Bailey, John Eglington, 1840-1888

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British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000677.0x000096

The antiquary, John Eglington Bailey, was born at Edgbaston, Birmingham, on 13 February 1840, the son of Charles Bailey and Mary Elizabeth Bailey, daughter of John Eglington of Ashbourne. His family removed to Lancashire during his childhood, and he was educated at Boteler’s Grammar School, Warrington, and at Owen's College, Manchester. He was employed at the counting-house of the Ralli Brothers, Manchester, where he remained until 1886.

Bailey was a prolific author: he published 420 articles, and also a number of books covering a range of subjects from Lancashire and Cheshire topography to the lives of seventeenth-century divines. He learned Pitman’s shorthand, and contributed articles to shorthand, manuscript, or lithograph magazines and bibliographical journals, such as Shorthand (1882), Retrospective Review (1874), and The Bibliographer (1882). Bailey contributed articles to newspapers and magazines such as Owen’s College Magazine (1868, 1870-1, 1878, 1880); the Manchester Guardian Local Notes and Queries (1874-7); the Manchester City News Notes and Queries (1879, 1884-6); the Preston Guardian Sketches in Local History (1875-7, 1879); and the Leigh Chronicle (1878-9), amongst others. Bailey was a frequent contributor to the journals of the Manchester Literary Club (1875-9, 1881-5) and Manchester Field Naturalists’ Society (1878-9, 1882) as well as to various other journals, such as Notes and Queries (1864, 1869, 1873, 1874-86); Gloucestershire Notes and Queries (1879, 1881-4, 1886-8); and also The Western Antiquary (1883), and the quarterly review concerned with Pagan and early-Christian antiquities, The Reliquary (1884).

His interest in the antiquities of Lancashire and Cheshire led to his contributions to a number of publications: Local Gleanings (1875, 1877-80); Cheshire Sheaf (1878-83); Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Notes (1884); the Journal of the Chester Archaeological and Historic Society (1887); and the Transactions of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society (1886-7). His Inventories of goods in the churches and chapels of Lancashire, taken in the year A.D. 1552, was published in two parts by the Chetham Society (1879, 1888), and the final part was completed and edited by Henry Fishwick (1902). In 1881, he became the founder and editor of the monthly antiquarian magazine, The Palatine Note-Book (1881-5). He also contributed to the Encyclopaedia Britannica with articles on ‘Cryptography’ (1877) and ‘Thomas Fuller’ (1879), and also to the Dictionary of National Biography (1885) with articles on a number of divines and antiquaries. Bailey also edited Henry Clarke’s The School Candidates: A Prosaic Burlesque (Manchester, 1877), and the Diary for the years 1595-1601 of Dr John Dee, Warden of Manchester from 1595-1608 (1880). He also wrote Manchester al Mondo: A Contemplation of Death and Immortality (London: Pickering, 1880), and co-authored (with C.E. Banks) a biography of Colonel Alexander Rigby (Portland, Maine, USA, 1885).

However, Bailey’s life-long interest was the work of the ecclesiastical historian, Thomas Fuller (1608-61). His lecture on Fuller to the Manchester Phonographic Union, was printed in the Popular Lecturer (1864). He devoted his holidays to visiting Fuller’s places of residence, and Bailey’s most important contribution was his Life of Thomas Fuller (Manchester: T. J. Day, 1874). His scholarship was recognised by his election as a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London. Bailey had intended to issue a two-volume edition of Fuller’s sermons, but this project was never completed, and Bailey edited only one of Fuller’s sermons: A Sermon of Reformation (Manchester: T.J. Day, 1875). Bailey’s intended project was later completed and edited by W.E.A. Axon (1891). Bailey amassed a large library of antiquarian and general literature, and also collected numerous works on stenography with a view to writing a history and bibliography of English stenography, but this was another project that was never realised.

He delivered lectures to various literary and local history societies, including the Manchester Literary Club, Urmston and Flixton Literary and Scientific Society, and the Leigh Literary Society. He was also a member of the Chetham Society, serving as a councillor (1876-88) and Honorary Secretary (1882-8), as well as a councillor of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society (1884-9). A member of the Chorlton Road Congregational Church, he also compiled a Manual of the Chorlton Road Congregational Church, Manchester (Manchester: James Andrew, 1877). From 1886, illness impaired Bailey’s research and studies, and he died, aged 48, at Etchells, Stockport, Cheshire, on 23 August 1888. He was buried at Stretford Church, Manchester, on 27 August 1888. In 1866, he had married Emma Mills, the second daughter of Samuel Mills of Ardwick, and they had four children.

