William Vicary [Obituary]

Transactions of the Devonshire Association, 1889, Vol XXI, pp.70-71.

Prepared by Michael Steer

The obituary was read at the Association’s July 1904 Teignmouth meeting. The Vicary family, of which William was part, has lived in the Newton Abbot area for many generations, owning and operating leather tanning and fellmongering mills in Bradley Lane. There is a great deal of detailed information about the family here. William Vicary, F.G.S, was born at Newton Abbot. Early in life he moved to North Tawton where he started business as a tanner, and with so much success that he retired in 1856 and removed to Exeter, where he resided for the remainder of his long life. He was one of the founders of the Devonshire Association, established in 1862. An obituary published by the Cambridge Organisation focussing mainly on his substantial contributions to Devon’s Geology can be accessed here. The obituary, from a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers.

William Vicary. William Vicary was born at Newton Abbot in 1811. He died at Colleton Crescent, Exeter, in October, 1903, and was buried at Highweek. His father, Moses Vicary, was a member of the well-known family which has done so much for the town of Newton and the neighbourhood. Moses Vicary founded the important tanning business in Newton, and his son William, after a short partnership with him, left for North Tawton with his brother Gilbert, where William founded tannery and Gilbert fell-mongery businesses and erected serge mills, both of which became large and lucrative concerns. About 1880 the brothers retired in favour of the son of Gilbert - Mr. Fulford Vicary - and took up their abode in Exeter. William Vicary was a capable and ardent geologist and a friend of the late William Pengelly. He had a fine collection of geological and other specimens, which were contained in a museum, connected with his residence, which he had built. He was a genial, courteous, and kind man, benevolent and thoughtful. He was one of the founders of our Association in 1862, and continued a member to the time of his death.