Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Weston, Richard (1733-1806)

WESTON, RICHARD (1733–1806), agricultural writer, born in 1733, describes himself on the title-page of some of his anonymous works as ‘A Country Gentleman,’ but appears to have been, in reality, a thread-hosier of Leicester. In 1773 he was living at Kensington Gore, but his later years were spent at Leicester, where he was secretary of the local agricultural society.

Weston's first important work was his ‘Tracts on Practical Agriculture and Gardening,’ 1769, which he dedicated to the Society of Arts. This work is remembered chiefly in virtue of the appended ‘Catalogue on English authors who have wrote on Husbandry, Gardening, Botany, and subjects relative thereto.’ More ambitious works were his ‘Botanicus Universalis et Hortulanus,’ published in four volumes between 1770 and 1777, and his ‘Flora Anglicana, seu arborum fruticum, plantarum, et fructuum … catalogus,’ issued in two parts in 1775 and 1780 respectively.

About 1800 and for some time subsequently Weston chiefly devoted himself to the local history and literature of Leicestershire. In 1800 he proposed the publication of ‘Leicestriana, or a collection of fugitive Pieces in Verse and Prose arranged in Chronological Order.’ A further suggested venture of the same kind was ‘The Literary History of Leicestershire: containing an account of the Authors, Natives and Residents, of the Town and Country. … To which is added an Account of the Town Library.’ It does not appear, however, that either of these works was published. Subsequent designs made in 1805 for ‘The Natural History of Strawberries’ and a ‘Treatise on the Management of Fish Ponds’ were prevented by his death, which took place at Leicester on 20 Oct. 1806.

Weston also wrote: 1. ‘The Gardener's and Planter's Calendar: containing the method of raising Timber Trees, Fruit Trees, and Quick for Hedges,’ 1773; 2nd edit. 1778. 2. ‘The Gentleman's and Lady's Gardener,’ 1774. 3. ‘The Gardener's Pocket Calendar,’ 1774. 4. ‘Ellis's Gardener's Calendar,’ 1774. 5. ‘The Nurseryman and Seedsman's Catalogue of Trees, Shrubs, Plants, and Seeds,’ 1774. 6. ‘A New and Cheap Manure,’ 1791. 7. ‘The Leicester Directory,’ 1794. He also wrote for the ‘Gentleman's Magazine’ a number of articles on horticultural and botanical subjects.

[Gent. Mag. 1806, ii. 1080; Weston's Works.]

E. C.-e.