Burton, George (DNB00)

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BURTON, GEORGE (1717–1791), chronologer, was the second son of George Burton of Burton Lazars, Leicestershire, and the younger brother of Philip Burton, the father of Mrs. Horne, wife of George Horne, bishop of Norwich. He was born in 1717, and received his education at Catharine Hall, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. in 1736 and M.A. in 1740, being at the latter date a member of King's College. In 1740 he was presented to the rectory of Eldon, or Elveden, and in 1751 to that of Heringswell, both in Suffolk. Burton received pupils, and generally had three or four boarding in his house for instruction. He died at Bath on 3 Nov. 1791, and was interred in the church of Walcot.

He published: 1. 'An Essay towards reconciling the Numbers of Daniel and St. John, determining the Birth of our Saviour, and fixing a precise time for the continuance of the present Desolation of the Jews; with some conjectures and calculations pointing out the year 1764 to have been one of the most remarkable epochas in history,' Norwich, 1766, 8vo. 2. 'A Supplement to the Essay upon the Numbers of Daniel and St. John, confirming those of 2436 and 3430, mentioned in the Essay; from two numerical prophecies of Moses and our Saviour,' London, 1769, 8vo. 3. 'The Analysis of Two Chronological Tables, submitted to the candour of the public: The one being a Table to associate Scripturally the different Chronologies of all Ages and Nations; the other to settle the Paschal Feast from the beginning to the end of time,' London, 1787, 4to. 4. 'History of the Hundred of Elvedon, Suffolk,' MS. in the library of Sir Thomas Phillipps.

The Rev. George Ashby (1724-1808) [q. v.], the well-known antiquary and rector of Barrow, gives him the character of a person of great industry in his favourite study of chronology, but adds: 'I could never perceive what his principles or foundations were, though I have attended in hopes of learning them. Mr. Burton would often repeat, turning over the leaves of his MSS., "All this is quite certain and indisputable; figures cannot deceive; you know 50 and 50 make 100." But when I asked him, "Why do you assume 50 and 50?" I never could get any answer from him; nor does he seem to have settled a single æra, or cleared up one point of the many doubtful ones in this branch of the science; nor could he ever make himself intelligible to, or convince, a single person. He was, however, the friend of Dr. Stukeley, who made him a present of Bertram's "Richard of Cirencester,"' an ingenious forgery [see Bertram, Charles]. [Nichols's Leicestershire, ii. 228, 268, Append. 325; Nichols's Illustrations of Literature, vi. 880-7; Addit. MS. 5864 f. 36, 19166 f. 216; Stukeley's Carausius, 116; Cantabrigienses Graduati (1787), 66.]

T. C.