Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hibbert-Ware, Samuel

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HIBBERT-WARE, SAMUEL (1782–1848), antiquary and geologist, eldest son of Samuel Hibbert, linen yarn merchant, of Manchester, and Sarah, daughter of Robert Ware of Dublin, was born in St. Ann's Square, Manchester, on 21 April 1782. He was educated at a private school and at the Manchester academy under Dr. Barnes. He had little taste for his father's business, and turned his attention to literary pursuits, writing verses in the ‘European’ and ‘Monthly’ magazines, prologues for the Manchester theatres, and election squibs for his friend Colonel Hanson. His first separate publication was an anonymous pamphlet entitled ‘Remarks on the Facility of Obtaining Commercial Credit,’ 1806, 8vo, pp. 54, followed by some doggerel verses on ‘The Ancient Ballad of Tarquin,’ 1808. From 1809 to 1813 he held a lieutenant's commission in the 1st royal Lancashire militia. After his father's death in 1815 he went to Edinburgh, and took the degree of M.D. at the university, but never practised. His dissertation entitled ‘De Vita Humana’ was dated 1817. He resided there many years, enjoying the friendship of Sir Walter Scott, Sir David Brewster, and others, and taking part in the work of the learned societies there. He had already, in 1805, been elected a member of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society, and contributed papers to its meetings. His first paper was on the ‘Early Importance and Influence of Music and Poetry.’ In 1817 he made a voyage to Shetland, where he discovered chromate of iron in large masses. He made a second voyage there in the following year, chiefly at Professor Jameson's instigation, with a view to rendering his discovery of public benefit and of completing his geological survey of the country. For this discovery the Society of Arts awarded him in 1820 the Iris gold medal. In Shetland he also discovered the native hydrate of magnesia. In 1822 he published in 4to at Edinburgh his important volume ‘A Description of the Shetland Islands, comprising an Account of their Geology, Scenery, Antiquities, and Superstitions.’ To the same date belongs a curious memoir, ‘Illustrations of the Customs of a Manor in the North of England [i.e. Ashton-under-Lyne] during the Fifteenth Century, with Occasional Remarks on their Resemblance to the Incidents of Ancient Scottish Tenures.’ A ‘Memoir on the Tings of Orkney and Shetland’ was written in 1823. These and other papers were contributed to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, of which he was secretary from 1823 to 1827. A paper on ‘Spectral Illusions,’ read by him before the Royal Society of Edinburgh, gave rise to his ‘Sketches of the Philosophy of Apparitions, or an Attempt to Trace such Illusions to their Physical Causes,’ 1824; second edition 1825; the scope of the work is illustrated in the ‘Noctes Ambrosianæ’ for March 1825. An anonymous reply to Hibbert's theory of apparitions, under the title of ‘Past Feelings Renovated,’ was published in a thick 12mo vol. in 1828. In 1824, at the request of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society, he delivered at Manchester a course of lectures on geology, and in 1827 a further course under the auspices of the Manchester Royal Institution.

He spent two or three years with his family on the continent, chiefly in examining the volcanic districts of France and Italy and the northern parts of Germany. On his return to Edinburgh he embodied the result of a portion of his observations in his ‘History of the Extinct Volcanoes of the Basin of Neuwied on the Lower Rhine,’ 1832, 8vo. His scattered geological and antiquarian essays include papers on the ‘Vitrified Forts of Scotland,’ ‘Fossil Elk in the Isle of Man and elsewhere,’ and an important ‘Memoir on the Fresh Water Limestone of Burdiehouse in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh,’ 1835.

In 1830 was published his ‘History of the Collegiate Church of Manchester,’ forming the major part of the ‘History of the Foundations in Manchester’ (3 vols. 4to, 1833–4), and still the most important contribution to the annals of his native city.

He left Edinburgh in 1835, and after living for a time at York finally settled down at a small paternal estate at Hale Barns, near Altrincham, Cheshire. In 1837 he assumed by royal license the surname and arms of Ware, as representative of Sir James Ware, the historian of Ireland. He was a member of the first council of the Chetham Society, and edited one of its early volumes ‘Lancashire Memorials of the Rebellion in 1715,’ 1845, 4to. His last work was ‘The Ancient Parish Church of Manchester and Why it was Collegiated,’ 1848, 4to. The manuscript of the concluding portion of this work was lost after his death.

Hibbert-Ware died at Hale Barns on 30 Dec. 1848 of bronchitis, from which he had suffered for several years. He was buried at Ardwick cemetery, Manchester.

He married three times. First, on 23 July 1803, Sarah, daughter of Thomas Crompton of Bridge Hall, Bury, Lancashire; she died in 1822. Secondly, on 8 Jan. 1825, Charlotte Wilhelmina, widow of William Scott, receiver of customs in the Isle of Man, and daughter of Lord Henry Murray. She accompanied him on many of his tours in Scotland and on the continent, and executed drawings for his papers. One series of drawings of Scottish sculptured stones and runic inscriptions remains unpublished. She died in 1835. His third wife was Elizabeth Lefroy, daughter of Captain Anthony Lefroy, whom he married in 1842.

He had three children by his first wife and three by his second. His eldest son, Titus Herbert (1810–1890), was called to the bar at the Middle Temple in 1844, and published ‘Precedents of Conveyances,’ 1846. His second son, Dr. William Hibbert, surgeon in the second queen's royals, met with a tragic death in Afghanistan in 1839.

[The Life and Correspondence of Dr. Samuel Hibbert-Ware, by Mrs. Hibbert-Ware (wife of his eldest son), 1882; Palatine Note-book, i. 37, 172, 217; Manchester Guardian, 3 Jan. 1849; Royal Society's Cat. of Scientific Papers, iii. 346; Baker's Memorials of a Dissenting Chapel, p. 103.]

C. W. S.