Gower, Foote (DNB00)

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GOWER, FOOTE (1726?–1780), antiquary, son of the Rev. Foote Gower, M.A. and M.D., a physician at Chester, was born at Chester about 1726. He matriculated at Brasenose College, Oxford, 15 March 1743–1744, aged 18, and took his degrees of B.A. in 1747, M.A. in 1750, M.B. in 1755, and M.D. in 1757. He was rector of Chignall St. James and Mashbury, near Chelmsford, Essex, from June 1761 until about 1777, and he is stated to have practised medicine at Chelmsford, but this is doubtful. He made extensive collections for a history of Cheshire, and in 1771 printed ‘A Sketch of the Materials for a new History of Cheshire,’ London, 4to. This was anonymous, and was signed ‘a Fellow of the Antiquary Society.’ His intention was to issue his work in folio form at a subscription of ten guineas; but the project, although it seems to have received much encouragement, went no further than the reissue of his ‘proposals’ in 1772, with an additional ‘address to the public.’ He made collections also for a history of Essex, and a new edition of Horsley's ‘Britannia Romana.’ After his death, at Bath on 27 May 1780, his voluminous papers passed into the hands of Dr. Markham of Whitechapel, and subsequently the project was taken up by Dr. J. Wilkinson and William Latham, who, in 1800, republished the ‘Sketch’ with their own additions, but they in turn failed to publish, and the manuscripts were disposed of by auction, some going to the British Museum and some to the Bodleian.

He married a sister of John Strutt, M.P. His son, Charles Gower, M.D. (died 1822), was author of ‘Hints and Auxiliaries to Medicine,’ 1819. His youngest son was Richard Hall Gower [q. v.], naval architect.

[Palatine Note-book, ii. 120, 202; Lysons's Cheshire, 466; Ormerod's Cheshire, 1819, i. 11; Foster's Alumni Oxon. ii. 546; Munk's Roll of Coll. of Physicians, 1878, ii. 470 (as to Charles Gower); information from Rev. B. C. Barnes.]

C. W. S.