Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Bailey, John (1750-1819)

BAILEY, JOHN (1750–1819), agriculturist and engraver, was the son of William Bailey, of Blades Field, near Bowes, Yorkshire, where he was born in 1750. At an early age he manifested strong artistic tendencies, and while employed as tutor to his uncle's children devoted his leisure hours to engraving various pieces, which he afterwards published. Both in his artistic and mathematical studies he received valuable assistance from his uncle. After completing the education of his uncle's children he became mathematical teacher at Witton-le-Wear, and began also the business of a land surveyor. Shortly after his marriage he was appointed land agent to Lord Tankerville at Chillingham, a situation he retained till his death, 4 June 1819, in his sixty-ninth year. Bailey engraved several of the plates for the works of William Hutchinson, the topographer of Cumberland, Durham, and Northumberland. He devoted also much of his attention to the natural sciences, especially mineralogy, chemistry, hydraulics, and pneumatics, and his scientific acquirements were turned by him to excellent practical account in promoting improvements in rural economy, in 1795 he published an 'Essay on the Construction of the Plough,' in which he employed mathematical calculations to demonstrate the advantages of the alterations he proposed. He was also the joint author of the reports on the counties of Cumberland, Durham, and Northumberland, drawn up for the Board of Agriculture.

[Richardson's Local Historian's Tabie-Book of Durham, Historical Division, iii. 197; Mackenzie and Ross's View of the County of Durham, ii. 212.]

T. F. H.