Jervise, Andrew (DNB00)

JERVISE, ANDREW (1820–1878), Scottish antiquary, was born 28 July 1820 at Brechin, Forfarshire. His mother was Jean Chalmers, a nurseryman's daughter, and with her he lived all his life. In his short school career he began to develope antiquarian tastes, which were fostered by the legendary stories of a widowed aunt who settled with his mother. Leaving school at the age of eleven, Jervise soon became a compositor, and formed the acquaintance of Alexander Laing [q. v.], ‘the Brechin poet.’ Finishing his apprenticeship in 1837, he oscillated till 1841 between Brechin and Edinburgh, nominally a compositor, but affecting poetry and painting. Laing, in his letters, dissuaded him from poetry; and after taking lessons in design and colour under Sir William Allan and Thomas Duncan between 1842 and 1846, he settled in Brechin as teacher of drawing. In 1847 he delivered there three lectures on the ‘Popular History of Painting and its Principles.’

In 1856 two patrons—Lord Panmure, whose birthday he had celebrated in verse (1847), and Mr. Chalmers of Aldbar, Forfarshire, whose library he had catalogued—secured for him the examinership of registers, in accordance with the Registration Act of 1854. In pursuit of his duties he leisurely travelled through Fife, Forfar, Perth, Kincardine, and Aberdeen, and for a time also through Banff, Elgin, and Nairn. He diligently utilised his facilities for research, contributing frequently to the ‘Transactions of the Antiquarian Society,’ and collecting for a series of newspaper articles inscriptions from the churchyards within his range. He began publishing specimens of churchyard poetry in the ‘Montrose Standard’ in 1848. He was the Old Mortality of his counties, and as a genial correspondent in the newspapers supplied antiquarian information of the most diverse kinds. His varied tastes and experience gave him curious stores of knowledge, and he amassed a valuable library, specially rich in broadsides and ballads. He died at Brechin 12 April 1878, four months before his mother. Jervise published, besides the works already mentioned: 1. ‘Sketches of the History and Traditions of Glenesk,’ 1852, dedicated to Lord Panmure. 2. ‘History and Traditions of the Land of the Lindsays,’ 1853, prompted in large measure by the Earl of Crawford's recently published ‘Lives of the Lindsays.’ 3. ‘Lectures on the Mearns and on Glamis.’ 4. ‘Memorials of Angus and the Mearns,’ 1861, almost exclusively of antiquarian interest. 5. ‘Inscriptions from the Shields in the Trades Hall, Aberdeen,’ 1863. 6. ‘Inscriptions from the Burial Grounds of Brechin and Magdalen Chapel,’ 1864, reprinted from the ‘Brechin Advertiser.’ 7. ‘Epitaphs and Inscriptions from Burial Grounds and Old Buildings in the North-east of Scotland,’ 1875, vol. i., carefully revised from his newspaper contributions; (posthumously) 1879, vol. ii., formed of contributions to the ‘Aberdeen Free Press,’ with a prefatory memoir by Mr. William Alexander of Aberdeen and the Rev. J. G. Michie. The collection is extensive and valuable, and contains much historical and biographical matter. In a letter to Dr. Laing, author of ‘Lindores Abbey and its Burgh of Newburgh,’ Jervise spoke of a volume on Fife tombstones, but this he never completed.

[Life prefixed to second vol. of Epitaphs and Inscriptions; Irving's Dictionary of Eminent Scotsmen.]

T. B.