold Hills in Gloucestershire, has produced several families of note. Of these the family of Harmer have contributed several members who have been an honour to the place of their birth.
It has been thought by. some that the family of Harmer arrived here with the Roman invaders. The name is, however, first mentioned in Domesday Book (1085) in its Latin form — Hermerus. It is also to be seen in the Harleian Manuscripts — Hermere, Harmere - Henry III., 1379. It is believed that the first mention of the family in Gloucestershire is the following:-"Johanne Harmer and Ricardus Fynnymore in 1536 were trusted to an endowment Charity at Dursley (Glos.) of the value of £23 16s. 3d." Another early mention says that in 1562 John Harmer held property by lease of Robert Cloterbooke at Stanley St. Leonards. In "Phillimore's Parish Registers" (Glos.), it is shown that the name occurs intermittently in the neighbouring villages of King's Stanley, Leonard Stanley, and Stonehouse, from 1578 till 1773. Appended is a list with dates:
MARRIAGES FROM KING'S STANLEY CHURCH REGISTER
Harry Harmer and Johane Tyler Jan. 23 1588
Richard Harmer and Catherine Parsons Feb. 10 1588
Aston Caston and Ann Harmer Sept. 4 1589
Edmond Harold and Johane Harmer Jan. 10 1594
Richard Weebe and Catherine Harmer Jun. 3 1600
Edward Harmer and Elinor Went Aug. 12 1609
Henry Harmer and Eliza Wetmore Aug. 12 1619
Thomas Awood (probably Hayward and Ursula Harmer) Oct. 1625
John Harmer and Marjorie Stratford Dec. 28 1663
Walter Wood and Deborah Harmer Oct. 1665
John Allen and Sarah Harmer Dec. 1685
Thomas Harmer and Hannah Clarke Dec. 25 1690
John Harmer and Frances Workman Feb. 6 1700
Chas. Knee and Frances Harmer Aug. 1713
Samuel Pritchard and Hannah Harmer Sept. 1713
William Roberts and Maragret Harmer July. 1716
John Harmer and Hester Knee July, 1734
Thomas Harmer and Ann Jenkins Feb. 4 1758
John Harmer and Sarah Brinkworth Nov. 21 1760
William Harmer and Elizabeth Hobbs Nov. 14 1762
George Baker and Elizabeth Harmer Dec. 23 1769
John Harmer (widower) and Mary Aldridge (widow) Aug. 14 1773
MARRIAGES FROM LEONARD STANLEY CHURCH REGISTER
William Harmer and Catherine Chamberlyne Jun. 1590
John Carpenter and Alice Harmer Feb. 1626
John Harmer and Alice Walkley Oct. 1631
Richard Harmer (of Rodbury) & Elizabeth Elliott Jul. 1666
William Partridge and Margaret Harmer Jul. 1691
No marriages recorded between 1633—64, 1666—9, 1670—5
MARRIAGES FROM STONEHOUSE CHURCH REGISTER
William Harmer and Catherine Wood Feb. 1570
John King and Joyce Harmer May. 1571
Richard Harmer and Ann Cloterbroke Nov. 1578
Garret Harmer and Bridget Bennett Jan. 1579
Richard Dangerfield and Elizabeth Harmer Nov. 1591
Katherine Harmer and James Cloterboke May. 1606
Mary Harmer and Henrye Chanler Jun. 1607
Giles harmour (Harmer) Colwell Jun. 1613
Edward Harmer and Elizabeth (illegible) Feb. 1632
Francis Jobbins and (illegible) Harmer 1640
Thomas Harmer and Jone Wathen Apr. 1700
Joshua Harmer and Mary Swallow Aug. 1716
Samuel Apperly and Sarah Harmer Jan. 1726
Daniel Birt (of Rodborough) and Hannah Harmer Feb. 1726
No more Harmers up to 1812
MARRIAGES FROM STANDISH CHURCH REGISTER
Samuel Harmer and Mary Houlder (of Randwick) Oct. 1721
MARRIAGES FROM FROCESTER CHURCH REGISTERS
Nathaniel Nelmes and Joane Harmer Jan. 1670
John Marlin and Ursula Handman (Harmer B.T.) Aug. 1695
MARRIAGES FROM COWLEY CHURCH REGISTERS
Richard Pegler of Nymphsfield W., and
Elizabeth Harmer, W. Sep. 1802
It was, however, in 1666 that the name first appeared in the Randwick Parish Registers, only five years after they were first introduced* in Randwick Church "Mordiky Harmer was buried the 18th day of January in the year 1666". This "Mordiky" appears to be the first recorded progenitor of the family in the village of Randwick. As nothing further is known of him, we pass on to the next mention of Harmer, again from the Church Registers: "1688, Richard, the son of George Harmer, and of his wife, of Stroud (Parish), buried the 18th day of October". Here it may be observed that until the passing of the "Divided Parishes Act" many houses in the village of Randwick were still claimed by the neighbouring Parish of Stroud.
