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Orlando Jewitt (1799–1869)


Thomas Orlando Sheldon Jewitt, the famous wood engraver usually known as Orlando Jewitt, was born in 1799, and on 18 August was baptised in Sheffield at St Peter's Cathedral. He was one of the seventeen children of Arthur Jewitt and his wife Mary,

On 27 September 1829 Orlando Jewitt married Phoebe Stanley at Duffield, Derbyshire, and their three daughters were born there: Susanna Martha (1831), Ada Elizabeth (1833), and Phoebe Jane (1836).

They then moved to Headington and lived at Church House (14 St Andrew's Road) from at least 1838 until they moved to London in the mid-1850s. Their only son Walter Sheldon Jewitt was baptised at St Andrew's Church in Headington on 28 August 1842.

Orlando attracted other wood engravers to Old Headington, including members of his own artistic family. By the time of the 1841 census the following lived in Headington:

Joe Pullen's Tree
Above: Engraving of Joe†Pullenís†Tree in Pullenís
Lane, Headington by Orlando Jewitt from an
original drawing by W.†A. Delamotte. It appeared
in James Ingramís
Memorials of Oxford, published
in three volumes between 1832 and 1836.

Church House,
St Andrew’s Road

  • Orlando Jewitt himself with his wife Phoebe and their first three children
  • George Jewitt (Orlando’s brother), a letter-press printer
  • Edward Bower (Orlando’s apprentice), a wood-engraver

A house in St Andrew’s Lane

  • Arthur Jewitt (Orlando’s father, a widower), who is described as an artist, and Clara Jewitt (Orlando’s sister)
  • Theodore Jewitt (Orlando’s brother), a wood engraver who was later to marry Emma Knowles
  • Llewellyn Jewitt (Orlando’s brother), a wood engraver, his wife Elizabeth, and their baby daughter,

Old High Street

  • Henry Jewitt (Orlando’s brother), an “engraver on wood”, and his wife Rebecca, sharing a house with a labourer’s family.
  • John Heaviside, an “engraver on wood”, lodging with the blacksmith in Old High Street
  • William Reynolds, an engraver,
    living independently in Old High Street

Staying at the Britannia

  • Henry Burrows, an engraver,
    presumably newly arrived.

This team of ten must have been responsible for most of the engraved pictures in Oxford at this time.

In 1841 Orlando Jewitt's mother-in-law Susanna Stanley died in Headington, and the following notice was published in Jackson's Oxford Journal: “Sept. 22, at Headington, near this city, aged 82, Mrs. Stanley, late of Duffield Bank near Derby, and mother of Mrs. O. Jewitt, of Headington.” She was buried in St Andrew's churchyard.

The marriage of Orlando's brother Theodore Jewitt at St Andrew's Church in Headington on 19 March 1842 to Emma, youngest daughter of Thomas Knowles, was announced in Jackson's Oxford Journal.

St Andrew’s Church

When Orlando Jewitt drew and then engraved the image of St Andrew’s Church (right) that was published in 1842 in A Guide to the Architectural Antiquities in the Neighbourhood of Oxford, he was probably sitting in his own house opposite the church.

He did fourteen other engravings to accompany the architectural description of the church, which he wrote himself.

Three of Orlando Jewitt's brothers also had children baptised at St Andrew’s Church between 1842 and 1848 on the dates shown below:

  • Henry Jewitt & Rebecca: William Henry Jewitt (5 June 1842) and Alfred Charles Jewitt (24 August 1845)
  • Theodore Jewitt & Emma Knowles: Mary Jewitt (3 June 1843); Thomas Edwin Jewitt (14 July 1844);
    and Theodore Edward Jewitt (24 August 1845)
  • Llewellyn Jewitt & Elizabeth Sage: Llewellyn Frederick Williams Jewitt (3 September 1848).

Orlando was listed as one of ten men suitable to serve as a parish constable of Headington in 1844 and 1845.

Orlando's brother Theodore Jewitt was presumably living in Plymouth when his wife Emma Jewitt (née Knowles) died of consumption at Devonshire Cottages, Plymouth on 26 March 1851. Her death was announced in Jackson's Oxford Journal.

At the time of the 1851 census, Orlando Jewitt and his wife and four children were living at Church House, looked after by a 16-year-old Irish servant girl. He was shown as the employer of five men, who were probably the following, all living locally in 1851:

  • William Whatmough, Orlando's nephew, living with Orlando’s father in St Andrew’s Lane
  • W. P. Goward, lodging at the White Hart in St Andrew’s Road
  • Henry Jewitt, Orlando's brother, now with his own house at “the west end of the village”
  • Theodore Jewitt, Orlando's brother, now living in the parish of St Peter’s-in-the-East in Oxford
  • Henry Burrows, now settled on Headington Hill with his new wife Sarah and their children.

Meanwhile by 1851 the wood engraver William Reynolds had settled in Barton Manor with his new wife Martha Henrietta. He was listed as a wood engraver in his own right in Headington directories at this time, and so presumably was no longer an employee of Orlando Jewitt. On 1 April 1855 the death of his only surviving son, George, at the age of nine was announced in Jackson's Oxford Journal.

Orlando’s father Arthur Jewitt died on his 80th birthday on 7 March 1852 and was buried in St Andrew’s churchyard.

On 4 November 1852 Orlando was recommended for election on to the committee of the Oxford Architectural Society.

An advertisement in Jackson's Oxford Journal on 29 April 1854 shows that Orlando Jewitt was then the representative in Headington of the Royal Farmers' and General Insurance Company.

In 1855 Orlando was appointed Churchwarden of St Andrew’s Church, but by the end of the year made an apparently sudden decision to move to London. The following advertisement of a forthcoming sale at his home, Church House, appeared in Jackson's Oxford Journal on 15 December 1855:

SALE NEXT THURSDAY OF
HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE, Turning Lathe, Joiners' Tool and Work Benches, quantity of new Deal Panelling, Doors and Shelves, Electrical Machine, Fowling Piece and long Duck Gun, Dr. Arnott's Stove, Kitchen Range, 3 Hives of Bees and Stands, Wheelbarrows, Rabbit Hutches, Garden Tools; nearly new Greenhouse, 14 feet by 9, with stage, &c., complete; about 200 Greenhouse Plants, comprising a choice collection of succulent plants, mesembryanthemums, cacalias, echeverias, crassulas, &c., the finest named fuchsias, ferns, geraniums, cinerarias, chrysanthemums, veronicas, &c., and other miscellaneous effects (the property of Mr. O. Jewitt, who is removing to London.

Orlando Jewitt and his family had moved out by 28 June 1856, when Church House was put up for sale and described as vacant. By the time of the 1861 census his brothers and other employees had also disappeared from Headington, suggesting that they may have moved to London with him.

Orlando Jewitt died at Clifton Villas, Camden Square on on 30 May 1869, and the following obituary was published in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 19 June 1869:

Jewitt obituary

Orlando's brother Llewellyn[n] Jewitt was an amateur archaeologist who discovered the Roman villa at Wick Farm, Headington: see more about his discovery on the Romans in Headington page


There is a much fuller entry on Orlando Jewitt in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
The ODNB online is available free to many public library users, including those in Oxfordshire:
enter L followed immediately by your library ticket number in the “Library Card Login” box

© Stephanie Jenkins

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