Wisbech: Worthies

Pages 269-270

A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 4, City of Ely; Ely, N. and S. Witchford and Wisbech Hundreds. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2002.

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The most famous native of Wisbech is Thomas Clarkson (1760-1846), the slavery abolitionist. (fn. 1) Others include Richard Huloet (fl. 1552), lexicographer, (fn. 2) John Crane (1572-1652), apothecary, a great benefactor to the town; William Godwin the elder (1756-1836), author of Political Justice, and father of Mary Wollstonecraft, Shelley's wife; James Pegge (fl. 1832-46), the first Baptist missionary to India; and Octavia Hill (1838-1912), the housing reformer and philanthropist. (fn. 3) Other notable men and women connected with the town are Jane Stuart (d. 1745), said to have been a natural daughter of James II, who sought refuge at Wisbech after her father's downfall, earned a living as a worsted spinner and became a Quaker; (fn. 4) Henry Banyer (fl. 1739), medical writer, who practised in the town; and Richard Wright (1764-1836), Unitarian missionary, minister of the Particular Baptists from about 1790 to 1810. The vicars of Wisbech include John Warkworth (d. 1500), Master of Peterhouse and reputed author of a chronicle of the reign of Edward IV, John Saul Howson (1816-85), Dean of Chester, and John Scott, brother of Sir Gilbert Scott the architect.


  • 1. A biography by E. L. Griggs (1936).
  • 2. D.N.B. All references in this section are to this source, unless otherwise stated.
  • 3. A biography by E. Moberly Bell (1942).
  • 4. Fenland N. & Q. ii, 178-80.