Thomas Rivers (nurseryman)

Last updated

Thomas Rivers, 1873 drawing Thomas-rivers-1873.jpg
Thomas Rivers, 1873 drawing

Thomas Rivers (1798–1877) was an English nurseryman, known for developing new varieties of roses and fruits.



Cross section of the Thomas Rivers apple, National Fruit Collection Cross section of Thomas Rivers, National Fruit Collection (acc. 1957-230).jpg
Cross section of the Thomas Rivers apple, National Fruit Collection
Bonks Hill House, Rivers' home Bonks Hill House - - 1593306.jpg
Bonks Hill House, Rivers' home

The son of Thomas and Jane Rivers of Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire, he was born there on 27 December 1798. His ancestor John Rivers from Berkshire, established the Rivers family nurseries at Sawbridgeworth in 1725. On the retirement of his father in 1827, Rivers concentrated on the cultivation of roses. [1]

Sawbridgeworth town in East Hertfordshire, United Kindom

Sawbridgeworth is a small town and civil parish in Hertfordshire, England, close to the border with Essex. It is 12 miles (19 km) east of Hertford and 9 miles (14 km) north of Epping.

Hertfordshire County of England

Hertfordshire is one of the home counties in southern England. It is bordered by Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire to the north, Essex to the east, Greater London to the south, and Buckinghamshire to the west. For government statistical purposes, it is placed in the East of England region.

Berkshire County of England

Berkshire is a county in South East England. One of the home counties, Berkshire was recognised by the Queen as the Royal County of Berkshire in 1957 because of the presence of Windsor Castle, and letters patent were issued in 1974. Berkshire is a county of historic origin, a ceremonial county and a non-metropolitan county without a county council. The county town is Reading.

As a practical nurseryman, by the introduction of the "Early Rivers" plum, Rivers both extended the fruit season and enabled British fruit-growers to compete with European rivals. He also developed small fruit trees, and in 1854 took part in founding the British Pomological Society. [1]

Pomology branch of botany that studies and cultivates fruit

Pomology is a branch of botany that studies and cultivates fruit. The denomination fruticulture—introduced from Romance languages —is also used.

Rivers died at Bonks Hill, Sawbridgeworth, on 17 October 1877, and was buried at Sawbridgeworth. [1]


Rivers published: [1]

He also contributed to gardening journals, beginning with a paper on apple cultivation in Loudon's Gardener's Magazine in 1827. [1]


By his marriage in 1827 to Mary Ann, Rivers left two sons and four daughters. His son Thomas Francis Rivers took over the family business and edited his father's works. [1] [3] It was Thomas Francis Rivers who introduced the Conference pear. [4] His granddaughter, Thomas Francis' daughter, May Rivers was a notable botanical illustrator. [5]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Lee, Sidney, ed. (1896). "Rivers, Thomas"  . Dictionary of National Biography . 48. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  2. "Review of The Orchard House by Thomas Rivers. Fifth edition, 1858". The Quarterly Review. 106: 535–541. October 1859.
  3. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press.Missing or empty |title= (help)(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  4. Joan Morgan (2015). The Book of Pears: The Definitive History and Guide to Over 500 Varieties. Chelsea Green Publishing. p. 140. ISBN   978-1-60358-666-5.
  5. "History of Botanical Illustration: R". Retrieved 8 January 2019.

Wikisource-logo.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain :  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1896). "Rivers, Thomas". Dictionary of National Biography . 48. London: Smith, Elder & Co.

Related Research Articles

Thomas Wright (antiquarian) English antiquarian

Thomas Wright was an English antiquarian and writer.

William Jackson Hooker English systematic botanist and organiser (1785–1865)

Sir William Jackson Hooker was an English systematic botanist and organiser, and botanical illustrator. He held the post of Regius Professor of Botany at Glasgow University, and was Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. He enjoyed the friendship and support of Sir Joseph Banks for his exploring, collecting and organising work. His son, Joseph Dalton Hooker, succeeded him to the Directorship of Kew Gardens.

<i>Pyrus communis</i> species of plant

Pyrus communis, known as the European pear or common pear, is a species of pear native to central and eastern Europe and southwest Asia.

Thomas William Marshall (1818–1877) was a Roman Catholic convert from Anglicanism during the Tractarian controversies. In 1847 he became the first inspector of Catholic Schools in Great Britain. He resigned in 1860 after a controversy due to a pamphlet he wrote critical of Anglican missionary work.


Pishiobury, sometimes spelled Pishobury, was a manor and estate in medieval Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire. Its denomination as "Pishiobury" only emerged in the mid to late 19th century.

William Coxe Jr. was a pioneer pomologist and a U.S. Representative from New Jersey. He served as Mayor of Burlington, New Jersey.

The Lady Margaret Professorship of Divinity is a senior professorship in Christ Church of the University of Oxford. The professorship was founded from the benefaction of Lady Margaret Beaufort (1443–1509), mother of Henry VII. Its holders were all priests until 2015, when Carol Harrison, a lay theologian, was appointed to the chair.

Whitworth Porter (1827–1892) was an English Major General of the Royal Engineers, known also as a historical writer.

Edward Higginson was an English Unitarian minister and author.

Adrian Diel German physician

August Friedrich Adrian Diel was a German physician and founder of pomology at the turn of the 19th century.

Anne Raikes Harding, néeOrchard (1779–1858) was an English novelist and miscellaneous writer.

Thomas Napier Thomson was a Scottish minister, historian and biographer. While still young he stopped using his middle name.

Arthur Henfrey (botanist) English surgeon and botanist

Arthur Henfrey was an English surgeon and botanist.

Francis Talfourd English barrister and dramatist

Francis Talfourd (1828–1862) was an English barrister, known as a dramatist.

Thomas Pell Platt (1798–1852) was an English orientalist.

John Edmund Reade (1800–70) was an English poet and novelist.

Laxton Brothers

Laxton Brothers was a business founded by Edward Augustine Lowe Laxton MBE (1869–1951) and William Hudson Lowe Laxton (1866–1923) who were notable horticulturists, pioneers of plant breeding and experts on fruit production creating several new strains of fruit such as 'Laxtonberry', 'Laxton's Delicious' plum tree, Laxton's No.1 red currant, Laxton’s Superb apples and the award-winning Lord Lambourne apple.

Gerard Thomas Noel British cleric

Gerard Thomas Noel (1782–1851) was a Church of England cleric, known as a hymn writer.

John Rock (American nurseryman)

John Rock was a German-born American horticulturalist and nurseryman. John Rock was a leader in California in pomology and the nursery business from 1865 until his death in 1904. Charles Howard Shinn wrote the biography for John Rock in L.H. Bailey's Cyclopedia of Horticulture He said "John Rock's scientific spirit, his wide and ever-increasing knowledge, his very high standards of business and his unselfishness made him during his long life the leader of Pacific coast nurserymen. He introduced more valuable plants and varieties to American horticulture than any other man of his period. His connection with Japan, India, Australia and with the great establishments abroad was close and constant. He did much to encourage men like Luther Burbank, and his collections were always at the service of students and the public."

William Paul (1822–1905) was an English horticulturalist and writer, known for his book The Rose Garden.