Open main menu

Banks, William Stott (DNB00)

BANKS, WILLIAM STOTT (1820–1872), antiquary, was born at Wakefield, Yorkshire, in March 1820, of humble parentage. He received a scanty education at the Lancasterian school in that town, and at the age of eleven started life as office-boy to Mr. John Berry, a local solicitor. He was afterwards clerk in the office of Messrs. Marsden & Ianson, solicitors and clerks to the West Riding justices, and upon the dissolution of the firm in 1844 he remained with Mr. Ianson, to whom he subsequently articled himself. After the usual interval Banks was admitted an attorney in Hilary Term, 1851, and in 1853 became a partner, the firm being Messrs. Ianson & Banks. On the formation of the Wakefield Borough Commission in March 1870 he was elected clerk to the justices, an office which he retained until his death. He had, in 1865, become known as an author by the publication of his 'List of Provincial Words in use at Wakefield,' an unpretending little volume, but a model of its kind. The following year he gave to the world the first of his excellent manuals, entitled 'Walks in Yorkshire: I. In the Northwest; II. In the North-east,' which had previously appeared in weekly instalments in the columns of the 'Wakefield Free Press.' Shortly before his death he issued a companion volume, called 'Walks in Yorkshire: Wakefield and its neighbourhood.' Both works are remarkable for their completeness and happy research. Banks died at his house in Northgate, Wakefield, on the Christmas day of 1872, having returned but a few weeks from the continent, whither he had journeyed in a vain search for health.

[Wakefield Free Press, 28 Dec. 1872, and 18 Jan. 1873; Notes and Queries, 4th series, xi. 132; Yorkshire Archseological and Topographical Journal, ii. 459-60.]

G. G.