Coleman, William Higgins (1812 – 63)

William H Coleman was born in 1812, son of John and Constantia Coleman.  He was baptised in Finsbury, London.   He was educated as at St John’s College, Cambridge, graduating in 1836, and awarded an M.A in 1838.  He was later ordained deacon and priest by the Bishop of Lincoln.

He was a master at Christ’s Hospital, Hertford.  Between 1840 and 1847, he was involved in the preparation of the “Flora Hertfordiensis” with the Rev. R H Webb.   This was the first county based flora that used districts based on river basins / soil / geology.  A supplement to this was published in 1851, and then a second in 1859.


His paper “On the geographical distribution of British plants” appeared in The Phytologist (Vol 3, p 217).


He is associated with Oenanthe fluviatilis, Carex boenninghauseniana, and Rubus colemanni (dedicated to him by Andrew Blox(h)am).

He also contributed to Sir Oswald Mosley’s “Natural History of Tutbury”, and later worked on the more difficult of the poetical passages of the Old Testament – publishing a paper on ‘The eighteenth Chapter of Isaiah‘ (1863) in the Journal of Biblical Literature.

He was sometime a master at The Grammar School at Ashby-de-la-Zouch.   He died in 1863 (12th September) at Burton on Trent, and was buried at All Saints and St Johns, Hertford (on the 19th September).   His sister, Constantia, was executor of his modest estate.

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