Worth, Richard Nicholls (DNB00)

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WORTH, RICHARD NICHOLLS (1837−1896), miscellaneous writer and geologist, was the eldest son of Richard Worth, a builder of Devonport, by his wife Eliza, daughter of Richard Nicholls of the same place. He was born on 19 July 1837, and apprenticed in 1851 at the Devonport and Plymouth ‘Telegraph,’ becoming a member of the staff in 1858. In 1863 he joined the ‘Western Morning News,’ remaining with it till 1865. In 1866 and the following year he lived at Newcastle-on-Tyne as editor of the ‘Northern Daily Express,’ but, finding the climate too trying, rejoined the staff of the ‘Western Morning News’ in 1867. In 1877 he became associated with Messrs. Brendon & Son, printers and publishers, of Plymouth, receiving a testimonial of plate by public subscription in Devon and Cornwall for his services as a journalist. In this business he remained till his death, though he continued to contribute occasionally, not only to the local press but also to ‘Nature,’ the ‘Academy,’ and other periodicals.

Worth was a diligent student, and devoted all his spare time to investigating the history and geology of the west of England. Patient and exact, dreading hasty theorising, he was one of that indefatigable band of workers who have done so much for the history, archaeology, and geology of Devon and Cornwall. Altogether Worth published about 140 papers between 1869 and his death, mostly historical, and in the proceedings of local societies; some of the scientific papers appeared in the ‘Quarterly Journal’ of the Geological Society of London, of which he became a fellow in 1875. Besides a series of guide-books and several smaller works, he was the author of: 1. ‘History of the Town and Borough of Devonport,’ Plymouth, 1870, 8vo. 2. ‘History of Plymouth,’ Plymouth, 1871, 8vo; 2nd edit. 1873; 3rd edit. 1890. 3. ‘The Three Towns Bibliotheca’ [for Plymouth, Devonport, and Stonehouse], 1871, 8vo. 4. ‘The West Country Garland, selected from the Writings of the Poets of Devon and Cornwall,’ Plymouth, 1878, 8vo.

He was twice president of the Plymouth Association, and in 1891 of the Devonshire Association. A true son of the west, he loved its two great counties, and no stranger interested in their history or geology ever sought Worth's help in vain. He died suddenly at Shaugh Prior, where he was temporarily resident, on 3 July 1896, and was buried in the village churchyard. He married, 22 March 1860, at Stoke Damerel, Devonshire, Lydia Amelia, daughter of Richard Davies of the Dockyard, Devonport. One son and one daughter survived him.

A portrait in oils, painted by Lane in 1873, is in possession of the family.

[Obituary notice Quart. Jour. Geol. Soc. 1897, Proc. lxii; Trans. Devonshire Assoc. xxviii. (1896), p. 52; Trans. Plymouth Institution and Devon and Cornwall Nat. Hist. Soc. 1895−6; Bibliotheca Cornubiensis, ii. 907; Collectanea Cornubiensia, p. 1295; information from his son, R. G. Hansford Worth, esq.]

T. G. B.