John Scandrett Harford

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John Scandrett Harford
Born 8 October 1785
Died 16 April 1866
Blaise Castle, Bristol

John Scandrett Harford, FRS (8 October 1785 – 16 April 1866) was a British banker, benefactor and abolitionist.

He was born the son of John Scandrett Harford, a prominent banker in the English city of Bristol and educated at Christ College, Cambridge. By the end of the 18th Century he was a wealthy banker in his own right and known as being a landowner, a staunch Quaker and an abolitionist (and friend of William Wilberforce).

Harford had a sizeable portfolio, including the Blaise Castle estate at Henbury. This was originally property of Thomas Farr, but Farr went bankrupt in 1778 following the American Revolutionary War. The estate then changed hands a number of times until Harford eventually purchased the land and buildings.

In 1819, he also acquired the Peterwell estate at Lampeter, making the purchase jointly with his younger brothers. It was previously owned by his father-in-law, Richard Hart Davis, who had built c.1812 the a house within its bounds. The estate descended to his nephew John Battersby Harford, who remodelled the house in the Italianate style in 1859 as Falcondale.

It was shortly after a meeting with Bishop Burgess, the founder of St David's College Lampeter in 1820, that Harford offered to donate to him the site of Lampeter Castle, 'Castle Field' or 'Cae Castell' in Welsh, which, as Lords of the Manor of Lampeter, he and his brothers now owned. As such, it is on land donated by Harford that the University of Wales, Lampeter now stands. A bust of Harford is in the collection of the University of Wales, Lampeter, and is currently on display in that institution's main library building. Two halls of residence at the university, Harford I and Harford II, are also named after him. He was appointed High Sheriff of Cardiganshire for 1825–26.[1]

He was also a moderately successful artist, and his oil paintings can often be found at auctions in the UK. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1823.

He married Louisa, the daughter of Richard Hart Davis. In later life he went blind and died at Blaise Castle in 1866.[2]

Published Works[edit]

  • Aeschylus : Agamemnon....Translated from Greek by J. S. Harford-London : Murray, 1831
  • Coelebs of Hannah More
  • Life of Michaelangelo Buonarroti : Longman & Roberts, 1857
  • Life of Thomas Burgess-London : Eyre & Spottiswood, 1840. 2nd ed. London : Eyre, 1841
  • Reminiscences of W. Wilberforce during nearly thirty years, 1864
  • Some account of the life of Thomas Paine, Bristol, 1819

See also[edit]