Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 08.djvu/22

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Burton
Burton
18

worth took him into his house, gave him books, and was the means of his resuming the work of the ministry. Richard Fletcher, bishop of Bristol (consecrated 3 Jan. 1590), gave him some appointment in Bristol, not upon conditions, ‘as some haue vntruely reported.’ Complaints were made about his teaching, whereupon he published his ‘Catechism,’ 1591, which is a very workmanlike presentation of Calvinism. In it he argues against bowing at the name of Jesus, and describes the right way of solemnising ‘the natiuitie of the Sonne of God.’ He subsequently published several sets of sermons which had been delivered in Bristol. He became vicar of St. Giles, Reading, on 25 Nov. 1591. At some unknown date (after 1608) he came to London. He died intestate in the parish of St. Sepulchre, apparently in 1616; whether he held the vicarage or not does not appear; the registers of St. Sepulchre were burned in the great fire of 1666. His age at death must have been upwards of seventy. His wife, Dorothy, survived him; his son Daniel administered to his effects on 17 May 1616.

Of Burton's publications, the earliest written was a single sermon preached at Norwich on 21 Dec. 1589 from Jer. iii. 14, but it was probably not published till later, for he calls his ‘Catechism,’ 1591, 16mo, his ‘first fruites.’ Wood enumerates eight subsequent collections of sermons and seven treatises, including ‘An Abstract of the Doctrine of the Sabbath,’ 1606, 8vo, which has escaped the researches of Robert Cox. The little volume of ‘seauen sermons,’ bearing the title ‘Dauids Evidence,’ above referred to, was reprinted in 1596, 16mo, and in 1602, 4to. Burton translated seven dialogues of Erasmus, published to prove ‘how little cause the papists haue to boast of Erasmus, as a man of their side.’ This was issued in 1606, sm. 4to; some copies have the title ‘Seven dialogves Both pithie and profitable,’ &c., others bear the title ‘Utile-Dulce: or, Trueths Libertie. Seuen wittie-wise Dialogues,’ &c.; but the two issues (both dated 1606) correspond in every respect except the title-pages.

[Burton's dedications in Catechism, 1591, Dauids Euidence, 1596, and Seven Dialogues, 1606; Blomefield's Norfolk, vol. ii. 1745 (Norwich); Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), ii. 1; Brook's Lives of the Puritans, 1813, ii. 230; Christian Moderator, 1826, p. 37; Leversage's Hist. of Bristol Cathedral, 1853, 66.]

A. G.


BURTON, WILLIAM (1575–1645), author of ‘Description of Leicestershire,’ son of Ralph Burton, and elder brother of Robert Burton (‘Democritus Junior’) [q. v.] , was born at Lindley in Leicestershire on 24 Aug. 1575. At the age of nine he went to school at Nuneaton, and on 29 Sept. 1591 entered Brasenose College, Oxford (B.A. 22 June 1594). He was admitted, on 20 May 1593, to the Inner Temple. In his manuscript ‘Antiquitates de Lindley’ (an epitome is in Nichols's ‘Leicestershire,’ iv. 651–6), he states that he combined the study of law with literature, and wrote in 1596 an unpublished Latin comedy, ‘De Amoribus Perinthii et Tyanthes.’ In 1597 he published with Thomas Creede a translation of ‘The History of Cleitophon and Leucippe’ from the Greek of Achilles Tatius, with a dedication to the Earl of Southampton. The only copy known was described in ‘The Times’ literary supplement 10 Feb. 1905 (cf. Arber's Stationers' Reg. iii. 82). Burton knew Spanish and Italian, and studied the emblem-writers, but his interest lay chiefly in heraldry and topography. In 1602 he issued a corrected copy, printed at Antwerp, of Saxton's map of the county of Leicester. On 20 May 1603 he was called to the bar, but soon afterwards, owing to weak health, he retired to the village of Falde in Staffordshire, where he owned an estate. He now began to devote himself seriously to his ‘Description of Leicestershire.’ From a manuscript ‘Valediction to the Reader’ (dated from Lindley in 1641), in an interleaved copy which he had revised and enlarged for a second edition, we learn that the book was begun so far back as 1597, ‘not with an intendment that it should ever come to the public view, but for my own private use, which after it had slept a long time was on a sudden raised out of the dust, and by force of an higher power drawn to the press, having scarce an allowance of time for the furbishing and putting on a mantle’ (Nichols, Leicestershire, iii. xvi). The ‘higher power’ was his patron, George, marquis of Buckingham, to whom the work was dedicated on its publication (in folio) in 1622. Nichols (ibid. p. lxv) prints a manuscript preface to the ‘Description’ dated 7 April 1604, and hence it may be assumed that the publication was delayed for many years. Burton was one of the earliest of our topographical writers, and his work must be compared, not with the elaborate performances of a later age, but with such books as Lambarde's ‘Kent,’ Carew's ‘Cornwall,’ and Norden's ‘Surveys.’ Dugdale, in the ‘Address to the Gentrie of Warwickshire’ prefixed to his ‘Warwickshire,’ says that Burton, as well as Lambarde and Carew, ‘performed but briefly;’ and Nichols observes that ‘the printed volume, though a folio of above 300 pages, if the unnecessary digressions were struck out and the