Vincent, James Edmund (DNB12)

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VINCENT, JAMES EDMUND (1857–1909), journalist and author, born on 17 Nov. 1857 at St. Anne's, Bethesda, was eldest son of James Crawley Vincent, then incumbent there, by his wife Grace, daughter of William Johnson, rector of Llanfaethu, Anglesey. His grandfather, James Vincent Vincent, was dean of Bangor (1862–76). The father's devoted service as vicar of Carnarvon during the cholera epidemic of 1867 caused his death. James Edmund was elected to scholarships both at Eton and Winchester, 1870, but went to Winchester. In 1876 he won a junior studentship at Christchurch, Oxford, matriculating on 13 Oct. He gained a second class in classical moderations in 1878 and a third class in the final classical school in 1880, when he graduated B.A. Entering at the Inner Temple on 13 April 1881, he was called to the bar on 26 Jan. 1884. He went the North Wales circuit, and was also a reporter for the 'Law Times' in the bankruptcy department of the queen's bench division from 1884 to 1889. In 1890 he was appointed chancellor of the diocese of Bangor.

But Vincent had already begun to devote more attention to journalism than law. He joined the staff of 'The Times' in 1886, and for the greater part of his life was the principal descriptive reporter of the paper. In 1901, as special correspondent, he accompanied King George V, then duke of Cornwall and York, on his colonial tour; and later wrote on motoring. From 1894 to 1897 he edited the 'National Observer,' after W. E. Henley's retirement, and from 1897 to 1901 'Country Life.'

Vincent did much work outside newspapers. He contributed occasionally to the 'Quarterly Review' and the ’Cornhill.' In 1885 he collaborated with Mr. Montague Shearman in a volume on 'Football' in the 'Historical Sporting' series; in 1887 he published 'Tenancy in Wales'; and in 1896, in 'The Land Question in North Wales,' defined the landowners' point of view. But his best hterary work was in biography and topography. His 'Life of the Duke of Clarence,' 1893, was written by authority. 'From Cradle to Crown' (1902) was a profusely illustrated popular account of the life of King Edward VII; it was reissued in 1910 as 'The Life of Edward the Seventh.' Other biographical studies were 'John Nixon, Pioneer of the Steam Coal Trade in South Wales' (1900); and 'The Memories of Sir Llewelyn Turner' (1903), his father's friend and co-worker in North Wales. Vincent bought Lime Close, Drayton, a house near Abingdon, and became interested in the district. In 1906 he wrote 'Highways and Byways in Berkshire,' as well as the historical surveys in W. T. Pike's 'Berks, Bucks, and Bedfordshire in the Twentieth Century' (1907) and 'Hertfordshire in the Twentieth Century' (1908). He was at work upon his 'Story of the Thames' (1909) at his death. 'Through East Anglia in a Motor-Car' (1907) was a vivacious record of travel. Vincent died of pleurisy at a nursing home in London on 18 July 1909, and was buried in Brookwood cemetery. A brass memorial tablet, with Latin inscription, was placed in Bangor Cathedral on St. Thomas's Day, 1910.

Vincent married on 12 Aug. 1884 Mary Alexandra, second daughter of Silas Kemball Cook, governor of the Seamen's Hospital, Greenwich, who survived him with two daughters.

[The Times, 19, 22 July, 23 Aug. 1909; N. Wales Chron. 23 July 1909, 23 Dec. 1900; Wainewright's Winchester Reg.; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Brit. Mus. Cat.; private information; Cornhill, Sept. 1909 (Winchester in the Seventies, by J. E. Vincent), and Wykehamist, 21 Dec. 1909.]

G. Le G. N.