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Atkinson, Rev. John Christopher (1814 - 1900)


Image courtesy of Goldhanger - Past

Biographical notes

Canon Atkinson is now best remembered for two of his published works - British birds' eggs and their nests and Forty years in a moorland parish although he published many more. Those volumes with a natural history content were particularly aimed at young people. He was also a noted antiquarian with particular interest in the archaeology, folk-lore, dialect and history of his adopted home in Danby, Yorkshire, and the surrounding Cleveland district.

The Rev. John Christopher Atkinson was born in Goldhanger, Essex, the eldest child of Rev. John Atkinson who was curate in the parish. His father was a keen bird-watcher and sportsman and his grandfather, Christopher Atkinson, was a talented amateur bird illustrator. John Christopher spent his early years in Essex where he devoted much of his time to the study of local birds. He was a cousin of the Newnham brothers of Farnham, botanists Rev William Orde Newnham and Dr Christopher Atkinson Newnham and lepidopterist Rev Philip Hankinson Newnham.

He was ordained after taking degrees at St John's College, Cambridge, and after brief appointments in Herefordshire and Scarborough, was presented with the living of Danby, Yorkshire, where he spent the remainder of his life.


1814 Goldhanger, Essex
1814 Weathersfield, Essex
1834 St John's College, Cambridge
1841 Brockhampton, Herefordshire
1845 Scarborough, Yorkshire
1848 Danby, Yorkshire
1900 Danby, Yorkshire



Additional links

Annotated family tree link
He has an entry in Wikipedia link
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1814 May 9 : Birth Born in Goldhanger, Essex
1814 December 13 : Baptism - Weathersfield, Essex Anonymous sources sources provide his exact birth and baptism dates.
1838 : B.A. Degree Awarded degree of B.A. at St John's College, Cambridge.
1848 April : Appointment to Danby 1Hull Advertiser and Exchange Gazette - 1848 April 7
ECCLESIASTICAL INTELLIGENCE. PREFERMENTS. The Rev. J. C. Atkinson to the perpetual curacy of Danby, Yorkshire.
1849 December 11 : Marriage 1 1Newcastle Journal - 1849 December 15
MARRIAGES. At Scarborough, at Christ Church, on the 11th inst., by the Rev. Dr. Whiteside, Vicar, the Rev. J. C. Atkinson, Incumbent of Danby and Domestic Chaplain to the Viscount Downe, to Jane Hill, eldest daughter of John Hill Coulson, esq. of Scarborough.
1859 : Publication Walks, talks, travels and exploits of two schoolboys, London
[Link to the new edition of 1868 - Google Books.]
1860 : Publication Play-hours and Half-holidays, or further experiences of two schoolboys.
1860 April 2 : Death of wife 1Yorkshire Gazette - 1860 April 7
DEATHS. ATKINSON. - On the 2nd inst., at Danby Parsonage, after a very brief illness, aged 31, Jane Hill, the beloved wife of the Rev. J. C. Atkinson, and daughter of the late John Hill Coulson, Esq., of Scarboro'.
1861 : Publication British birds' eggs and nests, popularly described
This well-known book was re-printed many times, latterly with coloured illustrations. [Biodiversity Heritage Library]
1861 : Publication Sketches in Natural History, with an essay on reason and instinct
Link to Edward Newman's review of this and the previous volume in the Zoologist 19 [Google Books]
1862 February 1 : Marriage 2 1Sherbourne Mercury - 1862 February 11
MARRIAGES. February 1, at the parish church, Froome Selwood - by the Rev. E. H. Linzee, brother-in-law of the bridegroom, assisted by the Rev. Alfd. Daniel, the Rev. J. C. Atkinson, incumbent of Danby, Cleveland, Yorkshire, to Georgiana Mary, eldest daughter of Barlow Slade, Esq., of North House, Froome.
1863 : Publication Stanton Grange
Link to a review of this volume by John Ransen in Zoologist 22 [GoogleBooks]
1864 : Publication Lost
1868 : Publication Glossary of the Cleveland Dialect
[Google Books]
1874 : Publication History of Cleveland, vol i.
1882 : Publication Handbook for Ancient Whitby and its Abbey.
1883 July 9 : Death of wife 1Yorkshire Gazette - 1883 July 14
DEATHS. ATKINSON. - On the 9th inst., at Danby Parsonage, in the 52nd year of her age, Georgiana Mary, wife of the Rev. J. C. Atkinson, vicar of Danby.
1884 April 28 : Marriage 3 1Yorkshire Gazette - 1884 May 3
MARRIAGES. ATKINSON - BROWN. - On the 28th ult., at Arncliff Church, by the Rev. R. J. Steele, vicar of the parish, the Rev. J. C. Atkinson, vicar of Danby-in-Cleveland, to Helen Georgiana, eldest daughter of Douglas Brown, Q.C., of Arncliff Hall, Northallerton.
1887 June 21 : D.C.L. Durham 1Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - 1887 June 13
... At a Convocation to be held on the 21st inst. (Jubilee Day) the following honorary degrees will be confered ... D.C.L. - Rev. John Christopher Atkinson.
1891 : Publication Forty Years in a moorland parish [Internet Archive] link
1891 September : Canon of York Minster 1Morning Post - 1891 September 21
ECCLESIASTICAL INTELLIGENCE ... The Archbishop of York has collated the Rev. J. Christopher Atkinson, vicar of Danby, to the canonry and prebend of Holme, York Cathedral, vacant by the death of Canon London...
1900 March 31 : Death Obituary from the Whitby Gazette April 6. link

1 Transcription reproduced with kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive

Managed by Richard Middleton : last updated 2016 February 17