William Huddesford

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William Huddesford
Born 1732
Died 1772
Nationality British
Occupation Cleric
Known for Ashmolean Museum
Relatives George Huddesford was his brother

William Huddesford (1732—1772) was Curator of the Ashmolean Museum from 1755 to 1772. Huddesford is credited with reinventing the Museum's reputation.[1]


Huddesford was baptized at St Mary Magdalen's Church, Oxford, on 15 August 1732. His father, George Huddesford, was the President of Trinity College, Oxford. He himself attended Trinity College. His younger brother, also George Huddesford, was a painter and satirical poet. William earned his B.D. in 1767, and he was proctor of Oxford University in 1765.[2]

In 1755, Huddesford took over from his father as keeper of the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford.[3] Huddesford improved the Museum's reputation.[1] His scholarship and his ability to take advice are cited as reasons for his success. Huddesford cleared out many of the collections to ensure that all the exhibits were essential. Amongst the discarded items were two dodos. These ended up at the University Museum and they inspired Lewis Carroll to include a dodo in the opening chapters of Alice in Wonderland.[1]

Huddesford had been ordained in 1758 and in 1761 he was made the vicar of Bishop's Tachbrook in Warwickshire. Huddesford died unexpectedly at Oxford on 6 October 1772.


  1. Edvardi Luidii … lithophylacii Britannici ichnographia, Oxford, 1760, a new edition of the treatise of Edward Lhuyd, whose fossils were under his charge at the Ashmolean. It contained the author's discourse on the sea-shells of the British ocean.
  2. Martini Lister, M.D., Historiæ, sive Synopsis Methodicæ Conchyliorum et Tabularum Anatomicarum editio altera, Oxford, 1760.[2]
  3. Catalogus librorum Manuscriptorum Antonii à Wood, 1761, via Sir Thomas Phillipps at the Middlehill press in 1824.
  4. An Address to the Freemen and other Inhabitants of the City of Oxford, 1764.


  1. ^ a b c Macgregor, Arthur (April 2007). "William Huddesford (1732—1772): his role in reanimating the Ashmolean Museum, his collections, researches and support network". 34: 47–68. ISSN 0260-9541. 
  2. ^ a b  "Huddesford, William". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 
  3. ^ M. St John Parker, ‘Huddesford, William (bap. 1732, d. 1772)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, September 2004; online edition, January 2008, accessed 16 February 2010. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/14025.