Thomas W. Naylor Beckett

Last updated
St. Barnabas' Church, Fendalton St Barnabas Church 24.jpg
St. Barnabas’ Church, Fendalton

Thomas Wrench Naylor Beckett (24 July 1839 Liverpool - 5 December 1906 "Elbedde", Fendalton) was an English-born coffee and tea planter in Ceylon, and was also a noted botanist and bryologist, who collected there and in the north-western Himalaya between 1882 and c1900. He did not publish any account of the mosses he collected while in Ceylon - many of his specimens though are recorded in Max Fleischer's "Musci der Flora von Buitenzorg". He emigrated to New Zealand where he also collected. His main pteridophyte collection is at World Museum Liverpool. His bryophyte material at Kew was transferred to the British Museum of Natural History in about 1961 in terms of the Morton Agreement. The University of Canterbury and Christchurch houses some 12 000 of his specimens. Beckett was one of three amateur bryologists active in Christchurch, the other two being Robert Brown (1824-1906) and Thomas George Wright (1831-1914). [1] [2]

Liverpool City and Metropolitan borough in England

Liverpool is a city in North West England, with an estimated population of 491,500 in 2017. Its metropolitan area is the fifth-largest in the UK, with a population of 2.24 million in 2011. The local authority is Liverpool City Council, the most populous local government district in the metropolitan county of Merseyside and the largest in the Liverpool City Region.

Fendalton Place

Fendalton is a suburb of Christchurch, in the South Island of New Zealand.

Max Fleischer (painter) German artist

Richard Paul Max Fleischer was a German painter and bryologist. As a botanist, he is remembered for his work with Javan mosses.

Beckett was married to Sarah Tolson Clint (1838 - 8 June 1921) and had children. His son, Alfred Charles, died on the island at four and a half years old on 24 December 1878. When their crops also failed, the family relocated to New Zealand and settled in Fendalton in 1884, where Beckett worked as an orchardist. A Fellow of the Linnean Society and a member of the Canterbury Philosophical Institute, Beckett was well known in scientific circles throughout the world. The study of mosses and lichens was his main field of interest, and he left behind a valuable collection of New Zealand and foreign mosses. When Beckett first settled in Christchurch he corresponded with several local botanists, including Thomas George Wright, requesting information on matters bryological in the country, and offering to exchange specimens. Beckett kept all the replies, and these together with his botanical correspondence, local and overseas, was kept by the Canterbury Museum. His favourite collecting sites for mosses were in the Port Hills and the foothills. [3] [4] There were plants from New Zealand, Nepal, Sri Lanka, South Africa and French Polynesia in his collection. [5] [6]

Canterbury Museum, Christchurch museum

The Canterbury Museum is a museum located in the central city of Christchurch, New Zealand, in the city's Cultural Precinct. The museum was established in 1867 with Julius von Haast – whose collection formed its core – as its first director. The building is registered as a "Historic Place – Category I " by Heritage New Zealand.

Port Hills mountain range

The Port Hills are a range of hills in Canterbury, New Zealand, so named because they lie between the city of Christchurch and its port at Lyttelton. They are an eroded remnant of the Lyttelton volcano, which erupted millions of years ago.

Nepal country in South Asia located between India and China

Nepal, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked country in South Asia. It is located mainly in the Himalayas but also includes parts of the Indo-Gangetic Plain. With an estimated population of 26.4 million, it is 48th largest country by population and 93rd largest country by area. It borders China in the north and India in the south, east, and west while Bangladesh is located within only 27 km (17 mi) of its southeastern tip and Bhutan is separated from it by the Indian state of Sikkim. Nepal has a diverse geography, including fertile plains, subalpine forested hills, and eight of the world's ten tallest mountains, including Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth. Kathmandu is the nation's capital and largest city. Nepal is a multiethnic nation with Nepali as the official language.

Beckett took a great interest in primary school education, and was chairman of the Fendalton School Committee. He was a serious churchman, being closely associated with St. Barnabas’ Church for more than 20 years, and being a churchwarden for 17 years. In 1896 he was placed in charge of the construction of the Sunday School building on glebe land in Clyde Road. At his death, from influenza which developed into pneumonia, Beckett was one of the oldest and most respected residents of the area, and was buried in the graveyard at St Paul's Anglican Church, Papanui. With Beckett are buried his wife Sarah, and his unmarried daughters, Mary Ethel (1871-1947) and Amy Middleton (1876-1964). The gravestone inscription also commemorates Alfred Charles Beckett. A window of St. Barnabas’ Church is dedicated to the memory of Thomas Wrench Naylor Beckett, while a lamp in the church grounds is dedicated to the Beckett's son, Thomas Herbert Beckett, who was vestryman, church warden, choir member and synodsman of the Church. [7] [8]

St Pauls Anglican Church, Papanui

St Paul's Anglican Church is a Category II listed heritage building in the Christchurch, New Zealand suburb of Papanui.

