John Nowell (1794-1869)

John Nowell was a scientist, manufacturer and teacher, who later became a noted local antiquarian.


He was born on 1 March 1794 at Farnley Wood, Farnley Tyas, the son of William Nowell and his wife Ruth (née Shearran).

He was educated at King James's School, Almondbury, and later become a governor of the school in 1848.

As a young man, he studied chemistry and travelled to Europe and America. He reportedly counted scientists Michael Faraday and Sir Humphrey Davy amongst his acquaintances.

He took part in founding Huddersfield College and taught science. One of his most notable students was the chemist George Jarmain who later taught at Huddersfield Techincal School.

In the spring of 1863, he co-founded the Huddersfield Archaeological and Topographical Association.

Aged 70, he began transcribing "upwards of five hundred folio pages of the earlier registers of the parish church of Almondbury", beginning with the year 1577.[1]

He died on 4 March 1869, aged 75, and was buried on 8 March at All Hallows, Almondbury.

His obituary in the Yorkshire Post noted that:[2]

Mr. Nowell was a kind friend and pleasant companion ; his memory was richly stored with reminiscences of the past ; and his anecdotes, given in quaint, homely language, will not soon be forgotten.

Notes and References

  1. "The Late Mr. John Howell of Farnley Wood" in Yorkshire Archaeological and Topographical Journal (volume 1, 1870).
  2. "The Late Mr. Nowell, of Farnley Wood" in Yorkshire Post (20/Mar/1869).