Joseph George Cumming

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Rev. Joseph Cumming
Rushen Castle was a subject of Cumming's study
Born 15 February 1812 (1812-02-15)[1]
Matlock, Derbyshire
Died 21 December 1868 (1868-12-22) (aged 56)[1]
Education Oakham Grammar School and Emmanuel College, Cambridge
Occupation geologist and clergyman
Spouse(s) Agnes Peckham
Children six
Parent(s) Joseph Notzel Cumming and his wife Mary Gosling née Barnes[2]

Joseph George Cumming, MA Cantab., (15 February 1812 – 21 December 1868) was an English geologist and archaeologist. His major works concerned the geology and history of the Isle of Man.


Born at Matlock in Derbyshire where his mother and father ran the Old Bath Hotel at Matlock Bath.[2] Cumming was educated at Oakham School, and Emmanuel College, Cambridge, taking the degree of MA, and entering holy orders in 1835.[3] Joseph's elder cousin, James was Professor of Chemistry in Cambridge from 1815.[4]

Isle of Man

In 1841 he was appointed vice-principal of King William's College, Castletown, in the Isle of Man,[1] and this position he held until 1856. During this period his leisure time was devoted to a study of the geology and archaeology of the island.[1] The results were published in:

The Isle of Man : its History, Physical, Ecclesiastical, Civil, and Legendary. published in 1848.[5]
'Runic (Scandinavian) crosses "recently discovered" by the Rev. Cumming FGS[6]

In this book he dealt with the mythical tales, recording the history of the island, especially the geological phenomena. He included the lithological character of the island and the disturbances which have produced the subsidence of some geological formations. Within the book he showed the images of manx crosses and afterwards he arranged for casts of these runic crosses to be distributed to museums and organisations in England and Ireland.[5]

In 1856 he became master of King Edward's Grammar School at Lichfield in Staffordshire. In 1858, Cumming became warden and professor of classical literature and geology in Queen's College, Birmingham (which later became Birmingham University), in 1862 rector of Mellis, in Suffolk, and in 1867 vicar of St Johns, Bethnal Green, London.

1857 saw the publication of his book on Rushen Castle again about the Isle of Man.[7] His interest did not wane and in 1861 he was instrumental in forming a committee to send examples of Manx culture and industrial products to the Great Exhibition of 1861.[6]


Cumming married Agnes Peckham in 1838. He was survived by his four sons and two daughters. He became a Fellow of the Geological Society of London in 1846, and he published papers in the journal of that society. He died quite suddenly on 21 September 1868.[1]

Major works

  • Account of the Geology of the Isle of Man. Published in the Proceedings of the Geological Society of London. August 1846.
  • Geology of the Calf of Man, Quarterly Journal of the Proceedings of the Geological Society of London, 1847.
  • The Isle of Man. Its History, Physical, Ecclesiastical, Civil, and Legendary (see above).
  • Great Industrial Exhibition of 1861, letters showing some of the productions of the Isle of Man in connection with the Exhibition. Douglas: Printed for the Local Committee, by P. Curphey.
  • The Story of Rushen Castle and Rushen Abbey, in the Isle of Man, London: Bell and Daldy, Fleet Street. 1857. Octavo.
  • The Runic and Other Monumental Remains of the Isle of Man, London: Bell and Daldy, Fleet Street; 1867
  • The Isle of Man. A Guide to the Isle of Man" inc. Botany; Geology and Zoology. London: Edward Stanford, 1861.
  • The Great Stanley, or James VII, Earl of Derby, and his Noble Countess, Charlotte de la Tremouille, in their Land of Man, London: William Mackintost, 1867.
  • Antiquitates Manniae: or a Collection of Memoirs on the Antiquities of the Isle of Man, for the Manx Society by the Rev. J. G. Cumming, AI.A., F.G.S. London: 1868.[6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Dictionary of National Biography now in the public domain
  2. 2.0 2.1 Andrews Pages accessed 30 November 2007
  3. "Cumming, Joseph [George] (CMN830JG)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Archer, Mary D. (2005), The 1702 chair of chemistry at Cambridge: transformation and change, Christopher D. Haley, Cambridge University Press, p. 318, ISBN 978-0-521-82873-4, retrieved March 2010 Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 On the Runic Crosses of the Isle of Man in Journal, p151, by John Windele, pub. Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland accessed 30 November 2007
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Biography at accessed 1 December 2007
  7. Rev Joseph George Cumming, MA FGS, The Story of Rushen Castle and Rushen abbey in the Isle of Man London: Bell & Daldy 1857 accessed at November 2007
  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. Missing or empty |title= (help)CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links