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Antiquary. He made considerable collections of church notes in his own and the neighbouring courties; all which he bequeathed to the College where he received his education. Mr. Blomfield acknowledges his obligations to him for collecting many evidences, seals, and drawings, of great use to him in his “History of Norfolk *." The old gentleman led a miserable life, hardly allowed his son necessaries, and dilapidated his house.
He had 500 horses of his own breeding, many above 30 years old, unbroke up. He took his son home from College, where his library was left to mould. On his death, his son succeeded to his estate, of about 15001. a year; which he enjoyed not long; and dying, of a consumption, unmarried, on the road to Bath, left the reversion, after the death of his sister (who was then unmarried, and not likely to have issue), with his books and medals, to Trinity college; under the direction of the late vice-master, Dr. Walker. But his sister marrying (as above) it is said the entail was cut off. He was buried in the family burying-place, in St. Mary's chapel, in Outwell church ; for the paving of which, and for a monument, he left 1501. The Registers of the Spalding Society abound with proofs of Mr. Bell's taste and knowledge in antient coins, both Greek and Roman, besides many other interesting discoveries. He published Proposals, elegantly printed, for the following work, at 5. the first subscription, “Tabulæ Augustæ; sive, Imperatorum Romanorum, Augustorum, Cæsarum, Tyrannorum, et illustrium virorum à Cn. Pompeio Magno ad Heraclium Aug. series chronologica. Ex historicis, nummis, et marmoribus collegit Beaupreius Bell, A. M. Cantabrigiæ, typis academicis * 1734;" which was in great forwardness in
* Preface, p. iii.
+ The late Earl of Uxbridge had as many, and the late Duke of Ancaster's brother in 1784 had 1500.
“My late friend Mr. Beaupré Bell, a young gentleman of most excellent know ledge in medals, whose immature death is a real loss to this part of learning, was busy in putting out a book like that of Patarol, and left his MSS. plates, and coins, to Trinity college, Cambridge." Stukeley's Carausius, I. 67.
1783 *, and on which Mr. Johnson communicated his observations. Mr. Bell conceived that coins might be distinguished by the hydrostatical balance up, and supposed the flower on the Rhodian coins to be the lotus, but Mr. Johnson the balaustrum, or pomegranate flower. He sent the late unhappy Dr. Dodd notes concerning the life and writings of Callimachus, with a drawing of his head, to be engraved by Vertue, and prefixed to his translation of that poet. He made a cast of the profile of Dr. Stukeley, prefixed to his “ Itinerarium," and an elegant bust of Alexander Gordon, after the original given by him to Sir Andrew Fountaine's niece. He communicated to the Spalding Society an account of Outwell church, and the Haultoft family arms, in a border engrailed Sable a lozenge Ermine, quartering Fincham, in a chapel at the East end of the North aile. He collected a series of nexus literarum, or abbreviations.
He had a portrait of Sir Thomas Gresham, by Hilliard, when young, in a close green silk doublet, hat, and plaited ruff, 1540 or 1545, formerly belonging to Sir Marmaduke Gresham, bart. then to Mr. Philip, Filazer, by whose widow, a niece to Sir Marmaduke, it came to Sir Anthony Oldfield, and so to Maurice Johnson. He addressed verses on color est connata lucis proprietas to Sir Isaac Newton, who returned him a present of his Philosophy, sumptuously bound by Brindley.
The late Mr. Cole, of the Fen-office, editor of the second edition of Sir William Dugdale's History of Embanking, 1772*, tells us that this edition was printed from two copies of the old one, one corrected by Sir William himself, the other by Beaupré Bell, esq. “a diligent and learned Antiquary, who had also made some corrections in his own copy, now in Trinity college library." See his letters, dated Beaupré hall, May 11, and July 30, 1731, to
* See the “Reliquiæ Galeanæ," in the Bibliotheca Topographica Britannica, No. II. p. 490. + Ibid. p. 53.
Printed at the expence of Richard Geast, esq. of Blythe hall, who married the immediate descendant of Dügdale. See in the third volume, under the year 1772.
