William Harrison 1802-1884

William HarrisonWILLIAM HARRISON was born at Salford on the 11th of December, 1802, and died at his residence, Rockmount, German, on the 2nd of November, 1884. During his earlier years he was engaged in mercantile pursuits, in the course of which he travelled through a large portion of Southern Africa. In 1842, he retired from business, and came to reside in the Isle of Mann. He was a member of the old House of Keys from 1856 till its dissolution in 1867, and was made a Magistrate in 1872. He was one of the Council of "The Manx Society" from its foundation, and edited no less than fifteen of the thirty-one volumes issued by that body Among the most valuable of these are the three volumes of Miscellanies and "The Biographical Account of Works relating to the Isle of Mann." A zealous and painstaking antiquarian, William Harrison will be remembered as having rescued many of our insular ballads, customs, superstitions, and legendary lore from an undeserved oblivion.

taken from Manx Note Book vol 1 p27

The brief biography in JMM gives a little more information:

WILLIAM HARRISON was born at Salford on the 11th December, 1802. On both his father's and his mother's sides he came of distinguished ancestry. His father was Isaac Harrison, a merchant of Salford, and his mother Mary Petty, daughter of Squire Wovenden of Batley. His wife was Mary Sefton, daughter of Thomas and Sofia Harrop Beck, of Upton Priory, near Macclesfield. During his earlier years he was engaged in a merchant shipping business in Manchester. Before his marriage he undertook a journey to South Africa, travelling far into the interior, and taking over a year from the time he left England until his return to Manchester on 15th July, 1831. He wrote a most interesting diary of his experiences, which is now in the possession of his grandson, Lieut. B. H. Harrison, D.S.O., R.N.R. One of the objects of the journey was to see his old school friend, Dr. Moffatt, the great African missionary.

In 1842 Harrison retired from business and came to reside in the Isle of Man. He was a member of the old House of Keys from 1856 until its dissolution in 1867, was Captain of the Parish of German, and became a magistrate in 1872. He was also a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London.

He died at his residence, Rockmount, Kirk German, on 22 November, 1884, in his eighty-second year, and lies buried in Peel Cemetery.

A description has also been left by Henry Cadman, whose brother later married Harrison's daughter.


William Harrison: Scholar and Antiquary Journal Manx Museum iv #57 pp83/4 Dec 1938

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© F.Coakley , 2001