Agricultural Trust' was created, which is to be administered by a committee of nine persons, four nominated by the Royal Society, two by the Royal Agricultural Society, and one each by the Chemical and Linnean Societies, the ninth trustee being the owner of Rothamsted at the time (Journal Royal Agric. Soc. 1896, pp. 324-32).
The experiments which he was conducting at Rothamsted early brought Lawes into prominence. He joined the Royal Agricultural Society in 1846, and became one of its governing body on 22 May 1848, retaining his seat on the council for the unprecedented period of over fifty-two years. He became a vice-president in 1878, and a trustee in 1891, and was offered the presidency in 1893 (the year of the jubilee of the Rothamsted experiments), though he then felt unequal, through advancing years and increasing deafness, to accept the post. In 1854 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Societv, and received the society's royal medar(with Dr. Gilbert) in 1867. In 1894 he also received (again with Dr. Gilbert) the Albert gold medal of the Society of Arts. In 1877 he became LL.D. of Edinburgh, in 1892 D.C.L. of Oxford, and in 1894 Sc.D. of Cambridge, and on 19 May 1882 he was created a baronet.
Lawes acted on a great variety of commissions and committees, including the royal commission on the sewage of towns, and his advice was in constant demand on every variety of agricultural subjects. Rothamsted was for many years before his death a place of pilgrimage for men of science from all countries, students, farmers, and all interested in agricultural research. The earliest laboratory (an old barn) was replaced in 1855 by a new structure — still in use — which was erected by subscribers as a testimonial to Lawes's services in behalf of British agriculture ; it was presented to him with a silver candelabrum at a public meeting at Rothamsted on 19 July 1855 (Agric. Gazette, 21 July l855, p.491 : for Lawes's speech on that occasion see Journal R.A.S.E. 1900, p. 519).
In 1893, when the Rothamsted experiments had been conducted for a period of fifty years, Lawes was presented by public subscription with his portrait, by Mr. Hubert Herkomer, R.A., a huge monolithic boulder being at the same time set up in front of the laboratory, with an inscription that it was 'to commemorate the completion of fifty years of continuous experiments (the first of their kind) in agriculture conducted at Rothamsted by Sir John Bennet Lawes and Joseph Henry Gilbert, a.d. mdcccxciii.' Edward VII, then prince of Wales, placed himself at the head of the movement for commemorating the Rothamsted jubilee, and signed the address presented by the subscribers, which spoke of Lawes as 'one of the most disinterested as well as the most scientific of our public benefactors.' The portrait, granite memorial, and addresses from learned societies, both British and foreign, with which Lawes was connected, were presented at a public ceremonial at Rothamsted on 29 July 1893, over which Mr. Herbert Gardner, M.P. (afterwards Lord Burghclere), then minister for agriculture, presided.
Lawes was below the middle stature, and was careless in matters of dress ; but his rugged and striking face at once commanded attention, and his exposition of his experiments to an appreciative listener was most telling and instructive. He was fond of deer-stalking and salmon-fishing, and until 1895 went regularly to Scotland for purposes of sport, though his greatest enjoyment was in his farming experiments. He found time, however, to interest himself in a very practical manner in the welfare of the villagers and labourers at Harpenden, near Rothamsted, starting in 1852 allotment gardens for them, and increasing the number from time to time, so that they now number 334 (see 'Allotments and Small Holdings' in Journal R.A.S.E. 1892, pp. 451-2). From the beginning he gave prizes for the best gardens, and in 1857 he built for the allotment holders a clubhouse, managed entirely by themselves (ibid. 1877, pp. 387-393). Attempts at supplying the various wants of the labourers at wholesale prices, on a co-operative system, commenced in 1859, and Charles Dickens wrote for the first number of 'All the Year Round' (30 April 1859) an article entitled 'A Poor Man and his Beer,' in which the relations of Lawes (who is called in the article 'Friar Bacon') and his labourers are described. The Pig Club and the Flour Club, started by Lawes, and the Harpenden Labourers' Store Society (subsequently formed), failed after a time for want of support from the members, but the clubhouse still exists and is a permanent success. In 1856 Lawes started a savings bank, giving five per cent. interest on deposits ; and as he found after a time that if the bank were to prosper he must receive the money himself, it became his custom to spend an hour every Saturday evening in this work, which continued until the general introduction of post-office savings banks.Lawes died on 31 Aug. 1900, and was buried at Harpenden in the presence of a large and representative assemblage of agri-