Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement/Bruce, John Collingwood
BRUCE, JOHN COLLINGWOOD (1805–1892), antiquary, born at Albion Place, Newcastle-on-Tyne, in 1805, was the eldest son of John Bruce of Newcastle. He was educated at the Percy Street Academy, a well-known school in Newcastle kept by his father, and afterwards at Mill Hill School, Middlesex. He entered Glasgow University in 1821, graduated M.A. in 1826, and became hon. LL.D. in 1853. In early life he studied for the presbyterian ministry, but never sought a 'call' from any congregation. In 1831 he began to assist in the management of his father's school, of which he became sole proprietor in 1834, when his father died, lie retired from the school, after a successful career, in 1863.
Bruce was an enthusiastic antiquary, and his work, though hardly that of a discoverer, was of a useful and stimulating kind. His best known books are 'The Roman Wall,' published in 1851, and 'The Wallet Book [in later editions 'The Handbook'] of the Roman Wall,' published in 1863. He acted as editor, from 1870 to 1875, of the 'Lapidarium Septentrionale,' issued by the Newcastle Society of Antiquaries. During forty years Bruce annually visited various parts of the Wall, and organised 'pilgrimages' thither in 1851 and 1886. He was aided in his researches by his friend John Clayton, F.S.A. Bruce was a secretary and vice-president of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle (elected 1846); fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, London (elected 1852); and corresponding member of the Royal Archæological Institute of Rome. He was also chairman of the Royal Infirmary, Newcastle, and organised a choir to visit its wards.
Bruce died, after a short illness, at his residence in Newcastle on 5 April 1892, and was buried in the old cemetery, Jesmond. Some of his maps and drawings were presented by his son in 1893 to the Newcastle Society of Antiquaries. A portrait of Bruce from a photograph is prefixed to the 'Hand- book of the Roman Wall' (4th edit. ; also in Arch. Æl., 1892, xv. 364).
Bruce married in 1833 Charlotte, daughter of T. Gainsford of Gerrard's Cross, Buckinghamshire, and had two sons and two daughters. The eldest son. Sir Gainsford Bruce, is now one of the judges of the high court of justice.
Bruce was a frequent contributor to the 'Archæologia Æliana' and to similar periodicals. Among his separately published works may be mentioned: 1. 'The Handbook of English History,' 1848, 12mo; 3rd edit. 1857. 2. 'The Roman Wall,' Newcastle-on-Tyne, 1851, 4to; 2nd edit., enlarged, 1853; 3rd edit. 1867. 3. 'The Bayeux Tapestry,' 1856. 4. 'The Wallet Book of the Roman Wall,' 1863, 8vo ; 4th edit, (the 'Handbook'), 1895.
[Archæologia Æliana, 1892, xv. 364 f. (Hodgkin) ; Proceedings of Soc. of Antiquaries, London, 23 April 1892, p. 132 (Evans) ; Athenæum, 9 April 1892, p. 475; Brit. Mus. Cat.]