Gurney, Daniel (DNB00)

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GURNEY, DANIEL (1791–1880), banker and antiquary, was born at Earlham Hall, near Norwich, on 9 March 1791. He was youngest son of John Gurney (d. 1809) of Earlham, Norfolk, and brother of Mrs. Elizabeth Fry, the philanthropist, and of Joseph John and Samuel Gurney, who are separately noticed. His mother, Catherine, daughter of Daniel Bell, died in 1792. He descended from the ancient family of Gurney or Gournay, a younger branch of which held certain manors in Norfolk (temp. Henry II). Daniel was a direct descendant of this branch of the family. After completing his education Gurney entered the Norwich firm of Gurney & Co., of which he was afterwards the head, and for more than sixty years a partner. He wrote several essays on banking, which were printed for private circulation only. As the head of one of the first banks in the provinces he had much influence, both socially and politically. His amiability, courtesy, and generosity greatly endeared him to his contemporaries. Gurney was mainly instrumental in establishing the West Norfolk and Lynn Hospital.

One of Gurney's favourite pursuits was archæology, and he was a prominent fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He took great interest in genealogy. In 1848 he printed in two volumes for private circulation an elaborate work entitled ‘The Record of the House of Gournay,’ to which he afterwards (1858) added a supplement. This book is highly valued for its varied antiquarian information and research. Gurney, who was a conservative in politics, was a justice of the peace and deputy-lieutenant for the county of Norfolk, and filled the office of high sheriff in 1853. He married in 1822 the Lady Harriet Jemima Hay, daughter of William, fifteenth earl of Erroll, by whom he had a numerous issue; she died in 1837. Gurney himself died, 14 June 1880, at his seat near North Runcton, Norfolk.

[Times, 17 June, Lynn Advertiser, 19 June, and Norwich Mercury, 25 June 1880.]

G. B. S.