Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Tregelles, Edwin Octavius

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TREGELLES, EDWIN OCTAVIUS (1806–1886), civil engineer and quaker minister, seventeenth and youngest child of Samuel Tregelles (1765–1831), by his wife Rebecca, daughter of Thomas Smith, a London banker, was born at Falmouth on 19 Oct. 1806. Leaving school at thirteen, he went to learn engineering at the Neath Abbey ironworks of his uncle, Peter Price, in South Wales. For some years after his marriage, in 1832, he was employed in superintending the introduction of lighting by gas into many towns in the south of England.

In 1835 Tregelles was appointed engineer of the Southampton and Salisbury railway, and was later engaged in surveying for the West Cornwall railway. He published in 1849 reports on the water supply and sewerage of Barnstaple and Bideford. He was elected a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers on 5 March 1850, and resigned in 1861.

When only twenty-one Tregelles began to preach, and thenceforward in the intervals of professional engagements made several ministerial journeys. In 1844, during a long visit to the West Indies, he visited, in spite of a severe attack of yellow fever, every island but Cuba and Porto Rico. Not long after he went to Denmark, Sweden, and Norway to visit Friends there, and in April 1855 was occupied in relieving distress in the Hebrides, concerning which he published a small volume at Newcastle in 1855.

Tregelles lived at Torquay, Falmouth, Frenchay, and, after his second marriage in 1850 to Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Richardson of Sunderland, at Derwent Hill, Shotley Bridge, Durham, where he acquired land, upon which he worked a colliery. His addresses to navvies and railway men, among whom his profession led him, were powerful and efficacious. He was a member of the council of the United Kingdom Alliance, and a warm supporter of local option.

He died at his daughter's house at Banbury on 16 Sept. 1886. By his first wife, Jenepher Fisher, an Irishwoman, who died in 1844, Tregelles had a son Arthur, besides his two daughters. By his second wife, Elizabeth, who died on 3 March 1878, he had no issue.

His ‘Diary’ for fifty-five years, edited by his daughter, Mrs. Hingston Fox, London, 1892, throws abundant light on quaker society of the century.

[Life, by his daughter, 1892; Boase and Courtney's Bibl. Corn. ii. 753; Minutes of Proc. Inst. C. E. ix. 232, xxi. 148; Annual Monitor, 1887, pp. 183–9.]

C. F. S.