Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lawrence, Charles (1794-1881)

1421968Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 32 — Lawrence, Charles (1794-1881)1892Morgan George Watkins

LAWRENCE, CHARLES (1794–1881), agriculturist, born on 21 March 1794, was the son of William Lawrence (1758–1837), an old-established surgeon of Cirencester, Gloucestershire. His mother was Judith, second daughter of William Wood of Tetbury, Gloucestershire. Sir William Lawrence [q. v.] the surgeon was his eldest brother. In 1812 he attended lectures of Dr. Hugh on chemistry, and was from an early age interested in the applications of the science in agriculture. For more than half a century he was a prominent figure among scientific agriculturists. He owned for many years a farm adjoining that of the Royal Agricultural College at Cirencester (which he had taken a leading part in founding and organising between 1842 and 1845), and here ne conducted many valuable experiments, which led to the introduction of numerous improvements in agricultural machinery. Many visitors, among others Liebig, came at various times to inspect the farm. His endeavour was always to discover how the greatest fertility in land could be secured together with the greatest economy in working expenses. His farm was always open for the inspection of students of the Agricultural College. He was much beloved on account of his benevolence at Cirencester, where he died 5 July 1881.

Lawrence married, 26 May 1818, Lydia, youngest daughter of Devereux Bowly of Chesterton House, Cirencester, by whom he had a son and three daughters.

In the 'Transactions of the Royal Agricultural Society' are several papers by Lawrence. Some of the titles are: 'On Diminishing the Quantity of Roots used in Fattening Cattle.' xv. 488; on 'The Relative Value of Cattle-box Manure and Farmyard Manure.' xviii. 368; on 'Pulping Roots for Cattle Food.' xx. 453; on the 'Management of Clover Layers, the proper distance for Drilling Wheat, and the Ravages of Insects in Pines.' xxii. 447; on the 'Cultivation of Carrots and Cabbages for the Feeding of Stock.' xxiv. 216; on 'Swedes, Mangold, and the Steam Plough.' xxv. 248; 'On the Royal Agricultural College of Cirencester.' 2nd ser. i. 1; and on 'Kohl Rabi.' 2nd ser. i. 219. Besides these essays he published: 1. 'Practical Directions for the Cultivation of Cottage Gardens.' 1831. 2. 'A Letter on Agricultural Education addressed to a Youth who has resolved on Farming as his Future Occupation.' 1851. 3. In 1860 he issued a tract to his labourers full of sound practical advice, 'On the Economy of Food.' 4. Lawrence's best work is his 'Handy Book for Young Farmers.' 1859, in the form of a monthly calendar, with notes and observations. It abounds in sensible hints and economical suggestions, showing a mind well stored with orderly and practical information on the subjects of which it treats.

[Lawrence's Works; Burke's Baronetage; Times, 10 July 1867, 19 July 1881.]

M. G. W.