John Wordsworth


Wordsworth. Click for enlarged image1805-1839.  Classical scholar; priest. Son of Bishop Christopher Wordsworth, Master, and nephew of the poet William Wordsworth.  Fellow; Tutor; Junior Bursar.  Holder of the Chancellor’s Medal for Heroic English Verse.

John Wordsworth was born at Lambeth and educated at Winchester College before coming to Trinity; here he was elected to a scholarship and won the Porson prize in 1826. Although distaste for mathematics disqualified him from classical honours when he proceeded BA in 1828, he secured election to a fellowship at Trinity in 1830, proceeding MA in 1831. Between 1830 and 1833 he resided in Cambridge, and contributed a notable review of James Scholefeld's Aeschylus to the first number of the Philological Museum. In 1833 he made a long visit, by way of France and Switzerland, to Italy, where he collated the Medicean manuscript of Aeschylus at Florence with a view to a new edition. Some of this work was used by John Conington in his edition of the Choëphoroe (1857). On returning to Cambridge he took up the duties of an assistant tutor at Trinity, giving lectures that were noted for their diligence and erudition. He also began work on an edition of the correspondence of Richard Bentley correspondence which was later completed by his brother Christopher, and made large collections for a classical dictionary.

In 1837 Wordsworth was ordained deacon and priest by the bishop of Ely, but his health began to fail, and he was obliged to resign his lectureship and to withdraw as a candidate for the headmastership of King Edward's School, Birmingham. He remained in Cambridge, where he died, unmarried, on 31 December 1839; he was buried on 6 January 1840 in the antechapel of Trinity, where a monument was erected to his memory by subscription, with a bust executed by Weekes under Chantrey's supervision.


Tombstone inscription Translation


H. WEEKES SC. 1840

John Wordsworth died on 31st December 1839 at the age of thirty-four.

Bust carved by Henry Weekes, 1840.

John Wordsworth Wordsworth tomb.  Click for enlarged view

Buried in the Ante-Chapel.
Bust on the north wall of the Ante-Chapel.



John Wilson


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