From a comparison of dates it seems more than probable that this George Harmer was the son of "Mordiky" and that he, George Harmer, had at least three sons: Richard, died in 1688, George, who survived him, and William, born about 1686. With regard to the latter, the following appears in the Registers in a delicate hand under date 1740:
*Reqisters were ordered to be kept in churches by Thomas Cromwell in reign of Henry VIII.., 1534—1538.
"William Harmer in his hand and pen". Evidently he was the "Sworne Clerke" of the village who kept the Registers.
George, the second son, is next heard of on the loss of a son in 1726: "Thomas, the son of George Harmer and of Elizabeth, his wife, of ye Parish of Stroud buried July 20th, 1726". Besides Thomas, he seems to have had two other children by his wife Elizabeth (although no mention of the marriage appears in the Registers) -George and Elizabeth. Elizabeth, who married a broad cloth weaver of the village names Thomas White, died at the age of 49 years. Presumably, on their marriage they went to live in the neighbouring hamlet of Ruscombe, where their first child was born, but they afterwards returned to Randwick. Their family consisted of two sons and three daughters, of whom David died at the age of 19, and Sarah at 30 years of age, and were interred in a grave where subsequently their father was also buried. Phoebe married a man of the name of Storer, and Hannah remained unmarried.
The following is a copy of Thomas White's tombstone in Randwick Churchyard: "In memory of Thomas White, of the Parish of Stroud, father of the Reverend Joseph White, D.D., Professor of the Oriental Languages in the University of Oxford — He died October the 12th, 1804, aged 84 years". "Under the second stone on the right hand lie the remains of Elizabeth his wife. She died August 26th, 1772, aged 49 years." This stone, a heavy flat one, only bears the initials in large capitals, E.H.
The eldest son of this couple, Joseph, was born in 1746. As a lad this youth acquired a love of study, and in this he was greatly assisted by his father, who was no mean Latin scholar. He was also assisted by his uncle, George Harmer, the schoolmaster. Eventually he was brought to the notice of several gentlemen of the neighbourhood, who became his patrons, and sent him to the College School at Gloucester. These same gentlemen next sent him to Wadham College, Oxford. Soon after his ordination, he visited his native village, and, preaching to a crowded congregation, publicly thanked his benefactors, some of whom were present. In 1773 he took his degree of M.A., in 1774 was chosen Fellow of his College. In 1775 he was elected Laudian Professor of Arabic, and also about this time was appointed King's Preacher at Whitehall. In 1783 he was appointed to preach the Bampton Lectures, and in 1784, in the course of nine sermons delivered them to the University, and these were much prized. He soon after graduated Doctor of Divinity and was presented to the Rectory of Melford, in Suffolk, in 1787. The next year the Lord Chancellor presented him with a Prebend in the Cathedral of Gloucester. About the year 1793 he married Miss Turner, a Gloucestershire lady, and by doing so vacated his Fellowship of Wadham College. He now resided most at his Rectory in Suffolk, where he printed and published several learned treatises. Dying in 1814 without issue, his sister Hannah eventually became possessed of his estate, which afterwards divided among 40 of his relations.
Of the third member of the Harmer family to bear the name of George, more is know. Born in 1716, he appears to have been no mean scholar as he supplied his nephew, Joseph White, with books as well as money in the latter's pursuit of knowledge. At the age of 30 George became probably the first master of the Randwick village school. Several charitable bequests having been left by people interested, it was know as the Charity School. About 1620, a house was left for the master to reside in, "free of rent but subject to rates," and in a room on the ground floor the school was held. This room, being small the scholars were not allowed to exceed 60 in number, "but the Master to be allowed to take any number of private pupils up to the number of 8, provided he does not neglect his duties to the Charity School". The pupils were not admitted under 5 years of age* nor retained after 13. In the "Charity School Book" is the following:— "A Bible for the use of George Harmer" (in the school). He filled this important and useful office for over 44 years, and this is recorded not only in the Church Registers but also on his tombstone, which is still (1920) in a fair state of preservation, thus:— "In memory of George Harmer, master of the Charity School of this Parish, 44 years, who died March 23, 1791 in the 75 year of his age. Abs of Elizabeth his wife. She died October 29th, 1786 in the 73 year of her age".
