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John Bathurst Deane (27 August 1797 – 12 July 1887) was a clergyman, schoolmaster, antiquary, and author.[1][2]

Born at the Cape of Good Hope in 1797, Deane was the second son of Captain Charles Meredith Deane, of the 24th Light Dragoons, and was educated at Merchant Taylors' School, which at that time was in the City of London, and at Pembroke College, Cambridge.[3] On 19 July 1816 he was baptised at St Mary's Chapel, Parish of St Swithin's, Walcot, Somerset,[4] and matriculated at Cambridge a few weeks later, graduating BA in 1820, promoted to MA in 1823. He was ordained a deacon at Exeter in 1821 and a priest in 1823. From 1836 to 1855 he was a schoolmaster at his old school, rising to head of mathematics, and for part of that time was also curate of St Benet Fink and of St Michael's, Wood Street. In 1855 he was appointed as Vicar of Bishopsgate, London, and Rector of St Helen's, Bishopsgate, with which parish St Martin Outwich was combined in 1874. He kept these benefices until 1887.[3]

On 15 June 1822 he married Caroline Lemprière, the daughter of John Lemprière, at St Nicholas's church, Shaldon, Devon.[5] She died at the age of twenty-seven.

On 22 March 1834, Deane married secondly a Miss Louisa Elizabeth Fourdrinier, of Tottenham,[6] and they had thirteen children, including Hugh Pollexsen Deane (1837), Henry Allen Murray Deane, Walter Meredith Deane (1841), Mary Deane, Sophia Deane, Eleanor Deane, Emmeline Deane, and Augusta Deane.[7] His father-in-law, Sealy Fourdrinier (1773–1847) and his older brother Henry (1766–1854) had invented the paper machine, but had gone bankrupt in developing it.[8]

Deane belonged to the Society of Antiquaries and its Council and also to the Antiquarians' Club. In 1843 he was one of the founders of the British Archaeological Association and, in 1844, of the Royal Archaeological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. In his historical work, Deane found widespread traces of serpent worship, which he connected with the rise of polytheism, in the cultures of Persia, India, China, Mexico, Anatolia, and Phoenicia, and also in the paganism of Europe.[9]

Deane's daughter Eleanor, who was the tenth child in the family,[7] became the mother of P. G. Wodehouse,[10] another daughter was the novelist Mary Bathurst Deane, and a third, Emmeline (died 1944), became an artist and painted her father's portrait.[11] His son Walter Meredith Deane (1840-1906) was a civil servant in Hong Kong.[12]

He died at Bath, Somerset, a few weeks short of his 90th birthday.[13] His address at the time of his death was Sion Hill, Bath. He left a widow, Louisa Elizabeth Deane, and an estate valued at £10,968.[14] After his death, his widow and four unmarried daughters moved to Box, Wiltshire, where their house became P. G. Wodehouse's home address while his parents were in Hong Kong.[15] Deane's widow, Louisa Elizabeth, then of Cheney Court, Box, died in 1892 leaving £9,530.[16]


  • The Worship of the Serpent (1830)
  • Observations on Dracontia (1833)
  • On the Church and Chapters (1840)
  • The Life of Richard Deane, Admiral and General of the Forces under Cromwell (1870)
  • Roman Legions in Britain (incomplete manuscript at his death)


  1. ^ "John Bathurst Deane". Memorial Biographies of the New-England Historic Genealogic Society: 1880-1889. Vol. VIIII. Boston: The New-England Historic Genealogic Society. 1907. pp. 302–303.
  2. ^ "John Bathurst Deane". Genealogia familiae. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Deane, John Bathurst" in Alumni Cantabrigienses, Part II. 1752–1900, vol. ii. Chalmers – Fytche (1944), p. 264
  4. ^ Register of Baptisms in Chapel of St Mary, Walcot Bath, p. 145, entry 1156
  5. ^ Devon: Bishop's Transcripts for Shaldon St Nicholas, in 1822
  6. ^ "Marriages" in The Gentleman's Magazine dated July 1834, p. 101
  7. ^ a b The Family Forest Descendants of Lady Joan Beaufort (Millisecond Publishing), p. 2789
  8. ^ "Fourdrinier, Henry", in Dictionary of National Biography (London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900)
  9. ^ Colin Kidd,The Forging of Races: Race and Scripture in the Protestant Atlantic World (2006), p. 120
  10. ^ Burke's Peerage, volume 2 (2003), page 2164
  11. ^ Christopher Wright, Catherine May Gordon, Mary Peskett Smith, British and Irish Paintings in Public Collections (Yale University Press, 2006), p. 296
  12. ^ "Deane, Walter Meridith" in Alumni Cantabrigienses, Part II, vol. ii (1944), p. 264
  13. ^ Proceedings of the New England Historic Genealogical Society 1888 , p. 23: "John Bathurst Deane, M.A., F.S.A., a corresponding member, born at the Cape of Good Hope, August 27, 1797; died at Bath, England, July 12, 1887.
  14. ^ "Deane, The Reverend John Bathurst", in Probate Index for 1887 at, accessed 9 August 2016
  15. ^ Roderick Easdale, The Novel Life of PG Wodehouse (Andrews Ltd, 2014), p. 40
  16. ^ "Deane, Louisa Elizabeth", in Probate Index for 1892 at, accessed 9 August 2016