coln' in 1818, and then seems to have gone to Hull and afterwards to Scarborough, where we find him in 1821 publishing 'An Ænigmatical Catalogue of Books of Merit, on an entirely new plan.' During the next ten years he issued most of his antiquarian and biographical works, many of which relate to Scarborough. He also helped Baker in his 'History of the County of Northampton.' As unfortunate at Scarborough as at his previous dwelling-places, Cole tried Northampton once more, and opened a shop in the market square some time after 1830. He added to his small income by giving lectures on natural philosophy, &c. 'The late Mr. Bean, a well-known scientific individual and conchologist, . . . says: "I have known Mr. John Cole and have attended many of his lectures on astronomy, the anatomy of costume, architecture, and natural history. These several subjects [were] discussed in a scientific, pleasing, and popular manner" ' (J. B. Baker, History of Scarborough, 1882, p. 457). He instituted the commemoration in honour of the Rev. James Hervey held at Weston Favell on 18 June 1833. He was forced to make a composition with his creditors at Northampton, and went to live at Wellingborough about 1835. 'There Cole opened a small school, and placed geological specimens, &c. [as well as such incongruous wares as apples, bacon, and ham] in his window for sale. He was a quiet man and regarded as very eccentric because he and his sons would go out all day, and return laden with wild plants, &c. . . . His industrious curiosity was never appreciated in Northamptonshire, where he dragged out a miserable existence. From Wellingborough he removed to Ringstead, or some village in its vicinity, where he ransacked every nook for relics of antiquity and natural curiosities' (Notes and Queries, 3rd series, i. 509). He tried again as a schoolmaster at Rushden in 1837, and successively lived at Polebrook, Huntingdon, and Woodford (near Thrapston), where he died in greatly reduced circumstances on 12 April 1848, aged 56. His wife died on 30 July 1832, at the age of thirty-six, and was buried in All Saints' churchyard at Northampton. Whether as bookseller, lecturer, 'general factor,' or school-master, Cole was invariably unsuccessful. A self-trained and industrious antiquary, he appears to have been utterly unsuited for the cares of a business life.
His literary activity was remarkable. His publications are over a hundred in number. The chief among them are mentioned below. They are usually of small size and tastefully printed and produced. The letterpress and illustrations appear over and over again under different titles. Cole generally printed but few copies of his books, and usually a few were on coloured paper. Both for their rarity and as containing much out-of-the-way information they are sought after by Yorkshire and Northamptonshire collectors. He was in the habit of binding up extra plates and additional manuscript matter in his private copies of his pieces. A silhouette portrait of Cole and facsimile of his handwriting are given in the 'Yorkshire Library' (1869, p. 206) of W. Boyne.
Cole's principal works are : 1. 'History of Northampton and its Vicinity,' Northampton, 1815 ; 2nd edition, 1821 ; 3rd edition, 1831, sm. 8vo. 2. ' History of Lincoln,' Lincoln, 1818, sm. 8vo. 3. ' Histrionic Topography,' London, 1818, sm. 8vo, 13 plates by Storer. 4. ' A Catalogue of Standard Books, made out on an entirely new plan,' sm. 8vo (the titles are drawn up in enigmas). 5. ' An Ænigmatical Catalogue of Books of Merit, on an entirely new plan,' Scarborough, 1821, sm. 8vo (2nd edition, enlarged, of No. 4). 6. ' A Key to Cole's Ænigmatical Catalogue of Books,' Scarborough, 1821, sm. 8vo. 7. ' Questions on Cooke's Topography of the County of York,' 1821, 1834. 8. 'Herveiana ; or graphic and literary Sketches illustrative of the Life and Writings of the Rev. James Hervey,' Scarborough, 1822-3-6, 3 pts. sm. 8vo. (pt. ii. includes some unpublished letters of Hervey). 9. ' Graphic and Historical Sketches of Scarborough,' Scarborough, 1822, sm. 8vo (with wood engravings by Mason). 10. ' A Biographical Sketch of the late Robert North, Esq., the founder of the Amicable Society, Scarborough,' Scarborough, 1823, sm. 8vo. 11. 'Picture of Scarborough for the year 1823,' Scarborough, 1823, sm. 8vo (this is a 2nd edition of No. 9, reprinted in 1824, 1825, 1829, and 1832 as the 'Scarborough Guide,' ed. by C.R. Todd, 1836 and 1841). 12. 'Bibliographical and Descriptive Tour from Scarborough to the Library of a Philobiblist [Archdeacon Wrangham],' Scarborough, 1824, sm. 8vo (a few supplementary pages were printed but not published). 13. 'Sketch of the History of Scarborough,' Scarborough, 1824, sm. 8vo. 14. 'The Scarborough Repository and Mirror of the Season, consisting of historical, biographical, and topographical subjects,' &c., Scarborough, 1824, 8vo, vol. i. (8 Nos.), all published. 15. 'Scarborough, Yorkshire [Letters] to the Editor of the Port-Folio,' Scarborough , sm. 8vo. 16. 'A Descriptive Catalogue of a select portion of the Stock of John Cole,' Scarborough, 1825, 8vo. 17. 'The Scarborough Album of History and Poetry,' Scarborough, 1825, sm. 8vo. 18. 'The History and Antiquities of Ecton, county of