The fourth George Harmer evidently succeeded his father as village schoolmaster, and was generally known as "Master" Harmer. He also lived in the School House, as well as fulfilling his duties there, but whether he held the position all his life is uncertain, In the before—mentioned book it is recorded that from the year 1813 till 1821 he received as his stipend £10 is. 7d. annually; he was also allowed 30s. a year for "fiering". Besides this office Master Harmer also held the important one of Parish Clerk, and for this received from the Church Rate the annual sum of £2. Os. Od., as well as a gratuity after each wedding or funeral. According to the Registers he filled this office for 52 years. In 1799 he was appointed General Overseer of the Parish, for which he received £8 Os. Od. a year -"and we also agree to employ Win. Watkins at the Parishes expense to attend the school, in the absence of G. Harmer, collecting the rate". It is also recorded that in 1832 George Harmer received "7s 6d. for making a return of baptisms, marriages, and burials, as ordered by the magistrates, and in 1824 he is mentioned as one of the "principal inhabitants" of Randwick, who with others applied for a faculty for enlarging the village church. After a long and useful life this good man died in 1836, beloved and respected by all. The following is a copy of his burial taken from the Church Registers:- "Jan. 9th, George Harmer, Parish Clerk of Randwick, 52 years, Randwick Charity School House". As his death took place in the School House this seems to imply that he was master of the school until his death. The old vicar of Randwick the Rev. Elliot, caused a portrait in oils to be painted of him, and this with his contemporary, Thomas Bassett, the old sexton, was presented to the parish and hangs in the school room. The only tombstone to be found suggestive of him, is one with a damaged headstone, the footstone bearing the initials G. H., with date 1836, and P. H., 1840. He left two children, Mordicai and Anne.
Mordicai, whose name was evidently supplied from that of the first member of the family, whose death was recorded in the Registers, was by trade a builder, and succeeded to the property owned by his father in "the field". He seems to have been devoted to the annual "Wap" or Mock Mayor's Day** and for many years recorded his vote at this election. In 1839 he "was chus'd by the free Holders of the parish" to be mopman at this festival, and on another occasion got into trouble through his persistence in the use of the Church Bells on this day.
• The infant school of Randwick was held in the adjoining hamlet of Oxlynch.
** "History of Randwick," by E. F. Fennemore.
His sister Anne seems to have inherited the family liking for a scholastic profession, and became the village schoolmistress at Westonbirt, Gloucestershire. Here she married, lived and died, leaving the two cottages she inherited from her father to her daughter, by whom they were passed on by auction sale to the present owner, George Harmer.
Descendents of all the above—mentioned members of the Harmer family are still (1921) living in Randwick and district, with the exception of the branch springing from William Harmer (1750—1799), and of which the following portion of this book give particulars.
William Harmer, son of the third George (1716-1791), was born in the year 1750, in the village of Randwick. About 1768 he left Randwick, thinking to better his prospects in Cirencester, and shortly after proceeded to take up a clerical appointment with Messrs. Bullard and Sons, Brewers, Norwick, Norfolk, making the journey by coach. It is not known the length of service that he had with this firm, but while in their employ he received pupils for evening scholastic instruction. Later, relinquishing his engagement, he accepted an appointment in one of the Ipswich Banks. He again commenced the evening classes, and obtained many pupils. Indeed, after a time so great was his success that he left the Bank, and opened an Educational Academy in Fore Street, Ipswich. He received not only local pupils but also boarders from Sweden, Norway, etc.
William Harmer paid weekly visits to pupils resident within a few miles radius of Ipswich, principally landowners' sons and daughters. Among his pupils was a Miss Sarah Carrington, a farmer's daughter of Bradfield, Essex. Although the young lady was little more than 16 years of age an attachment sprang up between them. This eventually matured, and arrangements were secretly made for an elopement. The lover arranged for coach and postilions to be waiting near the house at a given time, and secured the services of a gentleman friend to assist him. The coach duly arrived at the appointed time, and the eloping couple with their friend were rapidly driven off. Anticipating a pursuit by the family, it was arranged that with indications of their being overtaken, Mr. Harmer and the lady should temporarily leave the vehicle and take cover, and when the pursuers had passed on the coach should return, pick them up, and drive to Ipswich by another route. Shortly the coach was overhauled, but the pair had already alighted. The riders naturally concluded that their quarry was still ahead, and immediately galloped on. When the pursuers had passed out of hearing the coach returned, picked up the eloping couple, who were driven to Ipswich, where they arrived at a late hour. The following day they sailed across to Holland, where they were married at Helveotsluys. Returning to this country they were again married according to the Established Church.
