Ref NoMS/321
TitleCorrespondence of N.J. Winch
AdminHistoryNathaniel John Winch (1768 - 1838) was a botanist with a particular interest in mosses as well as a geologist and merchant.

Winch was born in Hampton, Middlesex, on 20 December 1768. He was bound as an apprentice to Robert Lisle, Hostman, in Newcastle upon Tyne, on 24 December 1780. In 1805 he was elected sheriff and member of the common council of that city. He studied the plants of Northumberland, Cumberland, and Durham throughout his life, and in his publications he placed much emphasis on geographical distribution. His business as an iron merchant and anchor smith failed in 1808, and he became bankrupt.

Winch studied cryptogams, especially mosses, as well as flowering plants, and accumulated a herbarium of some twelve thousand species. He became a Fellow of the Linnean Society in 1803. His main publications included "The Botanist's Guide through Northumberland and Durham" (1805-1807), written in conjunction with John Thornhill and Richard Waugh; "Essay on the geographical distribution of plants through...Northumberland, Cumberland and Durham" (1819); and "Observations on the Geology of Northumberland and Durham" (1814). The genus 'Winchia' was named after him. He acted as secretary to the Newcastle Infirmary for more than 20 years.

Winch died in Newcastle upon Tyne on 5 May 1838. His manuscripts, library, and herbarium were bequeathed to the Linnean Society, but the greater part of them was subsequently handed over to the Natural History Society of Northumberland and Durham. His mineralogical collection was left to the Geological Society.
DescriptionCorrespondence of Nathaniel John Winch, dated 1788-1839, which is bound in 8 volumes. Details of the correspondent, dates, and summaries of the letters are included.The letters are listed according to the order in which they were bound in the volume, which is chronologically, as indicated by the reference at the end of each item (W1.001, W1.002, W1.003 etc).

Topics discussed include Winch's work, requests for and receiving of specimens, opinions of other botanists and zoologists and their work and publications, Winch's activities, the working conditions of coal miners and their lamps, the health of Winch and his family, various learned societies, the purchase of the Allan Museum, letters of introduction, plant identification, family history of the Winch family, and geology.

An index of correspondents produced by Winch for letters received between 1823-1826 and 1831-1834 can be found amongst his own correspondence in MS/321/19.
Date1788 - 1839
Extent8 volumes in 4 boxes
Related MaterialMS/54, MS/390
ArrangementThe letters of Winch are physically arranged chronologically, i.e. in the order that Winch received them, and this catalogue reflects that arrangement.

A finding aid has also been produced, which shows the letters arranged alphabetically by surname of each correspondent, including the number of letters per correspondent. This can be found as a PDF attached to this record.
NotesThe reference listed next to each letter in the catalogue corresponds to the volume and letter number, e.g. W5.013 is the 13th letter in volume 5.
Letters from James Edward Smith to Nathaniel Winch have been catalogued to item level at MS321 as part of the Smith correspondence cataloguing project.


Creator NameWinch, Nathaniel John
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