Burgess, Joseph Tom (DNB01)

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BURGESS, JOSEPH TOM (1828–1886), antiquary, born at Cheshunt in Hertfordshire on 17 Feb. 1828, was the son of a bookseller at Hinckley, by his wife, a native of Leicestershire. He was educated at Hinckley at the school of Joseph Dare, and subsequently at the school of C. C. Nutter, the unitarian minister. While very young he became local correspondent of the 'Leicestershire Mercury,' and for a short time was in a solicitor's office in Northampton, but in 1843 he was engaged as reporter on the staff of the 'Leicester Journal,' and retained the post for eighteen months. At the end of that time he became a wood engraver at Northampton, and for some years divided his attention between landscape painting, wood engraving, literature, and journalism. In 1848 he went to London, but returned to Northampton in 1850 to study the arts.

He had attained some proficiency as a landscape painter when he agreed to accompany Dr. David Alfred Doudney [q.v. Suppl.] to Ireland to found a printing school at Bonmahon. Subsequently, after a hasty marriage, he became editor of the 'Clare Journal' for six years, distinguishing himself as a champion of industrial progress. He also collected materials for a county history, with the title 'Land of the Dalcassians,' but, though well subscribed for, the legendary part only was published, and was speedily out of print.

In 1857 he removed to Bury, where he undertook the editorship of the 'Bury Guardian.' Six years later he removed to Swindon and became editor of the 'North Wilts Herald.' The 'Herald' came to an end in the following year, and Burgess, who had suffered serious pecuniary loss, removed to Leamington in April 1865, where for thirteen years he was editor of the 'Leamington Courier.' In 1878 he accepted a more lucrative appointment as editor of 'Burrows's Worcester Journal,' and of the 'Worcester Daily Times.' Five years later, on the failure of his health, he removed to London, where he spent three years, chiefly in researches at the British Museum. He died in the Warneford Hospital, while on a visit to Leamington, on 4 Oct. 1886. On 1 June 1876 he was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He was twice married, his second wife being Emma Daniell of Uppingham, whom he married in 1863.

Among other works Burgess was the author of:

  1. 'Life Scenes and Social Sketches,' London, 1862, 8vo.
  2. 'Angling: a Practical Guide to Bottom-fishing, Trolling, &c.,' London, 1867, 8vo; revised by Mr. Robert Bright Marston, 1895.
  3. 'Old English Wild Flowers,' London, 1868, 8vo.
  4. 'Harry Hope's Holidays,' London, 1871, 8vo.
  5. 'The Last Battle of the Roses,' Leamington, 1872, 4to.
  6. 'Historic Warwickshire,' London, 1876, 8vo; 2nd edit., with memoir by Joseph Hill, Birmingham, 1892-1893, 8vo.
  7. 'Dominoes, and how to play them,' London, 1877, 8vo.
  8. 'A Handbook to Worcester Cathedral,' London, 1884, 16mo.
  9. 'Knots, Ties, and Splices: a Handbook for Seafarers,' London, 1884, 8vo.

[Memoir prefixed to Historic Warwickshire, 1892; Leamington Spa Courier, 9 Oct. 1886.]

E. I. C.