Mr. Harmer continued the school most successfully for nearly 30 years, when his death occurred rather suddenly in 1799. He was free of the Company of Combmakers of the City of London in 1796. Mrs. Harmer survived her husband many years, dying in the year 1846 aged 91. As a result of this marriage, three sons were born, the eldest, William John in 1775.
When this son had attained a suitable age, Lord Chedworth, a friend of the Harmer family, engaged to get him elected to Christ's Hospital, London. In this he was unsuccessful, however, but later he arranged that the boy should study for the Medical Profession, and William was accordingly placed with a Doctor at Cheyne Walk, Chelsea. After the usual course he passed his examinations and became a fully qualified doctor.
Whilst serving with his regiment Doctor Harmer successfully restored an apparently drowned man of His Majesty's Fleet whilst in action. For this a medal was presented to him, bearing on one side the following inscription: —
Returning from the West Indies he contracted consumption and retiring from the Army was gazetted an Ensign in the Suffolk Militia in 1800, but his illness prevented him taking an active part with his regiment. Suffering under the severity of his illness he eventually went to Ventnor, Isle of Wight, but in 1812 he succumbed to this disease. He was buried in St. John's Churchyard, near Ventnor, dying unmarried in the 37th year of his age.
Some nine years after Mr. Harmer's death, documents were received from the Deputy Treasurer's office, Royal Hospital, Chelsea, informing the second son, Mr. George Joseph Harmer, that application could be made for the deceased brother's share of the Prize Money in connection with the capture of the West India Islands. This was accordingly done and several hundred pounds were received.
Mr. George Joseph Harmer, the second son, born 1778, was apprenticed and principally educated in his father's school. While an assistant he was also training to take Orders in the Established Church, but owing to the sudden death of his father, he felt it his duty to take over the management of the school, and consequently his desire to enter the Church was abandoned. The school achieved marked success. Mr. Harmer had a number of foreign scholars, mostly sons of shipowners, merchants and others connected with the shipping industry. Among a number of Ipswich pupils were some intended for the Church, and others for a high scholastic training. Navigation, astronomy, and the use of the Globes and other sciences were taught. One of his pupils, daughter of Admiral Page, successfully passed the navigation classes; who occasionally sailed with her father (then Captain Page), worked out the observations and assisted in the general navigation of His Majesty's Ship . On Captain Page's return to Ipswich he showed the workings, etc., which he said were correct to the writer's grandfather. The celebrated actress, Mrs. Keeley, was also a pupil at this school.
The last 20 years of his life were lived in retirement, at New Street House, St. Clement's, Ipswich. He died at the ripe old age of 89 years, highly respected by the townspeople of that borough. He was buried in his wife's (Dorking) family vault, St. Clement's Church, in 1866. His wife lived to a great age, and died in 1872, in her 94th year, and was buried with her husband.
The third son, Carrington, was owner and master of a barque, "The Bure". She was eventually lost in a storm off Yarmouth, her crew barely escaping with their lives.
George John Dorkin, born 1808, was the eldest son of George Joseph Harmer, was apprenticed to the printing trade, and was the first to open a printing office in West Ham Parish, London, E., in the year 1848. Later the business was largely increased, and he eventually published a weekly newspaper. He was much respected, and died in 1892 in his 84th year. The business was continued by his son, Carrington Brooke Dorkin, who retired in 1909. Two other sons carried on printing business in the borough, William John at Barking Road, Canning Town, E., and Anthony Thomas at Leytonstone Road, Stratford, E.