T. Hearne, T. Hearne, about the Pedlar in Swaffham church, a rebus on the name of Chapman, prefixed to Hemingford, p. 180, and preface, p. 113. See also, on the same subject, Preface to Caius, p. xlvii. and Ixxxiv. and the speech' of Dr. Spencer, vice-chancellor of Cambridge, to the Duke of Monmouth, when he was installed Chancellor, 1674, Ib. Ixxxvi. In
p. lii. Hearne styles him amicus eruditus, cui et aliis nominibus me devinctum esse gratus agnosco. He also furnished him with a transcript, in his own hand-writing, of Bishop Godwin's Catalogue of the Bishops of Bath and Wells, from the original in Trinity college library. App. to Ann. de Dunstable, 835. $37. A charter relating to St. Edmund's Bury abbey. Bened. Abbas, p. 865. The epitaph of E. Beckingham, in Bottisham church, in Cambridgeshire, Pref. to Otterbourne's Chron. p. lxxxii. App. to Trokelow, p.378. Papers, &c. of his are mentioned in Bibl. Top. Brit. p.57,58.62. Walsingham church notes, p. 59, entered in the Minutes; a paper on the Clepsydra, p.60; and five of his letters to Mr. Blomfield are printed, pp. 290. 465–472; one to Dr. Z. Grey, p. 147; one to Mr. N. Salmon, p. 150; others to Mr. Gale, pp. 169. 181. 302–305; to Dr. Stukeley, p. 176. 178. See also pp. 176. 178. 181. 465. 469.470.471. In Archæologia, vol. VI. pp.133.139. 141. 143. are some letters between him and Mr. Gale, on a Roman horologium mentioned in an inscription found at Taloire, a poor small village in the district and on the Lake of Annecey, &c. communicated to him by Mr. Cramer, professor of philosophy and mathematics *.
The following correct copy of the epitaph given in Mr. Camden's Remains, p. 400, at Farlam, on the West Marches towards Scotland, near Naworth castle, being communicated to the Society 1734, Mr. Bell sent them the Latin translation annexed: John Bell of Brekenbrow ligs under this stean, Four of mine een sons laid it on my weam.
* See the Bibliotheca Topographia Britannica, p. 60.
I livd all my days but * shirt or strife;
DR. THOMAS Birch, a valuable biographical and historical writer, was born in the parish of St. John Clerkenwell, Nov. 23, 1705. His parents were both of them Quakers; and his father, Joseph Birch, was a coffee-mill maker by trade. Mr. Joseph Birch endeavoured to bring up his son to his own business ; but so ardent was the youth's passion for reading, that he solicited his father to be indulged in this inclination, promising, in that case, to provide for himself. The first school he went to was at HemelHemsted in Hertfordshire. It was kept by John Owen, a rigid Quaker, for whom Mr. Birch afterwards officiated some little while as an usher. The next school was kept by one Welby, near Turnmillstreet, Clerkenwell, who never had above eight or ten scholars at a time, whom he professed to instruct in the Latin tongue in a year and a half. To him Mr. Birch was likewise an usher; as he also afterwards was to Mr. Besse, the famous Quaker, in George's court in St. John's lane, who published the posthumous works of Claridge. It is farther said, that he went to Ireland with Dean Smedley * ; but
+ Who published, in 1728," A Specimen of an universal View of all the eminent Writers on the Holy Scriptures; being a Collection of the Dissertations, Explications, and Opinions of learned Men, in all Ages, concerning the difficult Passages and obscure Texts of the Bible; and of whatsoever is to be met with, in Frofane Authors, which may contribute towards the better understanding of them." This extensive undertaking was intended to have been composed in two large folio volumes. Had the plan
in what year, and how long he resided with the Dean, cannot now be ascertained. He was indefatigable in his application, and stole many hours from sleep to increase his stock of knowledge. By this unremitting diligence, though he had not the happiness of an University education, he soon became qualified to take holy orders in the Church of England, to the surprize of his acquaintance. We do not precisely know when this event took place; but it must have been as early as in 1728.
In the same year he married the daughter of the Rev. Mr. Cox, to whom he was curate; but his felicity was of short duration, Mrs. Birch dying of a puerperal fever in less than twelve months after their marriage *. Almost in the very article of her death she wrote to her husband the following letter :
“July 31, 1729. “ This day I return you, my dearest life, my sincere and hearty thanks for every favour bestowed on your most faithful and obedient wife,
“ Hannah BIRCH ."
proceeded, it is no very far-fetched conjecture to suppose that Mr. Birch was to have been an assistant.
* See Mr. Birch's pathetic “ Verses on the Death of a beloved Wife,” in the “ Select Collection of Poems, 1780," vol. V.
+ The following epitaph is transcribed from the hand-writing of Dr. Birch :
“H. S. E.
egregium sui sexûs exemplar.
in læos consors,