John Ward (academic)

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John Ward (1679?–1758) was an English teacher, supporter of learned societies, and biographer, remembered for his work on the Gresham College professors, of which he was one.

Gresham College Educational institution in London, England

Gresham College is an institution of higher learning located at Barnard's Inn Hall off Holborn in Central London, England. It does not enroll students and does not award any degrees. It was founded in 1597 under the will of Sir Thomas Gresham, and it hosts over 140 free public lectures every year. Since 2001, all lectures have also been made available online.


John Ward, portrait by Joseph Samuel Webster. John Ward by Joseph Samuel Webster.jpg
John Ward, portrait by Joseph Samuel Webster.


Son of John Ward, a Baptist minister, by his wife, Constancy Rayner, he was born in London about 1679. For some years he was a clerk in the navy office, studying in spare time with the assistance of John Ker, who kept an academy, first in Highgate and afterwards in St. John's Square, Clerkenwell. He left the navy office in 1710, and opened a school in Tenter Alley, Moorfields, which he kept for many years.

Highgate area of North London, England

Highgate is a suburban area of north London at the north-eastern corner of Hampstead Heath, 4.5 miles (7.2 km) north north-west of Charing Cross.

Clerkenwell area of inner north London in the London Borough of Islington

Clerkenwell is an area of central London, England. The area includes the sub-district of Finsbury.

Moorfields former open space by Londons northern wall

Moorfields was an open space, partly in the City of London, lying adjacent to its northern wall, near the eponymous Moorgate.

In 1712 he became one of the earliest members of a society composed principally of divines and lawyers, who met periodically in order to read discourses upon the civil law or upon the law of nature and nations. On 1 September 1720 he was chosen Gresham Professor of Rhetoric.

The Professor of Rhetoric at Gresham College, London, gives free educational lectures to the general public. The college was founded for this purpose in 1596 / 1597, when it appointed seven professors; this has since increased to nine and in addition the college now has visiting professors.

Ward was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society on 30 November 1723. He was often elected a member of the council, and in 1752 he was appointed one of the vice-presidents. In August 1733 he made a journey through Holland and Flanders to Paris. He was elected on 5 February 1736 a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, of which he became director on 15 January 1747. In April 1753 he was appointed vice-president of that society.

Fellow of the Royal Society Elected Fellow of the Royal Society, including Honorary, Foreign and Royal Fellows

Fellowship of the Royal Society is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of London judges to have made a 'substantial contribution to the improvement of natural knowledge, including mathematics, engineering science, and medical science'.

He also joined another society formed by a number of noblemen and gentlemen for the encouragement of learning. Among the works printed at their expense were John Davies's edition of the Dissertations of Maximus of Tyre, issued under the supervision of Ward, and the De Natura Animalium of Claudius Aelianus, edited by Abraham Gronovius, who acknowledges the assistance he received from Ward. On 20 May 1751 the University of Edinburgh conferred on Ward the degree of LL.D. He afterwards became a member of the Gentlemen's Society at Spalding. On the establishment of the British Museum he was elected one of the trustees.

Maximus of Tyre, also known as Cassius Maximus Tyrius, was a Greek rhetorician and philosopher who lived in the time of the Antonines and Commodus, and who belongs to the trend of the Second Sophistic. His writings contain many allusions to the history of Greece, while there is little reference to Rome; hence it is inferred that he lived longer in Greece, perhaps as a professor at Athens. Although nominally a Platonist, he is really an Eclectic and one of the precursors of Neoplatonism.

Claudius Aelianus, commonly Aelian, born at Praeneste, was a Roman author and teacher of rhetoric who flourished under Septimius Severus and probably outlived Elagabalus, who died in 222. He spoke Greek so fluently that he was called "honey-tongued" ; Roman-born, he preferred Greek authors, and wrote in a slightly archaizing Greek himself.

University of Edinburgh public research university in Edinburgh, Scotland

The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1582, is the sixth oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland's ancient universities. The university has five main campuses in the city of Edinburgh, with many of the buildings in the historic Old Town belonging to the university. The university played an important role in leading Edinburgh to its reputation as a chief intellectual centre during the Age of Enlightenment, and helped give the city the nickname of the Athens of the North.

He died in his apartments in Gresham College on 17 October 1758, and his remains were interred in the dissenters' burial-ground, Bunhill Fields.

Bunhill Fields cemetery

Bunhill Fields is a former burial ground in central London, in the London Borough of Islington, just north of the City of London boundary. The site is managed as a public garden by the City of London Corporation. It is about 1.6 hectares in extent, although historically it was much larger.


His works include:

Several manuscript compilations by him are preserved in the British Museum. He also rendered assistance in the publication of Jacques Auguste de Thou's History (1728); Robert Ainsworth's Latin Dictionary, 1736, and also the editions of 1746 and 1752; the works of George Benson; and the second edition of Martin Folkes's Table of English Gold Coins. He translated into Latin the eighth edition of Richard Mead's Discourse of the Plague (1723), edited William Lily's 'Latin Grammar in 1732, and contributed numerous papers to the Philosophical Transactions .

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Wikisource-logo.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : "Ward, John (1679?-1758)". Dictionary of National Biography . London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.