The Rev. Henry Marven, M.A., third son of George Joseph Harmer, passed Trinity College Dublin. He was tutor to Sir Robert Peel's sons, also Lord Salisbury (the late Prime Minister). The Rev. gentleman's ministry included Royton, near Oldham; St. Thomas's, Pendleton; St. George's where he became Vicar; St. Paul's, where he remained until his removal to St. Stythians's with Perran ar. Worthel, 1877. Many valuable presents were made from various parishes. They included silver pocket communion service and gold watch and chain, on leaving St. Paul's, a handsome silver salver, with inscription; tea and coffee service, bearing the family coat of arms, and a purse containing 100 guineas. A brass tablet was erected to his memory in St. Paul's Church. His death occurred in 1896, in the 84th year of his age. In his ministry the Rev, gentleman was highly respected. He was a preacher, of some repute.
The daughters, Misses Marian, Ellen, Kate and Jane were chiefly educated in their father's school and held scholastic appointments in some of the highest schools in England.
Mr. Anthony, the fourth son, passed the pharmaceutical examinations, and had an extensive chemist's business at Eastbourne and elsewhere. They are still being carried on by the eldest son, George Anthony.
The numerous later descendants are given as fully as possible in the family tree.
APPENDIX TO THE
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF THE
HARMER FAMILY OF GLOUCESTERSHIRE
By H. J. HARMER of Hadleigh, Essex
Since the publication of the sketches some interesting matter has been obtained through research in Phillimore's and other histories.
There is strong probability that the Harmer family originated with the Roman Invaders. In the year 60 AD., in accordance with instructions from Rome, many Roman soldiers were discharged from the garrisons at Colchester and elsewhere, and some married into English families and settled in this country.
In Domesday Book the Latin name of Hermerus appears, and is recorded among the tenants—in-chief as "possessing much land in Norfolk".
It is noticeable that the name Hermerus appeared up to the time of the Conquest, but later disappeared and Hermer and Harmer appeared in its place; later still the name of Monthermer is found, the prefix being probably merely an addition to the family name.
In Whichcord and Co.'s Dictionary of National Biography, Monthermer Ralph de, Earl of Gloucester and Hertford (d. 1325) is obscurely mentioned in the Annals Londonieses as "Comes Gloucestrioe, J. Bastard, qui diciten, Radulfus Heanmer" (Chron. Edward I. and II., 132).
On March 19th 1923, in latest wills, appears —~- Mr. John Monthermer
Montague, of Marwood, Barnstaple, late of Public Works Dept., India.
In wills proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, appears the following:— 1509 A.D., Harmer, Hermer, John, Greyfriars, Cambridge.
In Bardsley's Biography, in 1237 A.D., we find Robert Hermer, and Johannes Hermer, same date, also Ricardus Hermer, 1379- subsequently and as late as 1509, the name of H ermer is recorded, after that date the form of spelling seems to have definitely settled as Harmer.
It may be suggested the name Monthermer is of Norman origin, but I quite failed to find it as such. As before stated the name of Hermerus was existing at the date of the Conquest, and after that time it may have been considered a matter of policy to adopt the French prefix. Monthermer was living about 200 years after the Conquest, and there is a great probability that his ancestors may have formed connections with the Norman Conquerors.
Before 1296 Monthermer was a squire in the service of Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester, 1243—1295 Cq.v.J. After the death of Earl Gilber, the widow, Joanna Acre (born at Acre], second daughter of Edward I., fell in love with him, and after inducing her father to Knight him, married him privately, early in 1297 (Hemingberg II., 70).
It is not possible to say at what date the Hermerus, Hermer, or Harmer family appeared in the West of England. In the conquering Roman Armies they may have reached those places. The Mercian Kings held court in King's Stanley, 870A.D., and later in Cirencester and Gloucester, and it is possible that some of them followed the fortunes of those Kings.
At the present time, there are very many families residing in Gloucester, Cirencester, Stonehouse, King's Stanley, Randwick, Stroud etc., bearing the unaltered names of their Ancestors, as far back as 1536. There are many in those places being the name of Harmer. Especial notice is given to W. Scotford Harmer, of Cirencester, and Harry Harmer of Gloucester, Newspaper Proprietors and Publishers, both having large establishments.
Of the Norfolk Branches of the family may be mentioned Sir Sydney
F. Harmer, K.B.E., Sc.D., F.R.S., Director of the Natural History Departments of the British Museum, whose family dates back to the end of the 15th Century: Dr. William Douglas Harmer M.A., M.B., M.C., (Master of Surgery) Cantab., F.R.C.S. who has had a distinguished career as a surgeon. The Right Reverend John Reginald Harmer D.D., Bishop of Rochester son of the late Reverend George Harmer Vicar of Maisemore, Gloucestershire. Arthur Frederic Harmer (Electrical Engineer) Member of Council of the Institution of Electrical Engineers) now of Wimbledon, Middlesex, a descendent of the Norfolk branch.
