John Hewitt Jellett

John Hewitt Jellett
Born 25 December 1817
Cashel, Tipperary
Died 19 February 1888
Dublin, Ireland
Nationality Irish
Institutions Trinity College Dublin
Notable awards Royal Medal (1881)

John Hewitt Jellett (25 December 1817 – 19 February 1888) was a college head, Provost of Trinity College, Dublin. He was also a priest in the Church of Ireland during the Victorian Era.

Jellett was the son of Rev. Morgan Jellett (c.1787-1832) and his wife Harriette Townsend, daughter of Hewitt Baldwin Poole, Esq. (died 1800), of Mayfield, County Cork, by his wife Dorothea Morris. He was born at Cashel, County Tipperary on 25 December 1817, and educated at Kilkenny College and at Trinity College, Dublin, of which he became a fellow in 1840.

He graduated B.A. 1838, M.A. 1843, B.D. 1866, and D.D. 1 March 1881. He had been ordained a priest in 1846. In 1848 he was elected to the chair of natural philosophy, and in 1868 he received the appointment of commissioner of Irish national education.

In 1851 he was awarded the Cunningham Medal of the Royal Irish Academy for his work on the "Calculus of Variations".[1] The society later elected him their president, a position he held from 1869 to 1874.

In 1870, on the death of Dr. Thomas Luby, he was co-opted a Senior Fellow, and thus a member of the Board of Trinity College. Gladstone's government in February 1881 appointed Jellett provost of Trinity; in the same year he was awarded a Royal Medal by the Royal Society.

After the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland he took an active part in the deliberations of the general synod and in every work calculated to advance its interests. He was an able mathematician, and wrote A Treatise of the Calculus of Variations (1850), and A Treatise on the Theory of Friction (1872), as well as several papers on pure and applied mathematics, articles in the Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy, and some theological essays, sermons, and religious treatises, of which the principal were An Examination of some of the Moral Difficulties of the Old Testament (1867), and The Efficacy of Prayer (1878).

John Hewitt Jellett married his cousin on his mothers side, Dorothea Charlotte Morris Morgan (c.1824-1911), daughter of James Morgan, on 7 July 1855. He was father in law to the noted Irish physicist George Francis FitzGerald. He died at the provost's house, Trinity College, Dublin, on 19 February 1888, and was buried in Mount Jerome Cemetery on 23 February.


  1. "Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy (1836-1869)". Royal Irish Academy. JSTOR 20489723.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: "Jellett, John Hewitt". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 

Academic offices
Preceded by
Humphrey Lloyd
Provost of Trinity College, Dublin
Succeeded by
George Salmon
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