Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Trevelyan, Walter Calverley
TREVELYAN, Sir WALTER CALVERLEY (1797–1879), naturalist, born in 1797, was the eldest son of Sir John Trevelyan, fifth baronet, of Nettlecombe, Somerset, by his wife Maria, daughter of Sir Thomas Spencer Wilson of Charlton, Kent. The family is Cornish, deriving its name from Tre-Velian or Trevelyan, near Fowey. The baronetage dates from 24 Jan. 1661–2. Walter Calverley Trevelyan was educated at Harrow. He matriculated from University College, Oxford, on 26 April 1816, graduating B.A. in 1820 and M.A. in 1822. In the former year he proceeded to Edinburgh to continue the scientific studies which he had begun at Oxford. In 1821 he visited the Faroe Islands, and published in the ‘New Philosophical Journal’ (1835, vol. xviii.) an account of his observations, which he reprinted in 1837 for private circulation. Between 1835 and 1846 he travelled much in the south of Europe, but in the latter year succeeded to the title and family estates in Somerset, Devon, Cornwall, and Northumberland. These were greatly improved during his tenure, for he was a generous landlord and a public-spirited agriculturist, much noted for his herd of short-horned cattle.
He was elected a fellow of the Geological Society in 1817, and was also a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and of the Society of Antiquaries. For some years he was president of the United Kingdom Alliance. Botany and geology were his favourite sciences, but he had also an excellent knowledge of antiquities, and was a liberal supporter of all efforts for the augmentation of knowledge, among others of the erection of the museum buildings at Oxford. He was a liberal patron of the fine arts, and formed at Wallington a good collection of curious books and of specimens illustrative of natural history and ethnology. In conjunction with his cousin, Sir Charles Edward Trevelyan [q. v.], he edited the ‘Trevelyan Papers’ (Camden Soc. 1856, 1862, 1872), to the third part of which a valuable introductory notice is prefixed. He published, according to the Royal Society's catalogue, fifteen papers on scientific subjects, the majority dealing with geological topics in the north of England.
He died at Wallington on 23 March 1879. He was twice married: first, on 21 May 1835, to Paulina, daughter of the Rev. Dr. Jermyn, who died on 13 May 1866; secondly, on 11 July 1867, to Laura Capel, daughter of Capel Lofft, Esq., of Troston Hall, Suffolk. As both marriages were childless, the title descended to his nephew, Sir Alfred Wilson Trevelyan (1831–1891), seventh baronet, but he left the north-country property to his cousin, Sir Charles Edward Trevelyan.
A medallion head is introduced into the decorations of the hall at Wallington; a portrait in oils, painted by an Italian artist about 1845, is at Nettlecombe, and a small watercolour (by Millais) is in the possession of the widow of Sir A. W. Trevelyan.[Times 27 March 1879; Quart. Jour. Geol. Soc. 1880 (Proc. p. 36); Proc. Roy. Soc. Edinb. x. 354; Trevelyan Papers, pt. iii. introduction; Calverley's Diary (Surtees Soc.); information from Lady Trevelyan and Sir G. O. Trevelyan.]