STEVENSON, William

1751 - 1821

Baptised at East Retford, Nottinghamshire on 26 April 1751, second son of Revd Seth Ellis Stevenson (1724-1783), rector of East Retford and Master of Retford School, and his wife Catharine née Haworth, who married at Lincoln on 17 April 1750. He trained as an artist in the neighbourhood of London, and later a student at the Royal Academy during the time of Sir Joshua Reynolds, Ďthrough whose encouraging suggestion he was induced to embrace the profession of miniature painting' and left London, intending for a career as a miniature painter. He lived at Bury St Edmundís, Suffolk 1774-1782, where he probably became known to Peter Gedge (1758-1818) the former Norwich printer, whose mother was Alice, daughter of William Chase, proprietor of the 'Norwich Mercury'. In 1783 Stevenson went to live in Norwich where he taught drawing and married at St George Tombland on 28 May 1783, as her second husband, Catherine Chase, daughter of the Norwich printer, she had previously married on 26 September 1771, Jonathan Matchett, surgeon. About 1785 he entered into partnership with a John Crouse, proprietor of 'Norwich Gazette' later renamed 'The Norfolk Chronicle' trading as Crouse and Stevenson, and in 1794 being joined by Jonathan Matchett with whom he remained until time of his death, their son was Seth William Stevenson (1784-1821). Stevenson produced a new edition in 1812 of 'A History of the Cathedral Church of Ely', originally published in 1771 by James Bentham, adding a substantial supplement of his own in 1817. He also edited John Campbellís 'Lives of the British Admirals' and contributed frequently to the 'Gentlemanís Magazine' and Nicholsís 'Literary Anecdotes'. Stevenson served the office of sheriff of the city of Norwich in 1799 and died at his house in Surrey Street on 13 May 1821, aged seventy-one, and a monumental memorial was placed in the local parochial church. His son Seth William Stevenson (1785Ė1853) succeeded his father as proprietor and virtual editor of the Chronicle. He also served in the office of Sheriff of Norwich in 1828, and as Mayor in 1832.