Conybeare, John Josias (DNB00)

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CONYBEARE, JOHN JOSIAS (1779–1824), geologist and scholar, was the elder son of Dr. William Conybeare, the rector of Bishopsgate, who was the son of Bishop (John) Conybeare [q. v.] The younger son was William Daniel Conybeare [q. v.]

John Josias, born in 1779, entered Christ Church, Oxford, in 1797. He won the university Latin verse prize in 1800. In due course he became vicar of Batheaston, Somerset. From 1803 till his death he was prebendary of York. He was elected to the Anglo-Saxon professorship in 1808, and became the professor of poetry at Oxford in 1812. In 1824 he delivered the Bampton lectures, and published a volume on the ‘Interpretation of Scripture.’ His versatility was remarkable. Notwithstanding his strict attention to his clerical duties, he gave some time to chemistry, and in 1822–3 published a paper ‘On Greek Fire,’ another on ‘Plumbago found in Gas Retorts,’ and an examination of ‘Hatchettin, or Mineral Tallow, a Fossil Resin found in the Coal Measures of Glamorganshire.’ In 1817 he began to publish upon geology; his first paper being ‘Memoranda relative to Clovelly;’ his second, which appeared in the Geological Society's ‘Transactions,’ being ‘On the Porphyritic Veins (locally Elvans) of St. Agnes, Cornwall.’ In 1821 he published a memoir ‘On the Geology of the neighbourhood of Okehampton,’ in 1822 one ‘On the Geology of the Malvern Hills,’ in 1823 another ‘On the Geology of Devon and Cornwall,’ and in 1824 he was associated with Buckland in ‘Observations on the South-west Coal-field of England.’ In June 1824 he died. His devotion to the literature of the Anglo-Saxons was very earnest, and his taste in poetry most refined. In 1826, after his death, his brother, Dean Conybeare, edited and published ‘Illustrations of Anglo-Saxon Poetry, translated by the Vicar of Batheaston,’ which contains large portions of the ‘Song of the Traveller’ and ‘Beowulf.’

[Royal Society's Catalogue of Scientific Papers; Geological Society's Transactions; Thomson's Annals, 1821–2–3; Gent. Mag. 1824, ii. 187, 376, 482.]

R. H-t.