Sir William Jones, FRS FRSE

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Sir William Jones, FRS FRSE

Also Known As: "Youns Uksfardi", ""Oriental" Jones", ""Persian" Jones"
Birthplace: 11 Beaufort Gardens, Strand, Westminster, Middlesex, England, United Kingdom
Death: April 27, 1794 (47)
Calcutta, Kolkata, West Bengal, India ("inflammation of the liver, a condition he aggravated with overwork")
Place of Burial: Mother Teresa Sarani, Kolkata, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Immediate Family:

Son of William Jones, FRS and Mary "Maria" Jones
Husband of Anna Maria Jones, Lady Jones
Brother of George Jones and Mary Rainsford

Occupation: jurist, orientalist, philologist
Managed by: Erica Howton
Last Updated:

About Sir William Jones, FRS FRSE

Sir William Jones FRS FRSE (28 September 1746 – 27 April 1794) was an Anglo-Welsh philologist, a puisne judge on the Supreme Court of Judicature at Fort William in Bengal, and a scholar of ancient India, particularly known for his proposition of the existence of a relationship among European and Indian languages, which would later be known as Indo-European languages. He, along with Henry Thomas Colebrooke and Nathaniel Halhed, founded The Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1784, and started a journal called Asiatick Researches.

He also went by the nom de plume Youns Uksfardi (یونس اوکسفردی).


Son of William Jones (1675–1749), who was a mathematician from Anglesey in Wales, noted for introducing the use of the symbol π ; his mother was Mary Nix.


  1. In April 1783 to Anna Maria Shipley, the eldest daughter of Dr. Jonathan Shipley, Bishop of Llandaff and Bishop of St Asaph.

They had no children together.

biographical notes

Sir William Jones (1746–1794) was an English philologist, Orientalist, and jurist. While serving as a judge of the high court at Calcutta, he became a student of ancient India and founded the Asiatic Society of Bengal. He is best known for his famous proposition that many languages sprang from a common source. His scholarship helped to generate widespread interest in Eastern history, language and culture, and it led to new directions in linguistic research. ....

... Jones ... left behind a rich legacy of scholarship, political tracts and poetry. In particular, his enormous contribution to linguistics is undeniably significant. Further, his translations had the effect of introducing the Western world to the rich heritage of the Middle East. While his artistic efforts are only considered today as minor classics, they proved to have a strong impact on more famous poets and writers. It has been pointed out that his style, which mixed Western and Eastern elements, helped influence poets of England's Romantic movement, especially Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Lord Byron. Later writers that Jones influenced included Matthew Arnold, Rudyard Kipling, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, Goethe, and T.S. Eliot.

Read more:

From "Chess & Sanskrit: Persian Jones in Old Calcutta" by Jeremy Bernstein, NYR Daily, November 2, 2010, 2:45 pm

"By the time of his death at age 47 he had a working knowledge of twenty-eight languages, including Tibetan, Middle Persian, Hebrew, Bengali, and Turkish. He was actually a colonial judge but in his spare time he translated from Sanskrit and founded the field of historic linguistics. ... ..."By November 1793, Anna Maria, who had been sickly during much of her stay in India, had to go back to England if she was going to survive. Jones was to follow as soon as he could but on April 27, 1794, he died after a brief illness. The people in the colony were devastated. In his memoirs, William Hickey, a lawyer who practiced in Calcutta wrote:

"The death of this enlightened and very learned man was properly felt to be a public calamity. The event was equally lamented by the natives as by Europeans, for all felt and acknowledged his extraordinary talents and his unblemished integrity as a Judge."

"The community in Calcutta raised money to build for him one of the grandest tombs in the South Park Street Cemetery."


  • Wikipedia: William Jones
  • Cannon, Garland, "Sir William Jones," Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 109: Eighteenth-Century British Poets , Second Series, edited by John Sitter, Gale Group, 1991.
  • "Biography of Sir William Jones," Kamat's Potpourri—The History, Mystery and Diversity of India , (December 7, 2006).
  • "The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century," The Norton Anthology of English Literature , (December 7, 2006).
  • "Sir William Jones," 1911 Encyclopedia, (December 7, 2006)
  • Indian Angles: English Verse in Colonial India from Jones to Tagore By Mary Ellis Gibson "William Jones"
  • Reference: FamilySearch Genealogy - SmartCopy: Mar 15 2017, 1:52:09 UTC
  • "A Cymmrodor claims kin in Calcutta: an assessment of Sir William Jones as philologer, polymath, and pluralist." by Garland Cannon and Michael J. Franklin. link
    • "In listing the twenty-eight languages with which he was familiar, Jones placed Welsh among the ‘twelve studied least perfectly, but all attainable’; Works, 2: 264-65
  • "William Jones" in Encyclopedia Iranica, (Michael J. Franklin) Originally Published: June 15, 2009 Last Updated: April 17, 2012 This article is available in print.Vol. XV, Fasc. 1, pp. 5-11
    • "JONES, Sir WILLIAM (b. London, 28 September, 1746; d. Calcutta, 27 April, 1794; Figure 1), orientalist and judge, son of William Jones FRS, and Mary Nix, the gifted daughter of a cabinet-maker. His father, a distinguished Welsh mathematician and collector of early Welsh manuscripts, was a friend of Sir Isaac Newton and Edmond Halley, and a close relation of the Anglesey polymath Lewis Morris, whose pioneering researches facilitated the Celtic revival. Jones senior did not live to see young William’s third birthday, but his wife’s advanced educational ideas ensured that her child’s mind was continually stimulated. ..."
  • Memoirs of the life, writings and correspondence of sir William Jones, by lord Teignmouth. With the life of lord Teignmouth, and notes, by S.C. Wilks. (2017). Google Books. Retrieved 15 March 2017, from page 98
  • The Library of the Earls of Macclesfield Removed from Shirburn Cast... 02 OCTOBER 2008
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Sir William Jones, FRS FRSE's Timeline

September 28, 1746
Westminster, Middlesex, England, United Kingdom
April 27, 1794
Age 47
Calcutta, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Kolkata, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by