The Reverend John HEYSHAM, Vicar of Lazonby, died on Monday last, after a protracted illness, at the age of 84. The family is one of the most ancient in the North of England. They had been long planted in the district of Lancashire from which their names is derived, and which derived its name from HESSA a Saxon chief.
After the Conquest the manor appears in the rolls as HESSAM, and its proprietor, one of the followers of William of Normandy, assumed the name "de Hessam." In the reign of Henry III, Roger de HESHAM was Lord of the Manor of Heysham. In the early part of the seventeenth century a member of the family was a citizen of Lancaster.
He had two sons, Gyles and John, the former of whom attained distinction among the merchants of London, while the latter remained in Lancashire, where he had a large family. One of his sons, Gyles, married the daughter of a Westmorland "statesman," Mr. CUMMING, and by her had a son who afterwards became a leading citizen of Carlisle. We of course refer to Dr. John HEYSHAM, whose memoir by Dr LONSDALE is the most interesting and valuable of all the latter's literary works.
The doctor graduated in Edinburgh, and after a period of study in Holland, he settled in Carlisle in 1778. It is not requisite that we should recount the course of a life which filled so large a space in local history, and which has been dealt with so fully in an accessible form; but we may say that his laborious and careful record of the deaths in Carlisle, extended over nine years, formed for more than a generation the basis of the soundest actuarial tables of mortality, and was generally adopted, not only by assurance societies in this country, but in France, Germany, and the United States.
His observations on the comparative mortality of different diseases were also as valuable as they were minute. There is even now among us a class who may be benefited by the knowledge that in the nine years of Dr. HEYSHAM'S observations 241 persons died of smallpox in Carlisle; but after vaccination was introduced, in 1880, twelve years elapsed without a single death from that disease!
In 1789 the doctor married Mary Elizabeth, the daughter of Alderman COULTHARD, who was twice Mayor of Carlisle. They had four sons and three daughters. Of the sons, John Coulthard HEYSHAM died in infancy; William, adjutant of the 53rd Bengal Native Infantry, died in 1825, aged 29; Thomas Coulthard HEYSHAM, an eminent naturalist, died in Carlisle in 1857, aged 66; James HEYSHAM, a lieutenant in the Navy, died at Borrans Hill, in 1870; and John HEYSHAM, Vicar of Lazonby, died last Monday, aged 84. Of the daughters, Mary HEYSHAM, died in 1808; and Isabella, wife of the late G. G. MOUNSEY, Esq., died in 1848. The only survivor of the family of this distinguished "local worthy" is Miss Anna HEYSHAM of Castle Street, Carlisle. The respected clergyman who died this week has held the living of Lazonby for thirty years. While his strength remained he was assiduous in his attention to his magisterial and other duties, he being rarely absent from the weekly meetings of the Penrith Bench, and at Quarter Sessions he was always to be seen beside his venerated friend, the late Mr. HASELL.