E.H. Whinfield (1835–1922)

Edward Henry Whinfield was born on 28th August 1835 and baptised two days later at Bradford–on–Avon, Wiltshire (1) The 1841 census tells us that, aged 5, he was living with his parents, Edward Turner Whinfield (2) and Mary Ann Whinfield (aged 45 and 35 respectively) in Bradford Leigh, a village near Bradford–on–Avon. He had a sister Ellen (aged 3) and a brother Charles (aged 1).

In February 1850 EHW was sent to Rugby School, Warwickshire (3). In the 1851 census, now aged 15, he is recorded as being a scholar at the school. Back home, again according to the 1851 census, his sister Ellen, now aged 13, is still with her parents, and EHW now has another brother, Pennington, aged 7 (4). Meanwhile, his brother Charles, now aged 10, is recorded as being at school in Wyke Regis (Weymouth.) We shall encounter Charles William Whinfield, to give him his full name, later. Suffice it to say here that he was destined to serve in the Royal Engineers, mostly in England and Ireland, but with some duty in Bermuda and Canada, and that he was to rise to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel before his retirement in 1883 (5).

In June 1854, EHW matriculated at Christ Church College, Oxford, and shortly afterwards was awarded a demyship (effectively a scholarship) at Magdalene College, Oxford, where he remained until 1859, being awarded his BA in that year, his MA following in 1863.(6) However, in December 1858 he had already passed the examinations to enter the Indian Civil Service (7a), and he actually sailed for India on 20th January 1859 (7b). By December of that year he had become the assistant to the magistrate and collector (= collector of land revenues) at Behar (now Bihar) (7c), and by 1861 he was appointed to officiate as joint magistrate and deputy collector at Rungpore (now Rangpur) (7d). He served here until October 1862, when he was granted fifteen months leave of absence (7e), returning to England, where he arrived at Southampton on board the Ceylon from Calcutta, on or around 1st December 1862.(7f)

His movements in England are unknown, but we do know that at the Parish Church of St Luke, Chelsea, on 11th December 1863, EHW (aged 28) married Eleanor Hutchings (aged 22). The wedding register tells us that at the time of the marriage Eleanor was a resident of Rugby, Warwickshire (where EHW went to school, of course) and EHW himself a (temporary) resident of Chelsea. (8)

Next, we know that EHW had passed his law exams at the Middle Temple on 26th January 1864. (9) By August 1864 he was back in India, for we find him as the assistant to the magistrate and collector of Rajshahye [now Rajshahi] (7g). His career for the next few years involves a complex sequence of repeats of his magistrate and collector roles, with deputations, promotions etc, in various places in India. The year of 1865 was a particularly busy one, for EHW served in Chumparun [now Champaran], this post in addition to that at Rajshahye; in Barh plus the districts of Patna and Monghyr; and in Sarun (7h). He continued in Sarun, with promotion, in 1866 (7i); Noakhally [Noakhali] in 1867, where he was also appointed to be secretary to the local committee for public instruction (7j); Sarun again in 1869 (7k); and Mymensing [Mymensingh] in 1871 (7l).

Then comes a break. On 25th April 1871, now on leave, EHW and his wife left Calcutta for Southampton on board the Peninsular and Oriental ship Delhi, arriving on 3rd June (10). On 5th December 1872, they returned from Southampton to Calcutta aboard a Peninsular and Oriental Company Steamer (11). Their movements during this period in England are not known.

In January 1873 he was back in Mymensing (7m). In 1874 he was at Burdwan [Bardhaman], reporting on the effects of the Bengal Famine there, and he was still there in 1875 (7n). In 1876, still at Burdwan, he was promoted (7o) and he remained in post there until 1877, when he was granted leave (7p). He returned to England, arriving there in the second week of December 1877 (7q) Thereafter the picture becomes rather confusing, for in 1878 EHW is both on leave and promoted (7r). What is clear, though, is that EHW resigned on 8th February 1879, and subsequently retired on a graded pension (7s). Quite when he actually stopped working, though, is not clear, for in February 1879 we know that he was also appointed to be magistrate and collector at Backergunge, whilst also acting as magistrate and collector at Cuttack (7t), so that one is tempted to wonder if it was the work–load which contributed to his resignation and retirement. But whatever the reasons and the resulting timetable of events, he was certainly back in England early in 1881.

