Hampshire Worthies

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

Hampshire Worthies is a letter written by Arthur Conan Doyle first published in The Evening News (Portsmouth) on 2 august 1888.


Hampshire Worthies

Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle (4 august 1888)

Sir, — In your kind comments upon my statistical article in the Nineteenth Century you remark that it would be interesting to know the whole of the thirty-nine worthies who have contributed to raise Hampshire to the proud position of having bred more distinguished men in proportion to the population than any other English county. In any article, as my space was limited and my subjects enormous, I was compelled to condense my results, but I shall be happy to enumerate my Hampshire list in case it should be of interest to your readers.

The better known I mention in my article. Among them are George Meredith, the novelist; Millais, who was born in Southampton; Joseph Hatton, of Andover; W. N. Molesworth, the historian, and his brother, G. L. Molesworth, the engineer; Charles Dickens,Walter Besant, and Sarah Doudney, of Portsmouth; Vicat Cole, the artist; and Henry Blackburn, of "Passion Play" and "Academy Notes" celebrity. Among distinguished antiquarians and historians are the names of Sir Fred Madden, of Portsmouth; C. R. Smith, of the Isle of Wight; and S. R. Gardiner, of Ropley. Bishop Abraham is a Farnborough man, Bishop Wilberforce was born on the Island, Bishop Harper, of New Zealand, hailed from Gosport and Bishop Williams, of Quebec, was also of Hampshire birth. Shipley and the Rev. H. R. Reynolds, of Romsey, are well-known among theologians. Edward, the Scottish naturalist, whose life has been written by Smiles, was born at Gosport, and so was E. H. Hargrenves, the man who discovered gold in Australia, and who may therefore be said to have done more to develop the resources of the empire than almost any man who ever lived. Lord Cardigan, of the Light Brigade, and Cowper Coles, of the ill-fated Captain, were both Hampshire men. W. Harness, Charlotte Yonge, of Otterbourne, Henry Caswall, Rev. J. D. Smith, of Romsey, E. M. Sewell, of the Isle of Wight, Rev. denton and the Rev. Benham, of Westmeon, have all made their mark in different branches of literature. Sir A. Clarke, of Southsea, is a distinguished engineer, as Sir George Clerk is a diplomatist. Finally, there is, or was, the Hon. Sir J. Pearson in law, Sir J. R. Bennett in medicine, P. L. Sclater in zoology, Gregory, of Southampton, in art, and one or two others who complete the list.

Of course, as I explain in my article, the statistics are based entirely upon birth in the various counties, and have nothing to do with residence. The intellect of the nation gravitates naturally towards the Metropolis. I have simply endeavoured to show that Hampshire's contribution towards the list of distinguished Englishmen is one of which any Hamshire man has reason to be proud.

Yours faithfully,

Bush Villa.