The standard author abbreviation Beckett is used to indicate this person as the author when citing a botanical name. [9]


  1. Beckett, Thomas Herbert 1870
  2. Beckett, Mary Ethel 1871
  3. Beckett, Alfred Charles 1874
  4. Beckett, Amy Middleton 1876
  5. Beckett, Frederick Percy

Related Research Articles

William Jackson Hooker botanical illustrator

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.

Richard Spruce British botanist and explorer

Richard Spruce was an English botanist specializing in bryology. One of the great Victorian botanical explorers, Spruce spent 15 years exploring the Amazon from the Andes to its mouth, and was one of the first Europeans to visit many of the places where he collected specimens. Spruce discovered and named a number of new plant species, and corresponded with some of the leading botanists of the nineteenth century.

Leonard Cockayne New Zealand botanist

Leonard Cockayne FRS is regarded as New Zealand's greatest botanist and a founder of modern science in New Zealand.

William Starling Sullivant US bryologist

William Starling Sullivant was an early American botanist recognized as the foremost authority on bryophytes in the United States.

Bruce Barclay New Zealand politician

Bruce Gillespie Barclay was a New Zealand politician, being the Member of Parliament for Christchurch Central in the South Island.

Viktor Ferdinand Brotherus, Finnish botanist who studied the mosses (Bryophyta), best known for authoring the treatment of 'Musci' in Engler and Prantl's Die Naturlichen Pflanzenfamilien.

David Churchill Gould is a former New Zealand rower and businessman. He won a silver medal representing his country in the men's coxless pair with his brother, Humphrey, at the 1950 British Empire Games.

Arthur Humphrey Gould was a New Zealand rower who won a silver medal representing his country in the men's coxless pair with his brother, David, at the 1950 British Empire Games. Humphrey Gould was also a prominent businessman in Christchurch, rising to become managing director of the stock and station firm Pyne Gould Guinness.

William Mitten British botanist

William Mitten (1819-1906) was an English pharmaceutical chemist and authority on bryophytes who has been called "the premier bryologist of the second half of the nineteenth century".

Thomas Rowley was an early settler in Canterbury, New Zealand. His father was a member of the Canterbury Association and Dean-designate for ChristChurch Cathedral, but never came to the colony. Thomas Rowley and one brother emigrated, and he became a significant runholder. He later started acting as an agent for absentee landowners. He briefly served as a Member of Parliament for one of the rural Canterbury electorates. Rowley was active in church matters and married a daughter of Octavius Mathias, the first vicar of the Church of St Michael and All Angels. After 11 years in New Zealand, he returned to live in England.

William Hunt Painter Curate and rector known for his botany

William Hunt Painter was an English botanist who made a significant contribution to the science of Derbyshire vascular plant flora. He was a keen and wide-ranging collector of plant specimens, and was a member of the Botanical Exchange Club. In 1889 he published the first in a series of four books, all by different authors and spanning 120 years, all called The Flora of Derbyshire.

William Alfred Orange was a New Zealand Anglican clergyman. He was a leader of the Evangelical movement in New Zealand.

Cecil Wood (architect) New Zeelandian architect

Cecil Walter Wood was a New Zealand architect.

Paul Günther Lorentz German botanist

Paul (Pablo) Günther Lorentz was a German-Argentine botanist.

<i>Gadira leucophthalma</i> species of insect

Gadira leucophthalma, commonly known as the beaked moss moth, is a moth in the family Crambidae. It is endemic to New Zealand. This species has been classified as Nationally Vulnerable by the Department of Conservation.

Jean Nadeaud was a French naval surgeon, physician and botanist.

Antonio Hall (house) New Zealand building

Antonio Hall, also known as Antonio House and previously Kilmead and Campion Hall, is a historic mansion in the Christchurch suburb of Riccarton. Although protected as a Category II heritage building by Heritage New Zealand, it has been left to fall into ruin. A large property with 279 rooms and once described as "one of the finest in Christchurch and vicinity", it was for three decades used as a Catholic seminary.

Robert Statham Williams American botanist

Robert Statham Williams was an American bryologist who specialized in the mosses of the Yukon and South America. The standard author abbreviation R.S.Williams is used to indicate this person as the author when citing a botanical name.


  1. "New Zealand Botanical Society Newsletter"
  2. Godley, E.G. A Century of Botany in Canterbury. 1967. Transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand, General, 1: 243-266.
  3. "The Mosses of Christchurch" - Bryony MacMillan
  4. "New Zealand Botanical Society Newsletter"
  5. JSTOR
  6. Harvard University Herbaria
  7. "St. Paul’s Anglican Cemetery Tour"
  8. Obituary
  9. IPNI.  Beckett.