During his time in India, EHW published a number of professional manuals – The Collectorate Handbook: being an abridgement of the acts, regulations and precedents relating to the administration of the revenue department in the Royal Presidency (1866), The law of landlord and tenant as administered in the courts of the Bengal Presidency (1869), and The revenue and the practice of the Revenue Department in the Lower Provinces of Bengal: being a 2nd revised edition of the Collectorate handbook (1874). Of more interest to readers of the present article, it was also whilst in India that he published his translation of the The Gulshan–i–Raz of Najm ud Din, otherwise called Said ad Din Mahmud Shabistari Tabrizi (Wyman & Co., Calcutta, 1876; reprinted in London in 1880, as one of the volumes in Trübner’s Oriental Series.)

In the 1881 census EHW and his wife are recorded as visitors at the Temperance Hotel, 20 Market Place, Rugby (again!), run by George and Ann Hogg. EHW’s profession is listed as “Barrister – not in practice.”

In 1882 we know that he joined the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, to whose Journal he made various interesting contributions over the coming years (12).

In 1882 and 1883, of course, he published, again in Trübner’s Oriental Series, his well–known translations of The Quatrains of Omar Khayyam. The first consisted of 253 quatrains, the second a considerably enlarged edition of 500 (this time with their Persian originals), though one would assume that his work on this began much earlier, presumably back in India. Unfortunately, he tells us nothing about himself or the history of his endeavours in either of his Introductions. In the Introduction to the later edition he does complain about “large number of quatrains in praise of wine, and exhortations to live for the day, which recur in the MSS with most wearisome frequency” (p.xvi), but whether this is connected to his choice of the Temperance Hotel in Rugby in 1881 is not known.

On 11th July 1886, at Ravensbury, Dartmouth (in the district of Totnes) in Devonshire, Eleanor Whinfield died, aged 44 (13).

In 1887, again in Trübner’s Oriental Series, EHW first published: Masnavi i Manavi, the spiritual couplets of Maulana Jalalud–Din Muhammad i Rumi. [Reprinted in London & Edinburgh, 1898, by Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co.]

On 28th August 1889, EHW (aged 53), married Susannah Georgina Baker (his cousin, aged 35) at the Church of Tellisford, Somerset (14). We get a rare glimpse of EHW’s personal life in an account of the wedding given in The Bristol Mercury, 31st August 1889 (p.6), under the heading “Fashionable Wedding at Tellisford”

Yesterday the marriage of Mr Edward Henry Whinfield (the bride’s cousin), late of the Bengal Civil Service, of Ravensbury, Dartmouth, and Upper Norwood, Surrey, to Miss Susanna (sic) Georgina Baker, younger daughter of the late Rev C. F. Baker, many years rector of Tellisford, near Read, Somerset, was solemnised in the pretty parish church of Tellisford, in splendid summer sunshine and the presence of a numerous congregation from all the district round, as the family has lived amongst the parishioners for a generation...The young couple departed in the afternoon for Devon and Cornwall to spend the honeymoon...

The dots, incidentally, replace a lengthy description of the floral decoration of the church, the dress of the bride and those of the bridesmaids, the wedding presents, and the fact that the couple left the church to the strains of Mendelssohn’s Wedding March, amidst a shower of rice, and with “the school–children strewing flowers in their pathway.” The wedding party included, we are told, Colonel (actually Lieutenant–Colonel) Whinfield – that is, EHW’s younger brother, Charles William (15).

For some unknown reason, there is no record of EHW and his new wife in the 1891 census, and the next thing we know is that Susannah Whinfield died, aged 43, on the 23rd June 1897 at Beulah Hill, Norwood, Croydon (16), an address which was to be EHW’s for the remainder of his life. Her death must have been a huge blow to one who had lost his first wife at a similarly early age, and especially since she was eighteen years younger than him. Not only that, his brother Charles died on 31st August 1893, aged only 53, being survived by his wife, Mary Eliza Whinfield (17).

In the 1901 census, EHW, now aged 65, is head of the household at 63, Beulah Hill, Norwood, Croydon. Living with him are Mary E. Whinfield (visitor, widow, aged 58) and Rosemary Whinfield (niece, single, aged 30), plus 4 servants, his gardener’s mother and his gardener’s sister! EHW’s profession is listed as “Retired Indian Civil Service.” As we have just seen, Mary E. Whinfield was the widow of EHW’s brother Charles, and Rosemary (or Rose Mary) was one of their children.

