Frere, John (1740-1807) (DNB00)

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FRERE, JOHN (1740–1807), antiquary, of Roydon Hall, Norfolk, and Finningham, Suffolk, born on 10 Aug. 1740, was the eldest son of Sheppard Frere of Roydon, by his wife Susanna, daughter of John Hatley of London and Kirby Hall, Essex. He belonged to an old family settled in Norfolk and Suffolk. His grandfather, Edward Frere, was a fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and a staunch adherent of Bentley the master. Frere was scholar and fellow of Caius College. He was second wrangler (Paley being senior), and graduated B.A. 1763, M.A. 1766. He became high sheriff of Suffolk in 1766, was a vice-president of the Marine Society in 1785, and was elected M.P. for Norwich in 1799. He was elected fellow of the Royal Society 20 June 1771, and was an active member. He published, in the ‘Archæologia’ for 1800 (xiii. 204), a paper ‘On the Flint Weapons of Hoxne in Suffolk,’ and showed discernment in assigning these stone implements (some of which, presented by him, are still in the collection of the Society of Antiquaries) ‘to a very remote period indeed, even beyond that of the present world’ (cp. John Evans, Ancient Stone Implements, p. 517). Frere also contributed to the ‘Gentleman's Magazine’ and other publications. His son, John Hookham Frere [q. v.], used to regret that more of his father's occasional papers had not been preserved. Frere was intimate with Richard Gough. His brother-in-law, Sir John Fenn, left him his library. Frere died at East Dereham, Norfolk, on 12 July 1807. A painted portrait of him is in the possession of Mr. J. T. Frere of Roydon Hall. He married, in 1768, Jane, only child of John Hookham of Beddington, a rich London merchant. This lady, besides a fortune and good looks, had ‘rare gifts of intellect and disposition.’ They had seven sons and two daughters. The eldest son was John Hookham Frere, the author and diplomatist [q. v.] The fourth, fifth, and sixth sons, William [q. v.], Bartholomew [q. v.], and James Hatley [q. v.], are also separately noticed. The seventh son, Temple (1781–1859), rector successively of Finningham, Roydon, and Burston, became canon of Westminster 3 Nov. 1838.

[J. Hookham Frere's Works (1872), memoir in vol. i.; Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. iii. 210, 257; Burke's Landed Gentry, editions of 1868 and 1886, s.v. ‘Frere of Roydon;’ Gent. Mag. 1807, vol. lxxvii. pt. ii. p. 691; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. viii. 58, 159, ix. 475; Nichols's Lit. Illustr. v. 175–7, 181, vi. 821; information from Mr. Frere of Roydon Hall.]

W. W.