Axon, W.E.A., ‘A list of the writings of John Eglington Bailey’, Transactions of the Lancashire & Cheshire Antiquarian Society, VI (1888), pp. 129-50. ‘Bailey, John Eglington (1840-88)’ (J.G. Alger, rev. Z. Lawson), The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, ed. H.C.G. Mathew (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004). Crosby, A.G., ‘A Society with No Equal’: The Chetham Society, 1843-1993, Chetham Society, 3rd ser., 37 (1993), p. 40. Inventories of goods in the churches and chapels of Lancashire, taken in the year A.D. 1552, Part I: Salford Hundred, ed. J.E. Bailey, Chetham Society, old ser., 107 (1879). Inventories of goods in the churches and chapels of Lancashire, taken in the year A.D. 1552, Part II: West Derby, Blackburn and Leyland Hundreds, ed. J.E. Bailey, Chetham Society, old ser., 113 (1888). Inventories of goods in the churches and chapels of Lancashire, taken in the year A.D. 1552, Part III: Amounderness and Lonsdale Hundreds, ed. H. Fishwick, Chetham Miscellanies, new ser., 47 (1902). Manchester Guardian, 24 Aug 1888.

From the guide to the The Bailey Collection, 13th century-19th century, (Chetham's Library)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf The Bailey Collection, 13th century-19th century Chetham's Library
creatorOf Lawrence, Matthew. A wedding sermon : preacht at Chilton in Suffolk. / By Matt: Lawrence, Min:, the 28th of August 1649. University of California, Los Angeles
creatorOf Bailey, John E. Letter: 1874 Feb. 13, Chappel Lane, Stretford, Manchester, to David Laing / John E. Bailey. University of Edinburgh - Main Library, Edinburgh University Library
creatorOf Bailey, John Eglington, 1840-1888,. Autograph letter signed from John Eglington Bailey to unknown recipient [manuscript], 1875 October 9. Folger Shakespeare Library
referencedIn Vol. IV (ff. 419). 1870-1873.Thomas Carew: Letters rel. to W. C. Hazlitt's; edition of his poems: 1870.Henry Huth, bibliophile: Letters to W. C. Hazlitt: 1867-1878.John Payne Collier: Letters to W. C. Hazlitt: 1863-1874, n.d.Alexander Ireland, writer..., 1870-1873 British Library
referencedIn Vol. V (ff. 286). 1874-1878.Alexander Smith, of Glasgow: Letters to W. C. Hazlitt: 1869-1880.Robert Dodsley, bookseller, of London: Letters rel. to W. C. Hazlitt's edition of his Old Plays: 1874.Henry Huth, bibliophile: Letters to W. C. Hazlitt: 1867..., 1874-1878 British Library
creatorOf Bailey, John E. (John Eglington), 1840-1888. The protestation of 1641-2 in Manchester. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Bailey, John E. Bailey family genealogical notes. Library of Virginia
creatorOf Lamb, Charles, 1775-1834. Charles Lamb collection of papers, 1797-1934 bulk (1797-1836). New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Bailey, John Eglington, 1840-1888,. Autograph letter signed from John Eglington Bailey to Rev. John Tinkler [manuscript], 1885 April 26. Folger Shakespeare Library
referencedIn Ingleby, C. M. (Clement Mansfield), 1823-1886,. Letters to Clement Mansfield Ingleby from various correspondents, 1865-1881. Folger Shakespeare Library
referencedIn Charles Lamb collection of papers, 1797-1934, 1797-1836 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
referencedIn Vol. III (ff. 274). 17 Feb. 1879-5 Oct. 1901.includes:ff. 1, 4, 223, 226, 230-232b Alfred Gillett, of Overleigh, Street, county Somerset: Letters to S. G. Perceval: 1878-1890.f. 2 Edward Laws, Hon. Secretary of Tenby Museum: Letters to S. G. Perc... British Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Bailey, Eleanor H. person
associatedWith Bailey family. family
associatedWith Fuller, Thomas, 1608-1661. person
correspondedWith Ingleby, C. M. (Clement Mansfield), 1823-1886, person
associatedWith Lamb, Charles, 1775-1834. person
associatedWith Lawrence, Matthew. person
correspondedWith Tinkler, John, 1832-1924 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Isle of Wight County (Va.)
Glasgow, Scotland
Southampton County (Va.)
Manchester (England)
Mauritius, Indian Ocean
Mauritius, Indian Ocean
Antiquarian documents
Court rolls
Local history
Letters (documents)
Protestation returns
Title deeds


Birth 1840

Death 1888



Ark ID: w6vx1smv

SNAC ID: 14831471