In 1906 the Royal Asiatic Society published the first edition of his translation of Lawaih – a Treatise on Sufism by Nur–ud–Din Abd–ur–Rahman Jami. It was reprinted with corrections in 1914, with a second edition appearing in 1928, after EHW’s death.

In the 1911 census, aged 75, EHW, “(Retired) Magistrate & Collector Bengal Civil Service” is still at the same address with Mary Whinfield now in residence – she is here listed as his widowed sister–in–law, aged 68. Still resident is his niece Rose Whinfield, aged 40, still single (= Rosemary of the 1901 census), plus three servants.

The 1921 census is not yet online, but actually it doesn’t take much to plug the gap, for the Register of Deaths for the second quarter of 1922 records EHW’s death in Croydon at the age of 86. The Deaths column on the front page of The Times for 17th April, 1922, under WHINFIELD, simply says, “On the 14th April at St Margaret’s, Beulah–hill, Norwood, Edward Henry Whinfield, late Bengal Civil Service, aged 86.” His death certificate adds little to this, save to say that he died at home with his niece in attendance, and that her address at the time of his death was still 63, Beulah Hill, Norwood (the house name being St Margaret’s.)

The foregoing has traced EHW’s life in chronological sequence, his civil service career, I’m afraid, being successful, routine, not particularly distinguished, and rather dull reading. Much more interesting is to back–track slightly and look at an exchange of letters which took place in January and February 1897 between EHW and Edward Heron–Allen (EHA) about the latter’s work on the Ouseley manuscript of The Rubaiyat in the Bodleian Library, Oxford and FitzGerald’s use of it (18). Mostly the letters cover technical points of translation, dictionary use, extant manuscripts, reconstructing the ‘genuine’ text of Omar and such like, but some things are of a more general interest and are perhaps worth recording here.

In a letter dated 4th February 1897 EHA queried FitzGerald’s transliteration from Persian in his title Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, calling it “thin and unsatisfactory, besides being inexact.” He himself inclined, he said, to the opinion that it should have been Rubaghyat i Omar i Khayyam, and if EHW agreed with him, he would “attack the established usage & chance the outcry among the frock coats” who “perform pagan ceremonies of horticulture at poor EFG’s grave.”

But in a letter dated 8th February 1897 EHW replied to say that he was sorry, but he could not approve of EHA’s transliteration, and he gave various technical reasons why not. He also added the useful comment:

In transliteration one excellent rule (long since laid down in India) is that when a foreign word has become very familiar to English readers in one form, that form even though incorrect should not be altered. Thus we do not write Kalikta for Calcutta &c and even on the same principle I should hesitate to alter the familiar Omar to Umar or Humar (as in Sacred Books of the East) and in no possible case could I bring myself to write Ghumar!

Thus FitzGerald’s title lived to fight another day and the members of the Omar Khayyam Club were saved from the threatened attack.

There seems to be at least one missing letter at this stage, and a minor uncertainty over the date of one letter, but it would appear that they had discussed an already published edition of Nathan Haskell Dole’s (presumably Potter # 575, which had been published in 1896 (19)) and the forthcoming version(s) of Richard le Gallienne (Potter #342–5.) In an undated letter, but probably sent early on 19th February 1897 (by the postmark), EHW said he had not seen “the work of Nathan H. Dole (phoebus what a name!)” and would like to borrow a copy proffered by EHA, who owned two. In his reply to this, dated 19th February 1897 (ie later the same day as the foregoing), and which obviously accompanied the loaned copy of Dole’s book, EHA made the following interesting comment about its availability:

As it impinges all the European copyrights the people at the customs keep a sharp look out for it, & no bookseller can get a copy into this country. I got a friend to send me two copies, one to use, the other to lend. This is the first journey of my ‘lending’ copy.

