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Sir John Simeon Correspondence

An inventory of his correspondence at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: KM
Date: Oct 1991

Biographical History

Sir John Simeon (1815-1870) was born and lived most of his life at Swainston on the Isle of Wight. Third baronet and eldest son of Sir Richard Godwin Simeon, Sir John Simeon succeeded to the title in 1854. Following a career in the Navy, Simeon served as a Member of Parliament for the Isle of Wight from 1847 to 1851, and again between 1865 and 1870.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Sir John Simeon Correspondence comprises nearly 350 incoming letters.

Organized alphabetically, the collection begins with 9 incoming letters written between 1824 and 1846 to John's father, Sir Richard Simeon. Among this group are letters from political and religious figures, including an extensive missive from social reformer and abolitionist William Wilberforce concerning slavery in the West Indies.

The remainder of the letters span 1854 through 1870 and reflect Simeon's prominence in the social, political, and artistic circles on the Isle of Wight. For a time the only Roman Catholic Member of Parliament, Simeon, who was closely associated with the Oxford Movement, numbered among his correspondents many of the Victorian era's most influential politicians, statesmen (Frederick Temple Blackwood, Henry Bruce, Edward Cardwell, Hugh Childers, William Gladstone, George Goschen, George Lyttleton, William Monsell) and religious leaders (George Granville Bradley, Henry Manning, Arthur Stanley, William Ward, Samuel Wilberforce).

A classical scholar himself, Simeon's correspondents also included antiquarians (Frederic Madden, Thomas Wright), authors (Alexander Beresford-Hope, George Brodrick, Charles Kingsley, William Lecky, Anthony Sterling, Philip Henry Stanhope, William Stirling-Maxwell, George Venables), men of letters (James Froude, Theodore Martin, Richard Monckton Milnes), and scholars (Stephen de Vere, Benjamin Jowett, James Lacaita, Thomas May). With the arrival of Alfred Tennyson at Farringford, near Swainston, Simeon's circle of acquaintances broadened to include literary figures (William Allingham, Robert Browning, Pauline Craven, Aubrey de Vere, Georgiana Fullerton, Frederick Locker-Lampson, Charles Merivale, Caroline Norton, Laurence Oliphant, Coventry Patmore, Anthony Trollope).

Simeon's correspondents also included representatives of the visual and performing arts, including illustrators (Richard Doyle, Edward Lear), painters (William Boxall, Francis Grant, William Holman Hunt, Edwin Landseer, Frederic Leighton), photographers (Julia Margaret Cameron), sculptors (George Frederick Watts, Thomas Woolner), actresses (Helena Faucit Martin), and musicians (Charles Hamilton Aide, Charles Halle, Henry Russell).

While the Simeon letters are rich in associations with prominent Victorians, they are perhaps most valuable for their illumination of the intellectual, political, and social life which flourished on the Isle of Wight during that period.

Arrangement of the Collection

Letters are divided into those of Richard Simeon and of John Simeon; within that they are arranged alphabetically by correspondent.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Subject Headings


Simeon, John, Sir, 1815-1870.
Simeon, Richard Godwin, Sir, 1784-1854.


Catholics -- Great Britain.
Legislators -- England -- Isle of Wight.
Politicians -- England -- Isle of Wight.


Great Britain -- Intellectual life -- 19th century.
Great Britain -- Politics and government -- 19th century.
Great Britain -- Social life and customs -- 19th century.
Isle of Wight (England) -- History -- 19th century.
Isle of Wight (England) -- Intellectual life -- 19th century.
Isle of Wight (England) -- Political activity -- 19th century.
Isle of Wight (England) -- Politics and government.
Isle of Wight (England) -- Social life and customs -- 19th century.



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Sir John Simeon Correspondence,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Table of Contents

Richard Simeon correspondence

John Simeon correspondence

Partial identification or unidentified