Among the descendants of the Randwick Harmers, whose name first appeared in the Randwick Parish Registers in 1666, now in London and elsewhere, may be mentioned H. R. Harmer F.R.G.S. of Old Bond Street Galleries, London and E. G. Hammer F.R.G.S. of Sudbury Priory, Harrow, Managing Director of Rooke and Co., Limited, 69 Fleet Street, London, E.C., both Philatelic Auctioneers and both stamp experts (sons of the writer). Anthony Harmer, G. A. Harmer, son and grandson, Pharmacists and dentists, whose business has been carried on for four generations and 66 years in South Street, Eastbourne, Sussex.
It is worthy of note that Harmer is a comparatively common name in the South, and the near West of England, particularly Gloucestershire, also in the Eastern Counties, in fact where the
Roman domination was strongest the name is commonest.
In Bardsley's Biography appears - Johannes Heriner and Robert Hermer 1237 A.D. Richardus Hermer 1379; Hermer de Beleswell, same date —Hermer, Harmar and Harmer - " Occurs in Domesday Book as HERMERUS". Bardsley must have had some Authoirty for this statement. This seems additional reason that Ralph de MONTHERMER was a connection of the above HERMER, HARMER family.
THE REV. JOSEPH WHITE, DD.,
of Randwick, Glos.
This distinguished scholar, born in Randwick, Glos., was the eldest son of Thomas White (1720—1814), who married Elizabeth Harmer (1723—1772), sister of George Harmer (1716-1791).
When a youth, White's talents attracted the notice of wealthy neighbours, who enabled him to pursue his studies at the Crypt Grammar School Gloucester, and the liberality of John Moore (1730—1805) (q.v.) afterwards Bishop of Bangor, and later Archbishop of Canterbury, enabled him to enter Wadham College, Oxford, as a commoner, on June 6th, 1765. In September of that year he became Scholar of the College, where he shortly afterwards obtained the Hody Exhibition for Hebrew as well as other prizes.
At his partron's desire he devoted himself to the study of Syriac, Arabic, and Persian, and in 17775 was by unanimous vote elected to the Laudian Chair of Arabic. He was appointed King's Preacher at Whitehall.
At the suggestion of Bishop Louth, the delegates of the Clarendon Press entrusted to White the task of completing and issuing an edition of Philoxenian (or rather Harklensian) version of the New Testament, for which Gloucester Ridley (g.v.) had left materials based on two manuscripts which he had brought from the East and afterwards presented to the New College. Ridley's materials were of little use to White, who had both to copy the manuscripts and translate the text himself.
His edition exhibited both scholarship and accuracy in a favourable light, and since no other has appeared it is a work by which he is remembered.
White was a very popular Preacher. Both as a Theologian and as a Critic he was ultra-Conservative.
In 1778 he was presented by Lord Chancellor Thurlow to a prebend of Gloucester Cathedral, of which the value was considerable.
White married in 1790, Mary Turner, of Gloucester (sister of Sir Samuel Turner), 1749—1802 (q.v.) who visited Tibet as a British Envoy. Her death affected him severely. White died at Christ Church, Oxford, and was buried in the Lady Chapel on May 23, 1814.
He was declared by some writers to be of an indolent disposition, and they stated that in some of his books he embodied the labours of others.
Autobiographers of the late Dr. Joseph White, "who knew not Joseph", have evidently been misled as to the true character of White. To this day there are manuscripts in Randwick Church Vestry, recording his struggles as a youth for learning.
After his day's work at the loom, he was to be found studying by candle light into the small hours of the morning, and it was his untiring energy and perseverance that induced his patrons to send him to the College School, Gloucester. This zeal does not suggest an indolent man.
Dr. White was in friendly communication until his death with the great Divine Luminaries of his day, viz., Dr. John Moore, Archbishop of Canterbury (and it was in 1803 that White stayed at Canterbury with his friend and patron and there his will was drafted). Others include Dr. John Parsons, Lord Bishop of Peterborough, and Silvestre de Sacy. Dr. White was a man of transcendent ability.
Dr. White gave £500 to the Building Fund of Christ Church, Oxford, also £200 each to 40 of his friends and relations of Randwick, Glos.
His portrait in oils was painted by William Peters and presented to the University of Oxford.
(Partly copied from the Dictionary of National Biography.)