James Simpson
Born(1812-07-09)9 July 1812
Clitheroe, Lancashire, England
Died3 September 1859(1859-09-03) (aged 47)
Accrington, Lancashire, England
Occupation(s)Deacon, activist
Known forCo-founding and serving as the first president of the Vegetarian Society
Hannah Harvey
(m. 1843)

James Simpson (9 July 1812 – 3 September 1859) was a Bible Christian deacon and activist for a number of causes. He was active in the vegetarianism, temperance, anti-tobacco, anti-Corn Law and peace movements. Simpson helped found and was the first president of the Vegetarian Society.


James Simpson was born on 9 July 1812,[1] in Clitheroe, Lancashire, the son of James Simpson Sr.,[2] a wealthy calico printer.[3] He was educated by Rev W. Wood at Hybrake House, Altham,[4] and received a private education in London and Berlin.[5] Simpson married Hannah Harvey in 1843;[3] they had two children.[4]

Actively engaged in public life, he supported diverse social and political reforms. A member of the Anti-Corn Law League, Simpson also joined the teetotal movement during a time when such a choice was uncommon. Embracing the tenets of Bible Christianity and influenced by Swedenborg, he maintained a lifelong commitment to vegetarianism, instilled by his mother.[5] He helped form and was elected the first president of the Vegetarian Society in 1847.[6] His travels abroad led to the establishment of international vegetarian societies.[7]

Simpson died on 3 September 1859, at the age of 47;[3] he was living in Foxhill Bank, Accrington, and suffered from a long illness for 18 months.[4] Simpson was buried at St James' Church, Church Kirk.[8]


  1. ^ Ancestry.com. England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
  2. ^ "Biography: Mary Rostron". Weaste Cemetery Heritage Trail. Retrieved 2024-01-18.
  3. ^ a b c "Biography: Mary Harvey". Weaste Cemetery Heritage Trail. Retrieved 2024-01-18.
  4. ^ a b c "Interment of the Remains of the Late Mr. Simpson". The Weekly Standard and Express. 1859-09-14. p. 3 – via Newspapers.com (subscription required).
  5. ^ a b "The Vegetarian Movement in England 1847-1981". International Vegetarian Union. Retrieved 2024-01-18.
  6. ^ "History". Vegetarian Society. Retrieved 2024-01-18.
  7. ^ "Veggie revolution was led by the North". Lancashire Telegraph. 1998-01-08. Retrieved 2024-01-18.
  8. ^ "Burials at St James in the Parish of Church Kirk". Lancashire OnLine Parish Clerk Project. Retrieved 2024-01-18.