John Farey - Encyclopedia

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JOHN FAREY (1766-1826), English geologist, was born at. Woburn in Bedfordshire in 1766. He was educated at Halifax in Yorkshire, and showed such aptitude in mathematics, drawing and surveying, that he was brought under the notice of John Smeaton (1724-1792). In 1792 he was appointed agent to the duke of Bedford for his Woburn estates. After the decease of the duke, Farey in 1802 removed to London, and settled there as a consulting surveyor and geologist. That he was enabled to take this step was due largely to his acquaintance with William Smith, who in 1801 had been employed by the duke of Bedford in works of draining and irrigation. The duke, appreciating Smith's knowledge of the strata, commissioned him in 1802 to explore the margin of the chalk-hills south of Woburn in order to determine the true succession of the strata; and he instructed Farey to accompany him. Farey has remarked IO that Smith was his "Master and Instructor in Mineral Surveying," and his subsequent publications show how well he had profited by the teachings he received. Farey prepared the General View of the Agriculture and Minerals of Derbyshire in two vols. (1811-1813) for the Board of Agriculture. In the first of these volumes (1811) he gave an able account of the upper part of the British series of strata, and a masterly exposition of the Carboniferous and other strata of Derbyshire. In this classic work, and in a paper published in the Phil. Mag. vol. li. 1818, p. 173, on "Mr Smith's Geological Claims stated," he zealously called attention to the importance of the discoveries of William Smith. Farey died in London on the 6th of January 1826.

See Biographical Notice, by W. S. Mitchell, in Geol. Mag. 1873, p. 25.

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