Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 06.djvu/274

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Brent
Brent
262

and deputy-lieutenant of the county. His mother was Susannah, third daughter of the Rev. Sampson Kingsford of Sturry, near Canterbury (Gent. Mag. vol. lxxvii. pt. ii. 1074). In his early days he carried on the business of a miller, occupied for many years a seat on the council of the Canterbury corporation, and was elected an alderman, but resigned that position on being appointed city treasurer. Brent died at his house on the Dane John, Canterbury, 23 April 1882. During the course of a long life, he was indefatigable in his attempts to throw light on the past history of the city and county in which he dwelt. He became a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in April 1853, and was also a member of the British Archaeological Association and of the Kent Archaeological Society. His contributions to antiquarian literature are mostly to be found in the various publications of these societies. To the forty-first volume of the 'Archæologia' (pp. 409-20) he communicated a paper of value to ethnological science, being an account of his 'Researches in an Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Stowting, in Kent, during the autumn of 1860.' In 1855 he had published a revised edition of Felix Summerly's 'Handbook for Canterbury,' and in 1875 there appeared his 'Catalogue of the Antiquities in the Canterbury Museum,' of which he was honorary curator. His work 'Canterbury in the Olden Time,' 8vo, (enlarged edition in 1879), from its research and originality, bears testimony to his unwearied industry and his ability as an antiquarian topographer. Brent also claims notice as a poet and novelist, having published 1. 'The Sea Wolf, a Romance,' 12mo, London, 1834. 2. 'Lays of Poland,' 12mo, London, 1836. 3. 'Lays and Legends of Kent,' 12mo, Canterbury, 1840; second edition, 1851. 4. Guillemette La Delanasse,' a poem, 12mo, Canterbury, 1840. 5. 'The Battle Cross. A Romance of the Fourteenth Century,' 3 vols 12mo, London, 1845. 6. 'Ellie Forestere, a novel,' 3 vols. 12mo, London, 1850. 7. 'Sunbeams and Shadows,' poems, printed for private circulation, 1853. 8. 'Village Bells, Lady Gwendoline, and other Poems,' 8vo London, 1865; second edition, 1868. 9. 'Atalanta, Winnie, and other Poems,' 12mo, London, 1873. 10. 'Justine,' a poem, 12mo, London, 1881. A collected edition of his poems was published in 2 vols. 8vo, London, 1884. Numerous tales, poems, and miscellaneous articles from his pen are also to be found in the various magazines devoted to light literature. At the time of the insurrection in Poland, Brent became the local secretary of the Polish Association.

[Information from Mr. Cecil Brent, F.S.A. Journal of the British Archæological Association, xxxviii. 235-6; Guillaumet's Tablettes Biographiques; Kentish Chronicle, 29 April 1882; Times, 29 April 1882; Roach Smith's Retrospections, i. 159.]

G. G.

BRENT, Sir NATHANIEL (1573?–1652), warden of Merton College, Oxford, was the son of Anchor Brent of Little Wolford, Warwickshire, where he was born about 1573. His grandfather's name was Richard, and his great-grandfather was John Brent of Cosington, Somersetshire. He became 'portionist,' or postmaster, of Merton College, Oxford, in 1589; proceeded B.A. on 20 June 1593; was admitted probationer fellow there in 1594, and took the degree of M.A. on 31 Oct. 1598. He was proctor of the university in 1607, and admitted bachelor of law on 11 Oct. 1623. In 1613 and 1614 he travelled abroad 'into several parts of the learned world, and underwent dangerous adventures in Italy to procure the "History of the Council of Trent," which he translated into English' (Wood). In 1616 Carleton, ambassador at the Hague, writes to Winwood that he leaves Brent, 'one not unknown to your honour,' to conduct the business of the embassy during his temporary absence at Spa. On 31 Oct. of the same year Carleton writes again to Winwood that Brent is bringing home despatches, and hopes to secure an office in Ireland, for which Carleton recommends him highly. On 26 Nov. Winwood replied that the post in question, that of 'secretary of Ireland,' had been conferred on Sir Francis Annesley before Brent's arrival in England. Soon after the close of his foreign tour Brent married Martha, the daughter and heiress of Robert Abbot, bishop of Salisbury, and niece of George Abbot, archbishop of Canterbury.

The influence of the Abbots secured Brent's election in 1622 to the wardenship of Merton College, in succession to Sir Henry Savile. He was afterwards appointed commissary of the diocese of Canterbury, and vicar-general to the archbishop, and on Sir Henry Marten's death became judge of the prerogative court. During the early years of Laud's primacy (1634-7), Brent made a tour through the length and breadth of England south of the Trent, reporting upon and correcting ecclesiastical abuses (Gardiner, Hist. 1884, viii. 108-17; cf. Hist. MSS. Comm. 4th Rep. 131-147). But Brent chiefly owed his fame to his connection with Merton College. Wood, who was largely indebted to Brent, refers to him as one who, 'minding wealth and the settling a family more than generous actions,' allowed the college to lose much of the reputation it had acquired under Sir Henry Savile (Wood, Athenæ, ed. Bliss, ii. 316).