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ORNSBY, GEORGE (1809–1886), antiquary, born on 9 March 1809 at Darlington, Durham, was eldest son of George Ornsby, of the Lodge, Lanchester, in the same county, where the family had been settled from the time of Henry VIII. Robert Ornsby [q. v.] was his younger brother. His father, an accomplished scholar, instructed his sons at home until his death in 1823. George was then sent to Durham grammar school. After practising for a time as a solicitor in Durham, he entered University College, Durham, as a theological student in 1839. In 1841 he was ordained, and held in succession the curacies of Newburn, Northumberland (1841–3); Sedgefield, Durham (1843–4); and Whickham, in the same county (1845–50). In July 1850 he was inducted to the vicarage of Fishlake, South Yorkshire. The charge of this small parish left him much leisure for literary work. In 1872 the university of Durham conferred on him the honorary degree of M.A., and on 29 May 1873 he was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. In 1879 he was preferred to a prebendal stall at York. He died at Fishlake on 17 April 1886. By his marriage in 1843 to Anne (d. 1872), daughter of John Wilson, J.P. and D.L., of The Hill, Brigham, Cumberland, he had two sons and two daughters.

Ornsby was a model parish priest and an accurate, painstaking antiquary. He was the lifelong friend of James Raine [q. v.], the historian of North Durham. In 1846 he published an excellent little topographical work called ‘Sketches of Durham.’ For the Surtees Society he edited Dean Granville's ‘Remains,’ in two volumes, 1861 and 1865; Bishop Cosin's ‘Correspondence,’ 2 vols. 1869–1872; and ‘Selections from the Household Books of Lord William Howard of Naworth,’ 1878. He likewise undertook for the same society an edition of Dean Comber's ‘Correspondence,’ but never finished it. In 1877 he supplied the historical introduction to the volume of sermons preached at the reopening of Durham Cathedral, and in 1882 appeared his admirable ‘Diocesan History of York.’

[The Rev. J. T. Fowler in Durham University Journal, 29 May 1886; Mr. Fowler has kindly supplied additional information; Biograph for July 1881; Proc. of Soc. Antiq.; Crockford's Clerical Directory, 1885, p. 895.]

G. G.