In his above–mentioned letter of 19th February, EHW had said that “about a year ago” he had had a letter from Mr Le Gallienne “asking leave to print some of my renderings in a variorum edition for some Boston Literary Society, but I have heard no more of it since.” He asked if EHA knew if it had been published. Again in his letter dated 19th February 1897, EHA replied:

I have heard nothing of Mr Gallien’s (sic) book. I have a lively objection to that young man, his bisexual French pseudonym, and all his works. (20) My interest in Omar is profound, but the Omar Club – retro Sathanas! The society of my fellow man is agreeable to me, but not when it is disguised in a white waistcoat, a wreath of roses, & a garment of cheap epigrams, and does not know the Abjad (21) by sight.

EHW shared this view of the Omar cult, having already expressed his opinion in his letter of 19th February: “I must say the Omar cult with its myths is to my taste rather wearisome.” Nevertheless, EHA features in the guest lists in both the first and the second Books of the Omar Khayyam Club of London, whereas EHW does not.

Our next letter from this series is one from EHW to EHA dated 22nd February 1897. It is well worth quoting in full, as it gives us the most detailed views we have of EHW’s views on Omar, his Rubaiyat, FitzGerald and Nathan Haskell Dole:

I return Nathan with thanks. He prints everything about Omar good, bad or indifferent, but throughout it all never lets go his strait Omaric creed, to wit:

1) There is no poet like Omar and EFG is his prophet.

2) The Omar Scriptures do not mean what they say but what EFG makes them say, or at least if they were written now, they would say what EFG says.

3) They are to be accursed who say that Omar occasionally lapsed into pietism or mysticism.

4) Omar was Fin de Siècle, Decadent, Pagan, Epicurean, Pessimist, Satanic and nothing more, or (if he were anything more) it is briefly comprehended in the term ‘Agnostic’ which faith excepts everyone &c (? reading uncertain).

All of which I steadfastly deny. Omar was not a unique poet but all his ideas are Persian common form eg half the poets there pose as kaffirs now and then; EFG’s rendering of him (though a most brilliant performance) gives only one side of him & exaggerates that; all the talk about Omar’s moderness is nonsense unless Job and Ecclesiastes are modern, and leaves out of sight the 8 centuries gap between his point of view and ours. Lastly, Omar was no ‘Agnostic’ in our sense. He did not treat the existence of God as an open question. On the contrary he believed it implicit and also much about Predestination and other disquieting features of the Muslim’s creed about Allah & it was this belief that made him revolt against God’s (supposed) injustice.

It was not God’s existence that he disputed but his justice.

He has always got Predestination on his mind and, like a nightmare, sometimes he tries to forget it for a moment by dwelling on the doctrine of free grace, and sometimes gets so far as to question whether the theologians may be mistaken after all. Some Muslim doctrines he did no doubt absolutely disbelieve – eg the Houris &c – and this constituted him a Kafir in the Muslim sense but certainly not an ‘Agnostic’ who simply holds in suspense his judgement on the existence of God and future state &c &c &c declining to confirm or deny, & waives the subject as beyond the limits of thought.

The people who call Omar modern, implying that his point of view was exactly like ours entirely lack the ‘historic sense’. They commit just the same faults as uneducated readers of the Scriptures who treat all the Scripture imagery and rhetoric as if it were plain penny a line British prose.

However, I am glad to have seen Nathan’s book and am much obliged to you for lending it to me.

There are four later letters from EHW to EHA in the West Sussex Office archives (18), though none of them is as revealing as the foregoing. The first, dated 23rd November 1897, contains two items of interest, however:

A friend has sent me the enclosed extract from Elphinstone’s Cabul about Omar. I pass it on to you as it may interest you. The Zaqqa referred to was evidently the Omar Khayyam Club of the period who stripped Omar of all his philosophy and thought him a mere “hog from the sty of Epicurus.”

In Jarrett’s translation of the Ain i Akbari vol.II there is recorded a saying of Akbar’s about Omar viz that an ode of Hafiz is the wine and a quatrain of Omar the relish.

