Ref NoMS/18
TitleBotanical notebook - Thomas Lawson
AdminHistoryThomas Lawson (1630-1691) was born in 1630 and was baptised on 10 October 1630 at Lawkland in the parish of Clapham, Yorkshire. He was born to [it is thought], Thomas Lawson, and his wife, Elizabeth. He had two elder sisters, Margaret and Elizabeth. He was educated at Giggleswick School, the local grammar school, and was admitted sizar of Christ's College, Cambridge 25 July 1650. In the early 1650s Lawson became a Preacher at Rampside, Low Furness, but converted to Quakerism following a meeting with a visiting preacher, George Fox, the founder of the Society of Friends (commonly known as the Quakers or Friends). He had run-ins with the law, following his conversion, particularly after he set up a school in Great Strickland, Westmoreland. He was also excommunicated.

Lawson was also a keen botanist and, following the closure of his school in the 1670s, he was taken in by Margaret Fell (wife of George Fox) at Swarthmoor. Here he instructed Fell's daughters in botany. He was also the correspondent of John Ray who described him as a "diligent, industrious and skilful botanist". He collected plant specimens to create a herbarium and sent some of his specimens to R. Morison (who wrote 'Plantarum Historiae Universalis Oxoniensis v. 3, 1699) and his plant records were used by John Wilson in 'Synopsis of British Plants in Mr Ray's Method' (1744). Lawson did a tour of England in 1677, collecting and observing plants, and he recorded the details of these in a notebook.

Lawson married Frances Wilkinson on 24 March 1658 and they settled at Great Strickland in Westmorland. They had four children: Ruth (b. 1660), Deborah (b. 1663), Hannah (b. 1688) and Jonah (b. 1670). He died at Great Strickland, Westmoreland, on 12 November 1691.
DescriptionNotebook by Thomas Lawson containing extensive botanical locality records for English plants, as well as some theological notes. The notebook, which is paginated and bound in contemporary leather, contains the following:

- Miscellaneous notes, including names and addresses (pp. 1-2)
- List of plants extracted from printed books and classified according to the English counties (arranged alphabetically amd ending with Wales, the Isle of Man and the Isle of Anglesey). Search list for plants containing the English counties in alphabetical order, following by Wales and the Isle of Man, and the names of plants, in alphabetical order under each county (pp. 3-178)
- Tour notes relating to his tour around England in 1677 and containing a list of plants observed (pp. 179-194)
- Blank (pp. 195-223)
- Note from religious commentary by John Trapp (p. 224)
- Notes on tithe, used in the compilation of 'A Treatise Relating' (pp. 225-228)
- Tour notes relating to plants seen at Westminster garden in 1677 with plants arranged according to the various paths and beds (pp. 229-244)
- Notes of plants seen at 'Micham & Casalton' [Mitcham & Carshalton] and Banstead, as well as notes of plants extracted from Merret and headed 'Isle of Wight' (p. 245)
- Notes and extracts from religious commentaries, mainly from the work of Rudolph (Hospinian (1547-1626) and John Trapp (1601-1669) (pp. 247-298) N.B. p. 271 contains a list of fish and turtles.
- Tour notes including more on Westminster garden, references to Cambridge and Kent and then a list of plants seen in Oxford garden (pp. 299-327)
- Itinerary of tour (pp. 326-327)
- Miscellaneous notes (pp. 327-329)

Also includes 2 loose letters (inserted at beginning of book) between Mr Reginald L. Hine and Professor G.R. de Beer relating to the donation of the notebook to the Linnean Society in 1947 by Hine.
Datec.1676 - c.1677
Extent1 bound volume
NotesSee article entitled 'Thomas Lawson's Note-Book' by C.E. Raven in the Proceedings of the Linnean Society (vol. 160, 1947/1948, pp. 3-12) for further details.
AcquisitionThe notebook, which had been preserved as an heirloom by descendants of Lawson, had been given by a descendant, Mr Lawson Thompson (d. 1919), to Mr Reginald L. Hine of Hitchin. Hitchin, through Dr J.G. Dony, allowed C.E. Raven of the Linnean Society to examine the notebook and in October 1947 Hitchin donated the notebook to the Linnean Society. See two letters at the beginning of the book, dated 31 October - 25 November 1947.
Finding_AidsSee article by C. E. Raven in Proc. Linn.Soc.Lond., 160, 1947/1948 , p.3-12
Creator NameLawson, Thomas
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