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John Brodie Innes

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Title: John Brodie Innes  
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Subject: Charles Darwin, John William Brodie-Innes, St Mary's Church, Downe
Collection: 1817 Births, 1894 Deaths, Anglican Priests, Charles Darwin, Scottish Anglican Priests
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John Brodie Innes

The Reverend John Brodie Innes (26 December 1815–19 October 1894), John Innes before 1862, was a clergyman who became a close friend of Charles Darwin at Downe in Kent, and remained a friendly correspondent for the rest of Darwin's life.[1]

Born John Innes, he inherited the family estate near Forres in Scotland, and moved there in 1862, becoming John Brodie Innes of Milton Brodie.


  • Early Life 1
  • Church career in Kent 2
  • Milton Brodie, Forres 3
  • Portrayal in film 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early Life

John Innes was born in 1815, the son of Colonel John Innes (1763–1836) of Ipstone (or Ibstone) House and Mary Leslie (died 1857) of Burdsbank. Ipstone House is located in the parish of Ipstone (Ibstone), which lies mostly in the county of Oxfordshire but also partly in the county of Buckinghamshire, England. The boundary line of these two counties passes straight through the parlor of Ipstone House. John Brodie-Innes married Eliza Mary Laidlaw (31 July 31 1817–6 March 6 1909) in 1847.[2]

Church career in Kent

John Innes became

  • Innes' Recollections of Darwin
  • Darwin at St Mary's Church, Downe
  • Letters between Innes and Darwin on the Darwin Correspondence Project website
  • Darwin correspondnce with Innes on The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online
  • 'Darwin and the Clergyman' Article by Samantha Evans in Seed Magazine February 12 2009

External links

  • Freeman, R. B. (2007), Charles Darwin: A companion (2d online ed.),  
  1. ^ Innes, John Brodie. nd. "[Recollections of Charles Darwin]". CUL-DAR112.B85-B92. Darwin Online. Retrieved 2009-01-07. 
  2. ^ Brodie-Innes on
  3. ^ a b Darwin at Downe | Church of England archived 13 February 2009
  4. ^ a b c Innes biography on Darwin Correspondence Project
  5. ^ Freeman 2007, p. 172.
  6. ^ a b Darwin Correspondence Project
  7. ^ 'Church theory evolves to allow Darwin back into the congregation' The Times February 10 2009
  8. ^ The Correspondence of Charles Darwin:, Volume 12; Volume 1864 Cambridge University Press (2001)
  9. ^ (2009) on theCreation Internet Movie Database


In the 2009 film Creation the Reverend John Inness was played by actor Jeremy Northam.[9]

Portrayal in film

His son was the barrister and novelist John William Brodie-Innes.[8]

Brodie Innes was the Chaplain to the Bishop of Moray from 1861 to 1880 and again from 1886 to 1894.[4]

The last letter between the two listed by the Darwin Correspondence Project is dated 1881.[6]

"I have the pleasure of the intimate friendship of one of the very first Naturalists in Europe. He is a most accurate observer, and never states anything as a fact which he has not most thoroughly investigated. He is a man of the most perfect moral character, and his scrupulous regard for the strictest truth is above that of almost all men I know. I am quite persuaded that if on any morning he met with a fact which would clearly contradict one of his cherished theories he would not let the sun set before he made it known. I never saw a word in his writings which was an attack on Religion. He follows his own course as a Naturalist and leaves Moses to take care of himself."[6][7]

In a letter written to Darwin in December 1878, Brodie Innes explains how he described Darwin to bishops at a Church Congress in Dundee:

Brodie Innes continued to correspond with Darwin after 1862 when Innes moved to take up an inherited estate at Milton Brodie, Forres in Scotland, and as required by the entail on the estate, changed his name to reflect his position as chief of the Brodies of the Milton branch of Clan Brodie.[4][5]

Milton Brodie, Forres

Darwin also co-founded a Friendly Club with Innes, to which local people subscribed for assurance of assistance in times of financial need, and served as its treasurer for over 30 years, even hosting the Friendly Club’s annual meeting on the lawn of Down House, the Darwin family's home.[3]


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