Jarrett was H.S. Jarrett, and his translation of vol.2 of Ain–i–Akbari (Institutes of Akbar) was published in 1891. “Elphinstone’s Cabul” was Mountstuart Elphinstone’s Account of the Kingdom of Caubul &c first published in two volumes in 1815, with a second edition following in 1819. It is not just its early account of Omar that makes it of interest, it is also that Zaqqa (Zukkee) context, for which reason I quote it in full here:

Another sect which is sometimes confounded with the Soofees, is one which bears the name of Moollah Zukkee, who was its great patron in Caubul. Its followers hold, that all the prophets were impostors, and all revelation an invention. They seem very doubtful of the truth of a future state, and even of the being of a God. Their tenets appear to be very ancient, and are precisely those of the old Persian poet Kheioom, whose works exhibit such specimens of impiety, as probably never were equalled in any other language. Kheioom dwells particularly on the existence of evil, and taxes the Supreme Being with the introduction of it, in terms which can scarcely be believed. The Soofees have unaccountably pressed this writer into their service; they explain away some of his blasphemies by forced interpretations, and others they represent as innocent freedoms and reproaches, such as a lover may pour out against his beloved The followers of Moollah Zukkee are said to take the full advantage of their release from the fear of hell, and the awe of a Supreme Being, and to be the most dissolute and unprincipled profligates in the kingdom. Their opinions, nevertheless, are cherished in secret, and are said to be very prevalent among the licentious nobles of the court of Shauh Mahmood. (Second edition, vol.1, p.330–1.)

The next letter, dated 13th January 1898 basically just thanks EHA for sending him a copy of his facsimile edition of the Bodleian manuscript of Omar. This letter is reproduced here as Figs.1a & 1b, and we shall return to it later. A letter dated the day after basically makes various comments on technical points of EHA’s translation, and finishes with this comment, “By the way, the phrase ‘about it and about’ is from Carlyle’s Cromwell Introduction.”

The phase “about it and about” occurs in the third line of v.27 of FitzGerald’s first edition, of course, but I’m not sure that EHW is on the right track here, for he seems to have this in mind from Thomas Carlyle’s book Oliver Cromwell’s Letters and Speeches: with Elucidations (1845):

To Dryasdust, who wishes merely to compile torpedo Histories of the philosophical or other sorts, and gain immortal laurels for himself by writing about it and about it, all this is sport; but to us who struggle piously, passionately, to behold, if but in glimpses, the faces of our vanished Fathers, it is death! (vol.1, p.7)

FitzGerald, of course, knew all about Carlyle’s book, but whether his phrase “about it and about” came from its Introduction is debatable.

The final letter we have from EHW to EHA is dated 18th May 1898, and begins by thanking EHA for sending him a copy of his “lecture on Omar” (= Some Sidelights &c) EHA must have told him about the loss of the Calcutta Manuscript, for EHW goes on:

I am sorry to hear of the loss of the Calcutta MS. Perhaps it was lost after Blochmann’s death in 1878. Many papers went astray then including a copy of the CAS MS of Lahiji’s commentary on the Gulshan i Raz which Blochmann had had made for me and which I failed to trace. The Administrator General who had charge of his books in Jan 1879 told me other papers were supposed to have gone astray, especially Blochmann’s materials for the second volume of the Ain i Akbari which Jarett (sic) has since done.

But to return to that letter reproduced in Figs.1a & 1b, for therein lies a story: what became of the copy of the facsimile edition of the Bodleian manuscript of Omar which EHA gave to EHW ? After EHW’s death in 1922, his library was auctioned, and the book was bought by one Charles Evans of Hereford. He recognised its significance, and tipped–in a note at the front to make this clear. Eventually he donated it to Pontypridd Public Library, only for it to be somewhat irreverently discarded some years later as “surplus to requirements,” and bought, as so many discarded books are, by a sharp–eyed book–dealer. So it was that one day Garry Garrard wandered into one of his favourite antiquarian bookshops whose owner came out with that immortal line, “I think I might have something of interest to you here.” Thus it was that in 2006 Garry acquired, for the princely sum of £5, this unique, if now sadly dilapidated, volume, with its title page adorned with the stamp of Pontypridd Public Library (Fig.2a); with its gift inscription in EHA’s handwriting (Fig.2b); with some notes by EHW on the inside front cover, together with the presentation–plate of Charles Evans (Fig.2c); and with its annotations to the text in the handwriting of EHW, an example of which is shown here as Fig.2d. Serendipity, the Library Angel – call it what you will – had struck again. (22)

The illustrations for this article can be browsed here.


(1) Civil registration for births did not start until 1 July 1837 and wasn’t made compulsory until 1875. Consequently EHW’s date of birth just missed being on the online records dating from 1837. However, letters written by EHW and his father to provide evidence of his age when applying for the Civil Service give his date of birth as 28th August 1835.

