Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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PHILLIPS , WILLIAM ( 1822 - 1905 ), botanist and antiquary ;

b. 4 May 1822 at Presteign, Rads. , but his family was of Shrewsbury — ancestors of his had been burgesses there from 1634 . He was in school at Presteign , and later was apprenticed to his brother, a tailor in High Street , Shrewsbury , with a flourishing business in which William Phillips was eventually a partner. About 1861 he began to take an interest in botany , becoming in later years an acknowledged authority on the botany of Shropshire — he wrote the chapter on that subject in the Victoria County History of Shropshire . His special subject, however, was fungi, and his Manual of British Discomycetes ( 1887 ), the fruit of twenty years’ work, is a standard book. He also took an increasing interest in antiquities , was one of the founders of the Shropshire Archaeology and Natural History Society , and contributed much to the transactions of that society, to Bye-Gones , and to Shropshire Notes and Queries , of which he was at one time editor . He paid special attention to the Civil War period in Shropshire , and printed the ‘ Ottley Papers ,’ and the records of quarter sessions from 1652 to 1659 — he also arranged the borough records, and received the freedom of the borough in acknowledgment. He was a (Wesleyan) Methodist , and in 1896 published Early Methodism in Shropshire . He d. 23 Oct. 1905 .


  • Bye–Gones, relating to Wales and the Border Counties , 22 Nov. 1905;
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Second Supplement ;
  • The Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion , 1932-3 (with list of forty-nine botanical papers).


Emeritus Professor Robert Thomas Jenkins, C.B.E., D.Litt., Ll.D., F.S.A., (1881-1969), Bangor

Published date: 1959