Wigg, Lilly (DNB00)

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WIGG, LILLY (1749–1828), botanist, was born at Smallburgh, Norfolk, on 25 Dec. 1749, being the son of a poor shoemaker in that village. He received a good village education, and was brought up to his father's trade, but removed to Yarmouth before he was twenty, where until 1801 he kept a small school in Fighting-cock Row. He acquired some knowledge of Latin, Greek, and French, was a skilled arithmetician, and wrote a beautifully neat ‘copperplate’ hand; while his love of botany and skill as a collector procured him the acquaintance of Dr. John Aikin, Thomas Jenkinson Woodward, Sir James Edward Smith, and Dawson Turner. He was chiefly devoted to the study of algæ, in which he seems to have initiated Dawson Turner. In 1801 Turner engaged him as a subordinate clerk in Messrs. Gurneys & Turner's bank at Yarmouth, a position which he occupied for the rest of his life. For nearly twenty years Wigg was collecting material for a history of esculent plants, some of which exists in manuscript in the botanical department of the British Museum, while a manuscript ‘Flora Cibaria,’ consisting of extracts from books of travel, with a pencil sketch of the compiler taken by Mrs. Dawson Turner in 1804, is at Kew. Wigg also studied the birds and fishes of the Norfolk coast. He was elected an associate of the Linnean Society as early as 1790. Smith acknowledges contributions from him to 'English Botany,' styling him 'a most ingenious and accurate observer … eminently skilful in detecting, as well as in preserving, specimens of marine algæ;' and Dawson Turner named after him Fucus (now Naccaria) Wigghii. Wigg died at Great Yarmouth on 28 March 1828.

[Memoir by H. G. Glasspoole in the Transactions of the Norfolk Naturalists' Society, ii. 269-74; Gent. Mag. 1830, vol. i.]

G. S. B.