Yeowell, James (DNB00)

YEOWELL, JAMES (1803?–1875), antiquary, born about 1803 in London, is said to have been employed in early life under the vestry of Shoreditch, and to have worked at indexing and kindred labours for the London booksellers. Soon after the establishment by William John Thoms [q. v.] of ‘Notes and Queries,’ Yeowell became sub-editor, and he filled this position for more than twenty years, retiring in September 1872. During this period Yeowell supplied by assiduous research at the British Museum the answers which appeared each week under the heading of ‘Queries with Answers.’ He lived at first in Pentonville, near the Sadlers' Wells Theatre, and then at Barnsbury.

On his retirement from ‘Notes and Queries’ he was nominated a poor brother at the Charterhouse by the Duke of Buccleuch at the suggestion of Thoms. He died at the Charterhouse on 10 Dec. 1875, being buried in Highgate cemetery on 14 Dec. He was ‘probably the last nonjuror, if not the last Jacobite, in England’ (Doran, London in Jacobite Times, ii. 354).

Yeowell was the author of: 1. ‘Chronicles of the Ancient British Church anterior to the Saxon Era,’ new ed. 1847; it originally appeared during 1839 in a monthly periodical. 2. ‘A Literary Antiquary: Memoir of William Oldys, with his Diary, Notes from Adversaria, and an Account of the London Libraries,’ 1862; this came out in ‘Notes and Queries’ during 1861 and 1862. He edited in 1853 the poetical works of Sir Thomas Wyatt and of Surrey for the Aldine series; compiled, with other index work, the general indexes to the first three series of ‘Notes and Queries,’ and an index to Strickland's ‘Queens of England;’ and he assisted Lord Braybrooke in the fourth edition of the diary of Pepys (1854).

Yeowell's books were sold with other collections by Sotheby, Wilkinson, & Hodge on 12 Nov. 1873 and five following days. His collections for the biography of Englishmen are now at the British Museum; they consist of eleven folio volumes, thirty-seven octavo volumes, and eight parcels.

[Notes and Queries, 5th ser. iv. 481, 9th ser. iv. 365; Athenæum, 18 Dec. 1875 p. 831, 25 Dec. p. 881; information from Rev. H. V. Le Bas of Charterhouse, and Mr. Merton A. Thoms; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

W. P. C.