Burtt, Joseph (DNB00)

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BURTT, JOSEPH (1818–1876), archæologist and assistant-keeper in the national Record Office, was born in the parish of St. Pancras, London, on 7 Nov. 1818. He was educated by his father, who was a private tutor, known as a Greek scholar, and author of a Latin grammar. He entered the public service as a lad of fourteen in 1832 under Sir Francis Palgrave, by whom he was employed on work connected with the Record Commission at the chapter-house of Westminster Abbey. Here he continued his labours for many years, arranging and making inventories of the national records then housed in that building. In August 1851 he was promoted to be assistant-keeper of the records of the second class, and was raised to be a first-class assistant-keeper in June 1859, a position which he enjoyed to his death. About this time Burtt superintended the removal from the old chapter-house to the newly erected record office in Fetter Lane of the vast mass of documents which had been lying, many of them unsorted and uncatalogued, in that most unsuitable depository. The calendaring of the chancery records of Durham was a task which Burtt undertook in addition to his ordinary official duties. He was also employed in his private capacity by Dean Stanley and the chapter of Westminster in sorting and arranging the muniments of the abbey, and he was the first to commence the work of examining and bringing into order the muniments of the dean and chapter of Lincoln. In 1862 he became secretary of the Royal Archæological Institute, to which he subsequently added the editorship of the 'Archæological Journal.' He was for many years the prime mover of all the operations of the institute, especially in connection with its annual congresses, which were ably organised by him. As a private friend Burtt was much and deservedly valued. He died after a protracted illness at his residence at Tulse Hill on 15 Dec. 1876, and was buried in Nunhead Cemetery. Burtt contributed a large number of arch{{ae}ological and historical papers to the 'Journal of the Archæological Institute,' the 'Gentleman's Magazine,' the 'Athenæum,' 'Archæologia Cantiana,' and other kindred periodicals. He also edited the 'Household Expenses of John of Brabant and of Thomas and Henry of Lancaster' for the 'Miscellany' of the Camden Society.

[Journal of the Archæological Institute, xxxiv, 90-2; private information.]

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