(2) In the 1841 census his father’s name is given simply as Edward Whinfield and his profession as Clerk. His full name is, however, given in other documents (eg the register of EHW’s first marriage (8)) as Edward Turner Whinfield and he was a Clerk in Holy Orders.

(3) Rugby School Register, Volume II, from August, 1842, to January, 1874, by Rev. A. T. Michell.

(4) Curiously, Pennington is listed as a daughter in the 1851 census. However, records of his birth and baptism, plus later census records confirm that this is indeed a mistake.

(5) Canada, British Regimental Registers of Service, 1756–1900.

(6) Alumni Oxonienses: The Members of the University of Oxford, 1715–1886 [Later Series, S–Z (1883)] by Joseph Foster.

(7) The following are references to The Homeward Mail from India, China and the East (abbreviated to Mail); the Indian Army and Civil Service List (abbreviated to IACSL); The Bengal Civil Service Gradation List (abbreviated to BCSGL) and The Times newspaper. The Mail perhaps merits some explanation. First published fortnightly in 1857, later weekly, it was essentially a newspaper that gave “the folks back home” news about the political, military, civil service, and economic goings–on in the British Empire out East. It also gave some details about who was travelling on which ship and where. The Mail covering the period from 1857 to 1913 can now be found online in the British Newspaper Archive. A sample front page, a fine example of Victorian newspaper typography, is shown in Fig.3.

The IACSL was an annual publication which recorded basic information for British Indian Army officers and Indian Civil Servants. For Indian Civil Servants it recorded a civil servant’s career path, listed under the year when they joined the service (thus in EHW’s case he is to be found under the 1859s.) In 1877 the title changed to the India List Civil and Military. This annual publication was issued in the form of bound volumes.

The BCSGL was another of the civil lists produced quarterly by the Indian Government to provide a reference concerning the careers of Bengal Civil servants. In effect, the lists were updated as of the first of January, April, July & October. Many of the lists can be found bound together in two volumes at the British Library. The slim volume covering the period 1858–1874 (catalogue ref. IOR/V/13/313A ) is unfortunately not a complete run, but the bulky volume covering the period 1874–1880 does appear to be complete (catalogue ref IOR/V/13/314.) Confusingly, there is no IOR/V/13/313B! The useful updated listing for 1st October 1869 is missing from the British Library collection, but luckily this listing can be found online, the relevant page being shown here as Fig.4 to give the reader a sample of what these lists look like: very abbreviated in format.

a) Mail 3rd Sept 1858, p.958 (for his selection as a candidate) & 4th Jan 1859, p.16 (for his passing the exams on Dec.7th 1858); b) Mail 1st Aug 1859, p.688, lists his sailing on 20th Jan 1859; c) Mail 30th Jan 1860, p.79 gives the appointment date as 15th Dec 1859; d) Mail 26th Feb 1861, p.160 (his appointment seems to have been from Jan 15th); e) Mail 21st Nov 1862, p.972, & 27th Nov 1862, p.993; f) Mail 27th Nov 1862 p.990 gives his expected date of arrival as 1st Dec; g) Mail 20th Oct 1864, p.918 dates the appointment from 12th Aug; h) Mail 8th Feb 1865, p.101 (Chumparun as well as Rajshahye); 29th Mar 1865, p.263 (Bahr, Patna & Monghyr) & 16th Sept 1865, p.701 (Sarun); i) BCSGL (1st Oct, 1869), p.21, recording post effective from 25th March 1866; The Times, 26th May 1866, p.7; j) BCSGL (1st Oct 1869), p.21, post effective from 13th Nov 1867; Mail 27th Feb 1868, p.170 for the committee; k) IACSL (1869), p.15, post effective from Jan of that year; l) Mail 26th Dec 1871, p.1417; The Times, 26th Dec 1871, p.5; m) IACSL (1873), p.7; n) Mail 13th July 1874, p.707 (famine); 10th May 1875, p.486 and IACSL(1875), p.6, o) Mail 28th Aug 1876, p.965 & 4th Sept 1876 p.990; BCSGL (1st Jan 1877), p.5; The Times, 12th Sept 1876, p.12; p) Mail, 13th Jan 1877, p.69; IACSL (1877) p.20 & p.66; The Times, 10th Nov 1877, p.11 (going on leave); q) Mail, 17th Dec 1877, p.1298; r) Mail 1st July 1878, p.706; s) IACSL (1880) p.17 & p.402 gives his date of retirement; also Mail 23rd Aug 1882, p.796 (listed in a survey as having done 23 years service); t) Mail, 15th Mar 1879, p.287.

