James Ebenezer Bicheno

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James Ebenezer Bicheno
James Ebenezer Bicheno.jpg
Born (1785-01-25)25 January 1785
Newbury, Berkshire, England
Died 25 February 1851(1851-02-25) (aged 66)
Hobart Town, Van Diemen's Land
Nationality British
Scientific career
Fields Botanist

James Ebenezer Bicheno (25 January 1785 – 25 February 1851) was a British author and colonial official.

Bicheno was born in Newbury, Berkshire,[1] the son of the Rev. James Bicheno, who was minister of the Baptist Church there. He was called to the bar in 1822 but seems to have spent most of his time until 1832 in writing and natural history pursuits, especially with the Linnean Society. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in May, 1827.[2]

In 1832 he left London to live at Ty Maen, South Cornelly, Glamorgan, where he had been one of the founders of the Maesteg Ironworks in 1826.[3] and where he was a friend of Lewis Weston Dillwyn. This investment ultimately failed and he needed to look for an income.[4]

During his years in south Wales Bicheno held conservative views at a time of considerable social and economic change. He was certainly anti-Chartist as his correspondence with the Marquis of Bute, the Lord Lieutenant of Glamorgan, clearly shows. He was ever vigilant regarding Chartism in the Maesteg district and sent regular reports of any radical activity to the Marquis.[5]

He was appointed colonial secretary of Van Diemen's Land in September 1842. He was a keen amateur botanist and experimented with plants on his small farm on the banks of the New Town Rivulet. He had several papers on botany and natural history published in its Transactions and assisted Sir William Jardine in preparing the two volumes of Illustrations of Ornithology (Edinburgh, 1830). He lectured on botany to the Mechanics' Institute and had papers published in the Transactions of the Royal Society of Tasmania.

Bicheno was a large man, and it was said that he could fit three full bags of wheat in his trousers.[6][7]



  1. ^ "Prison reformer's life to be spotlighted at library's bilingual talk", Bridgend Post, 1 March 2001
  2. ^ "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 13 December 2010. 
  3. ^ "The Iron Industry in Maesteg 1828-1885 by David Lewis". Scribd.com. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  4. ^ "Australian Dictionary of Biography". Anbg.gov.au. 2011-06-16. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  5. ^ Letters of James Bicheno to the Marquess of Bute 1840, National Library of Wales, Bute Estate 2, L83/411,471
  6. ^ "Bicheno". SMH. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  7. ^ "Bicheno". Walkabout. Archived from the original on 24 July 2008. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  • Verity Papers, Glamorgan Records Office.