Manuscripts and Special Collections

Biography of Colonel Henry Mellish (1856-1927)

Henry was the son of William Leigh Mellish, and succeeded his father to the Hodsock Priory estate in 1864. He was educated at Eton and at Balliol College, Oxford, gaining a First in Natural Science in 1879.

He was called to the Bar at the Inner Temple in 1882, but never practised as a lawyer. He had a distinguished career in local government, serving as a Councillor and Alderman of Nottinghamshire County Council from 1889 to his death, a magistrate, and a member of Worksop Rural District Council. He was chairman of the Quarter Sessions for Retford division, and chairman of Nottinghamshire Education Committee for 23 years. He was also a member of the Council of University College, Nottingham, and of the Court of Governors of the University of Sheffield.

He was a member of the Nottinghamshire Volunteers and Territorial Force from 1876 to 1912, chairing the Nottinghamshire Territorial Association and attaining the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. He was Commander of the 4th Volunteer Battalion Sherwood Foresters from 1901 to 1905.

He enjoyed competitive rifle shooting and was a Councillor of the National Rifle Association. He built his own rifle range at Hodsock Priory, and won prizes at the Wimbledon and Bisley competitions. He was also part of the English team shooting for the Elcho Shield for many years.

Henry's other main interest was as an enthusiastic amateur meteorologist. He was elected as a Fellow of the Meteorological Society (later the Royal Meteorological Society), was on its Council from 1902-26, and served as its President from 1909-1911. He maintained a recording station at Hodsock from 1875 to about 1925 and sent weekly reports to the Meteorological Office. A number of articles by him were published in the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society.

As he died without heirs, Hodsock Priory passed to the Buchanan family, descendents of his grandfather Edward Mellish, Dean of Hereford.


He was unmarried.

Archive Collections

  • Papers relating to Colonel Henry Mellish are part of the Mellish Collection held in Manuscripts and Special Collections at the University of Nottingham
  • Colonel Henry Mellish's meteorological readings are part of a collection of Meteorological Records for Nottinghamshire, 1841-1981, held in Manuscripts and Special Collections at the University of Nottingham
  • The Mellish Meteorological Collection of monographs and periodicals collected by Colonel Henry Mellish is a named Special Collection at Nottingham University Library.

Published Works

  • H. Mellish, 'The Weather of 1925 at Hodsock Priory, Worksop, With Tables for the 50 Years 1876 to 1925' [Hodsock, privately published, 1926?]
  • H. Mellish, 'Rainfall of Nottinghamshire, 1861-90', Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 19 (1893), 46-57, illustrated
  • J.M. Walker, 'Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Mellish, CB, DL, JP, FRGS (Pen Portraits of Presidents)', Weather, 51 (1996), 389-391, illustrated

Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

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