John Noorthouck

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

John Noorthouck (1732–1816)[1] was an English author, best known as a topographer of London.


Born in London, he was the son of Herman Noorthouck, a bookseller who had a shop, the Cicero's Head, Great Piazza, Covent Garden, and whose stock was sold off in 1730. Early in life John Noorthouck was patronised by Owen Ruffhead and William Strahan the printer. He gained his livelihood as an index-maker and corrector of the press. He was for almost fifty years a liveryman of the Company of Stationers, and spent most of his life in London, living in 1773 in Barnard's Inn, Holborn.[2]

In 1784, whilst living in Bernard's Inn, John Noorthouck describes himself as a Freemason. In the book, "Noorthouck's Masonry", the Editor "J.N." states in the Preface starting at page vii, "The present editor esteems it a duty incumbent on him to advertise his bretheren of the general alterations the following work has undergone with a view to improvement." The Preface ends with the details, "May 1, 1784, Bernard's Inn, London". In 1814, Noorthouck was living at Oundle, Northamptonshire, where he died about July 1816.[2]


His major work was A New History of London, including Westminster and Southwark, London, 1773, 4to, with copperplates. This book gives a history of London at all periods and a survey of the existing buildings. Noorthouck also published An Historical and Classical Dictionary,’ 2 vols. London, 1776, consisting of biographies of persons of all periods and countries.[2]

John Russell Smith in London, April 1852, offered for sale an unprinted autobiography by Noorthouck; it was later acquired by Yale University.[1] In the Biographical Dictionary of Living Authors (1816, p. 253) the book ‘Constitutions of the Free and Accepted Masons,’ new edit. 1784, was attributed to John Noorthouck. This book may be also known as "Noorthouck's Masonry", wherein it is almost certain that this book was Edited by John Noorthouck. A copy of which is currently in the possession of the Grand Lodge Library of the United Grand Lodge of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, in Sydney Australia. This book contains a Preface wherein the Editor signs off as "J.N." and it is dated May 1, 1784, Bernard's Inn, London.



  1. ^ a b Myers, Robin. "Noorthouck, John". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/20246.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ a b c Wroth 1895.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainWroth, Warwick William (1895). "Noorthouck, John". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography 41. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 

External links[edit]