John Russell (parson)

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The Reverend
John Russell
Parson-John-Russel.jpg
Parson John ("Jack") Russell, dressed in his hunting clothes
Born (1795-12-21)21 December 1795
Dartmouth, Devon
Died 28 April 1883(1883-04-28) (aged 87)
Alma mater Exeter College, Oxford
Known for Dog breeder
Home town Swimbridge, Devon

Reverend John ("Jack") Russell (21 December 1795 – 28 April 1883), known as "The Sporting Parson", vicar of Swimbridge and rector of Black Torrington in North Devon, was an enthusiastic fox-hunter and dog breeder,[1] who developed the Jack Russell Terrier, a variety of the Fox Terrier breed.

Origins[edit]

Russell was born on 21 December 1795 in Dartmouth, South Devon, the eldest son of John Russell by his wife Nora Jewell.[2]

Education[edit]

He was educated at Plympton Grammar School, Blundell's School, Tiverton[3] and Exeter College, Oxford.

Sporting career[edit]

It was at Exeter College, legend has it, that he spotted a little white terrier bitch with dark tan spots over her eyes, ears and at the tip of her tail, who was owned by a milkman.[4] Russell bought the bitch on the spot and this animal, called "Trump", became the foundation of a line of fox hunting terriers that became known as Jack Russell Terriers. They were well-suited by the shortness and strength of their legs for digging out foxes which had "gone to earth" having been hunted over-ground by fox hounds.

Russell was a founding member of The Kennel Club.[5] He helped to write the breed standard for the Fox Terrier (Smooth) and became a respected judge. He did not show his own fox terriers on the conformation bench, saying that the difference between his dogs and the conformation dogs could be likened to the difference between wild and cultivated flowers.

Clerical career[edit]

Russell was appointed vicar of Swimbridge in North Devon, where the local public house was renamed the "Jack Russell Inn" and still stands today. He was also rector of Black Torrington in Devon.[6]

Marriage[edit]

In 1836 at Swimbridge he married Penelope Incledon-Bury, third daughter and co-heiress of Vice-Admiral Richard Incledon-Bury (1757-1825), Royal Navy, lord of the manor of Colleton, Chulmleigh in Devon,[7] who resided at Doniton, Swimbridge. Russell is said to have had expensive sporting habits both on and off the hunting-field, which drained the substantial resources of his heiress wife and left the estate of Colleton in poor condition.[8]

Death & burial[edit]

Russell died on 28 April 1883 and was buried in the churchyard of St. James's Church, Swimbridge, where he was vicar.[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Parson Russell Terrier Club, UK - Introduction to the breed". Parsonrussellterrierclub.co.uk. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  2. ^  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1897). "Russell, John (1795-1883)". Dictionary of National Biography 49. London: Smith, Elder & Co. p. 464. 
  3. ^ "Famous OBs". www.blundells.org. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  4. ^ "A brief history of the Jack Russell - Jack Russell Terrier UK". Jack-russell-terrier.co.uk. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  5. ^ "Plentiful Run Parson Russell Terriers - About Us". Dogwebs.net. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  6. ^ Vivian, p.499
  7. ^ Vivian, Lt.Col. J.L., (Ed.) The Visitation of the County of Devon: Comprising the Heralds' Visitations of 1531, 1564 & 1620, Exeter, 1895, p.499, pedigree of Incledon
  8. ^ Lauder, Rosemary Anne, A Tale of Two Rivers, Bideford, 1986, p.72
  9. ^ "History of Swimbridge Parish Church of St. James". swimbridgeparishchurch.org. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 

Further reading[edit]