- Also known as
Col W F Prideaux
primary name: Prideaux, W F
- individual; military/naval; official; British; Male
- Life dates
- 30 April 1840-6 December 1914
- Aden (November 1870-March 1879, part)
Zanzibar (1873-75, part)
Whitehall, Cheam (September 1873)
Aden (ca 1874-75)
Bushire (March 1876 - August 1877)
[c/o Society for Biblical Archaeology] 43 Conduit Street, London (November 1878)
Jaipur (1888-90, 1894-95)
Hopeville, St. Peter's-in-Thanet, Kent (1895-1914)
- Born in London, the eldest son of F.W. Prideaux, Revenue Secretary of the India Office in London; educated at Aldenham School. Briefly served in the India Office (1859) before joining the Bombay Army as an Ensign (1860). He served with Hormuzd Rassam (q.v.) in the Abyssinian Mission to Emperor Theodore II of Ethiopia (r. 1855-68) from March 1864 but was imprisoned in the Ethiopian capital at Magdala from July 1866-April 1868 until he and his fellow officers were rescued and the capital sacked. In 1869 he married Mary Frances Philpot (died 1877), subsequently marrying Mary Catherine MacLeod in 1882. He served as Third Assistant Resident at Aden and corresponded extensively with Samuel Birch in The British Museum between November 1870 and March 1879, during which time he gave his address as Aden, although briefly from Whitehall, Cheam in September 1873, and 43 Conduit Street, London in November 1878 (ME Corres. 1868-81, 'Por-Rav', items 5177-5219). From December 1873 - March 1875 he was also Acting Consul-General and Agent at Zanzibar. In 1874 he was named a Fellow of Bombay University; selected Assistant Secretary in the Foreign Department of the Government of India in 1875; from March 1876 - August 1877 he became Acting Political Resident in the Persian Gulf; he hoped to then be appointed Consul-General in Baghdad where he had intended to resume archaeological investigations but this was not to happen and after a short interval he was appointed to become Political Agent in Bhopal in 1879. He was subsequently appointed Agent to the Governor-General to the ex-King of Oudh and Superintendent of Political Pensions (1880-82); Resident in Jaipur (1888-90, 1894-95); Resident in Mewar (1893); Acting Agent to the Governor-General in Rajputana (1893-94). He was promoted to Colonel in 1890, at which rank he retired in 1895 with the award of Companion of the Star of India [CSI] in recognition of his Services in the Political Department of the Indian Government. He died at his home in Kent. A building later known as 'Prideaux Castle' existed on the cliffs overlooking the bay of Aden and was later occupied by the Asst Resident Harold Jacob and his wife (q.v.).
His sister, Miss Florence G. Prideaux, corresponded with the Museum about his collection of antiquities on 26 January and 23 February 1915, some of which were sold to the Museum by Prideaux's eldest son, Lieutenant A.R. Prideaux (q.v.) in 1915, or were acquired on the Museum's behalf and presented in the same year by the philanthropic collectors Henry Oppenheimer (q.v.) and Maurice Rosenheim (q.v.).
Prideaux was author of 'The Lay of the Himyarites' (translated and edited, 1879); 'Notes for a Bibliography of Edward Fitzgerald' (1901); 'A Bibliography of Robert Louis Stevenson' (1903), and several papers on archaeological and numismatic subjects, including "Some recent Discoveries in South-Western Arabia", 'Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology'. Prideaux presented a number of antiquities and coins to the Museum between 1871 and 1875 (G.F. Hill, 'Catalogue of the Greek Coins of Arabia, Mesopotamia and Persia', London 1922). Budge (E.A. Wallis Budge, 'By Nile and Tigris', London 1920, vol. I, p. 38, n. 4) stated that he made a number of excavations in southern Arabia but this is incorrect. An extensive set of correspondence to and from Prideaux in the Dept of the Middle East is concerned with South Arabian inscriptions, including a series of fake inscribed metal plaques (CORRES, 1868-81, items 5178-5219).
- 'Who Was Who, 1897-1916', London: A. & C. Black, vol. I, p. 576; C. Hayavadana Rao ed., 'The Indian Biographical Dictionary', Madras 1915; John F. Riddick, 'Who Was Who in British India', Westport, Connecticut/London: Greenwood Press, 1998, p. 296; C. Phillips & St J. Simpson, "A biographical sketch of Britain's first Sabaeologist: Colonel W.F. Prideaux, CSI", 'Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies' 37 (2007), pp. 201-218.