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Notcutt, William Lowndes (1819 - 1868)

Biographical notes

William Lowndes Notcutt was the eldest son of Rev William Notcutt, a member of a noted Suffolk dissenting family. His interest in botany seems to have come from his father (vide Kent & Allen, 1984). Although initially established as a bookseller in Daventry, Northants, in the early 1840s he trained as a chemist and v. 2 of the Pharmaceutical Journal and Transactions (1842-3) lists William Notcutt among it's associates as residing in Southampton with Mr Randall. (p209). At that time Edward Mayor Randall (1794- 1867) was a manufacturing chemist and druggist with outlets in Southampton and Fareham, who supplied mineral waters and medicinal plant extracts. E M Randall was also a protestant dissenter and a member of the Southampton branch committee of the British and Foreign Bible Society.
William Notcutt is best known for his botanical and microscopical interests but it is clear from his lecturing that his scientific interests were wider. When his daughter Annie married in 1886 she described her late father's occupation as "Science Teacher." As a member of the Botanical Society of London from 1846 onward, his specimens found their way into many herbaria and he is credited with plant records by H C Watson in Cybele Britannica. His main herbarium seems to have passed to Charles Bailey (now in MANC).


1819 April 19 Birth Wilbarston, Northants.
1841 Census - Daventry, Northants
1842 Fareham, Hants.
1845 November Fareham, Hants.
1848 Fakenham, Norfolk
1851 Census - Fakenham, Norfolk
1854 Kettering, Northants.
1858 Cheltenham, Gloucester.
1861 Census - Cheltenham, Gloucester.
1868 September 15 Died Cheltenham, Gloucester.


Additional links

Annotated Notcutt family tree link
Chronological table of Notcutt's herbarium specimens catalogued by the Herbaria@home project link
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1819 April 19 : Birth Dr Williams' Library Register, Protestant Dissenters birth certificates
Birth of William Lowndes Notcutt at Wilbarston, Nothamptonshire, son of William Notcutt and Elizabeth Hannah, daughter of John and Suzannah Talbot. Witnesses Mary Arking and Ann Bullock. Registered 1826 January 4.
1842 November 21 : Phytologist The Phytologist 1842. v1 part 3. 429. - 241. On the discovery of Statice tatarica, near Portsmouth
[Google Books]
1843 June 2 : Phytologist The Phytologist 1842. v1 part 3. 647-648. - 324. On the arrangement of a herbarium
[Google Books]
1844 October 12 : Phytologist The Phytologist 1845 v2 201-216: Catalogue of plants observed in the neighbourhood of Fareham, Hants.
[Google Books]
1846 January 6 : Marriage ¹Hampshire Telegraph - 1846 January 10
MARRIED. On the 6th instant, by the father of the bride, at the Independent Chapel, Fareham, Hants, Mr. William Lowndes Notcutt, of Fakenham, Norfolk, son of the Rev. William Notcutt, of Ipswich, to Miss Sarah Varty, only daughter of the Rev. John Varty, of Fareham.
1850 : Publication The geography of plants.
This was issued as volume 52 of the Religious Tract Society's "Monthly Series" which sold for 6d.
1854 : Lecture ¹Northampton Mercury - 1854 December 9
KETTERING. MUTUAL IMPROVEMENT SOCIETY. - On Tuesday evening last, Mr. W. L. Notcutt, of this town, chemist, delivered the concluding part of a very interesting and instructive lecture on "Nineveh," which he commenced a fortnight ago, in the large Hall of the Corn Exchange. …
1856 : Lecture ¹Northampton Mercury - 1856 April 12
KETTERING … On Tuesday evening last Mr. Notcutt, chemist, delivered a lecture in the Corn Exchange, on Geology. The large room was not crowded, but there was a respectable auditory, who appeared gratified with the matter and manner in which the lecturer treated his subject.
1859 : Publication A handbook of the microscope and microscopic objects.
[Google Books]
1861 May 6 : Arsenic ¹Cheltenham Chronicle - 1861 May 7
To the Editor of the Cheltenham Chronicle
SIR, - My attention having been called to a recent report in your paper of a Mr. Snders's evidence on the adjourned inquest at the Workhouse, in which he states that the arsenic obtained by him (as stated at his first examination) was probably contained in sulphuric acid putchased of me, I trust you will give me space in your next publication to correct a mistake he seems to have made. The only time at which Mr. Sanders ever purchased sulphuric acid of me was subsequently to the first inquest, and therefore it could not have been that on which he founded his suspicion, but must have been some obtained from another quarter. The sulphuric acid which I supplied to Mr Sanderson after the inquest has been tested by myself as well as by a medical gentleman, and is absolutely pure and free from every trace of arsenic. Trusting you will do me the justice to insert this explanation, I am, your obedient Servant, W. L. NOTCUTT. 399, High-street, Cheltenham, May 6th, 1861.
1862 : Mosses Th National Museum and Galleries of Northern Ireland, Belfast (BEL) have two bound volumes of mosses collected by WLN in the Cheltenham area around 1862.
1865 : Publication A handbook of British plants, designed especially for schools, science classes, and Excursionists. Longman, Green, & Co., London.
"This handbook, which has evidently been carefully prepared, will be found most useful to those who wish to become acquainted with our British plants, of which there appears to be an endless variety. The Introduction contains some valuable hints as to the classification of plants, the way of examining and drying them, etc. We commend the volume especially to our youthful readers."
- Brief notices of books, Evangelical Magazine and Missionary Chronicle, October 1865, p670.
[Google Books]
1868 September 15 : Death ¹Western Daily Press - 1868 September 21
DEATHS. On the 15th inst., at Cheltenham, Mr WILLIAM L. NOTCUTT, for some years the conductor of the Natural Science Classes in the above town.

1 Transcription reproduced with kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive

Managed by Richard Middleton : last updated 2017 May 30