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MARSDEN, JOHN HOWARD (1803–1891), antiquary, eldest son of William Marsden, curate of St. George's Chapel, Wigan, and afterwards vicar of Eccles, was born at Wigan in 1803, and was admitted, 6 Aug. 1817, into Manchester School, being head scholar in 1822. He was an exhibitioner from the school to St. John's College, Cambridge, where he was elected a scholar on the Somerset foundation. In 1823 he won the Bell university scholarship. He graduated B.A. in 1826, M.A. in 1829, and B.D. in 1836. In 1829 he gained the Seatonian prize, the subject of the poem being 'The Finding of Moses,' Cambridge, 2nd edit. 1830. He was select preacher to the university in 1834, 1837, and 1847; was Hulsean lecturer on divinity in 1843 and 1844, and was from 1851 to 1865 the first Disney professor of archaeology.

In 1840 he had been presented by his college to the rectory of Great Oakley, Essex, which he held for forty-nine years, only resigning it, in 1889, on account of the infirmities of age. He also held for some years the rural deanery of Harwich. Having been elected canon residentiary of Manchester in 1858, he became rural dean of the deanery of Eccles, and he was one of the chaplains of James Prince Lee [q. v.], first bishop of Manchester. Throughout his long life he devoted his leisure to literary pursuits, more especially to numismatical and archaeological research. He died at his residence, Grey Friars, Colchester, on 24 Jan. 1891.

He married in 1840 Caroline, elder daughter of William Moore, D.D., prebendary of Lincoln, and had issue three sons. Marsden's works are:

  1. Various sermons preached at Manchester Cathedral, Colchester, and Cambridge, 1835-45.
  2. 'The Sacred Tree, a Tale of Hindostan,' privately printed, London, 1840.
  3. 'Philomorus, a Brief Examination of the Latin Poems of Sir Thomas More,' London, 1842.
  4. 'An Examination of certain Passages in Our Lord's Conversation with Nicodemus,' eight Hulsean lectures, London, 1844, 8vo.
  5. 'The Evils which have resulted at various times from a Misapprehension of Our Lord's Miracles,' eight Hulsean discourses, London, 1845, 8vo.
  6. 'History of the Gentlemen's Society at Spalding,' London, 1849.
  7. 'College Life in the Reign of James I,' based on the autobiography of Sir Symonds D'Ewes, London, 1851.
  8. 'Two Introductory Lectures upon Archaeology, delivered in the University of Cambridge,' Cambridge, 1852, 8vo.
  9. 'A Descriptive Sketch of the Collection of Works of Ancient Greek and Roman Art at Felix Hall,' in 'Transactions of the Essex Archaeological Society,' 1863.
  10. 'A Brief Memoir of the Life and Writings of Lieutenant-Colonel William Martin Leake, F.R.S.,' privately printed, London, 1864, 4to.
  11. 'Fasciculus,' London, 1869, 8vo; an amusing collection of his poetical pieces of a lighter kind.

[Smith's Manchester School Register, iii. 126; Crockford's Clerical Directory, 1882; Times, 26 Jan. 1891; Sutton's Lancashire Authors, p. 77.]

T. C.