Larking, Lambert Blackwell (DNB00)

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LARKING, LAMBERT BLACKWELL (1797–1868), antiquary, born at his father's house, Clare House, East Malling, Kent, on 2 Feb. 1797, was son of John Larking, esq. (who was sheriff of Kent in 1808), by Dorothy, daughter of Sir Charles Style, bart. He was educated at Eton and at Brasenose College, Oxford (B.A. 1820, M.A. 1823), and was the founder of the University Lodge of Freemasons, which is now one of the most flourishing in the kingdom. In 1820 he was ordained to the curacy of East Peckham, near Tunbridge. He became vicar of Ryarsh, near Maidstone, in 1830, and of Burnham, near Rochester, in 1837. He held both those livings till his death, which took place at Ryarsh on 2 Aug. 1868.

Larking made extensive preparations for a history of the county of Kent, and had for some years the assistance of the Rev. Thomas Streatfeild of Charts Edge, Kent, who died in 1848 and left the materials at the disposal of Larking. It was not until 1886 that the first instalment of the projected work appeared under the title of 'Hasted's History of Kent, corrected, enlarged, and continued to the present time. Edited by Henry H. Drake, Part I. The Hundred of Blackheath,' London, fol. To it is prefixed an engraved portrait of Larking.

Larking was honorary secretary of the Kent Archæological Society from its foundation in 1857 until 1861, when he was elected a vice-president, and he contributed many articles to the 'Archæologia Cantiana'—the society's transactions. The most important of these papers are 'On the Surrenden Charters,' from the muniments of the Dering family (i. 50–65); 'Genealogical Notices of the Northwoods' (ii. 9–42); 'The Diary of the pious, learned, patriotic, and loyal Sir Roger Twysden' (vols. iii. iv.); a notice of the topographical labours of his friend Streatfeild (vol. iii.; also printed separately, 1861, 4to); on the ancient Kentish family of Leybourne, vol. v.; and 'Description of the Heart-Shrine in Leybourne Church;' also printed separately, London, 1864, 4to.

For the Camden Society, of whose council he was for many years a member, Larking edited in 1849 'Certaine Considerations upon the Government of England, by Sir Roger Twysden,' from an unpublished manuscript belonging to the family of Larking's wife, a direct descendant of Sir Roger; and in 1857 'an Extent of the Lands of the Knights Hospitallers in England as reported to the Grand Master of the Order in 1338,' from a document found by Larking in the public library of Valetta in the winter of 1838–9; and in 1861 'Proceedings principally in the county of Kent in 1640.' The two earlier volumes contained an introduction by John Mitchell Kemble, and the last a preface by John Bruce.

'The Domesday Book of Kent,' with translation, notes, and appendix by Larking, was published shortly after his death, London, 1869, fol.

He married, on 20 July 1831, Frances, daughter of Sir William Jervis Twysden, bart., of Roydon Hall, Norfolk. There was no issue of the marriage.

[Introduction to the new edition of Hasted's Kent, vol. i.; Cat. of Oxford Graduates; Nichols's Cat. of the Works of the Camden Soc.]

T. C.