(8) London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754–1921.

(9) The Times, 27th Jan 1864, p.9.

(10) BCSGL (1st July 1871), p.20, says he was granted furlough for 21 months from 26th April 1871; Times of India, 28th April 1871; Mail 5th June 1871, p.670.

(11) Mail 9th Dec 1872, p.1259.

(12) “The Sufi Creed” (July 1894, p.561–4; “Hellenism and Muhammadanism” (July 1905, p.527–533); “The Seven Headed Dragon” (April 1908, p.552 & April 1910, p.484–6).

(13) England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1837–1915; The National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations) for 1886.

(14) London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754–1921.

(15) In this newspaper account we are also told that one of the bridesmaids was “Miss Dorothy Whinfield (sister of the bridegroom)”, but this is a mistake. As the 1881 census makes clear, Dorothy Whinfield was EHW’s niece, the daughter of his brother Charles William.

(16) England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1837–1915; The National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations) for 1897.

(17) The National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations) for 1893. Mary Eliza Whinfield’s maiden name was Baker, but it is not clear how she was related to EHW’s wife. Susannah Georgina (born c.1854), the daughter of Charles Francis Baker, the Rector of Tellisford, was some 11 years younger than Mary Eliza (born c.1843), the daughter of George Baker, Curate of Fovant, Wiltshire. I could find no evidence that Charles Francis and George were brothers, there being no census records before 1841, but it does seem likely that Mary Eliza and Susannah Georgina were cousins.

(18) The letters are contained partly in EHA’s Letter Book and partly in a file of loose letters, both now housed in the West Sussex Record Office at locations 1/1/1/4 & 1/1/1/5 respectively, having been donated by Ivor Jones (EHA’s grandson.) They are here quoted with his kind permission. I must also thank Garry Garrard for alerting me to their existence and for supplying copies of some transcripts, and to Tim McCann for his help both with transcripts and in obtaining scans of the originals.

(19) Though neither EHA nor EHW refer to it as a two–volume work (which Potter #575 is), they can hardly be talking about Potter #214, the only other work of Dole’s possibly extant before the letters of February 1897. Potter #575 was the precursor of Dole’s famous multi–variorum edition, published in two volumes in 1898 (Potter #576).

(20) For more on this see John P. Mahoney & Barbara P. Mahoney, “The Le Gallienne versus Heron–Allen Incident” [Opusculum XVII, the Heron–Allen Society (2011).]

(21) Abjad is the name of the Arabic alphabet, the first four letters of which are a, b, j and d, the second letter a being added to make it a pronounceable word. EHA is here criticising the members of the Omar Khayyam Club for not even knowing the Arabic (or Persian) alphabet – not even knowing their ABC, as we would say. [Abjad is also the Islamic name for the system which assigns a numerical value to each letter of the alphabet, thus giving any name or word a numerological value equal to the sum of the values of its constituent letters. It is the equivalent of gematria in the west, one of the best known manifestations of which has been the attempts to identify the Beast of Revelation 13.17–8 via the number of his name, 666. Nero, Martin Luther, Pope Leo X, Kaiser Wilhelm and Hitler have all been ‘identified’ using one numerical scheme or another. But clearly EHA is not using the word in this sense.]

(22) For Garry’s own account of these events, see his article “A Fortunate Find” in the Heron–Allen Society Newsletter no.10 (Spring 2007), p.4–5.


In addition to acknowledgements already made in the text of this article, I must thank Rob Clark for his help in tracking EHW’s career in the Indian Civil Service; Garry Garratd (again) for the scans used here as Figs.2a to 2d; Clare Snoad for help in answering questions about and supplying copies of material at the West Sussex Record Office, Chichester; Dee Murphy, of the Temple Reading Room at Rugby School, for the information she supplied about EHW’s career at the school; Anabel Farrell of Oxford University Archives for the information she supplied about EHW’s career at Oxford; and last but not least, Nancy Charley, Archivist of the Royal Asiatic Society, for details of EHW’s membership.


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