Pegge, Samuel (1704-1796) (DNB00)

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PEGGE, SAMUEL the elder (1704–1796), antiquary, born on 5 Nov. 1704 at Chesterfield, Derbyshire, was son of Christopher Pegge by his wife Gertrude, daughter of Francis Stephenson of Unstone, near Chesterfield. Christopher Pegge (d. 1723), who belonged to a family that had lived for several generations at Osmaston, near Ashbourne, Derbyshire, was a woollen dealer at Derby, and afterwards a lead merchant at Chesterfield, of which place he was three times mayor.

Samuel Pegge was educated at Chesterfield, and became a pensioner and scholar of St. John's College, Cambridge, in 1722. He graduated B.A. 1725, M.A. 1729. He was elected to a lay fellowship on the Beresford foundation of his college on 21 March 1726, but was removed in favour of Michael Burton (afterwards vice-master of St. John's), who claimed founder's kin. Pegge was then made an honorary fellow, and in 1729 was elected a ‘Platt’ fellow of St. John's. In 1730 he was elected a member of the Spalding Society, to which he contributed some papers, and from 1730 to 1732 belonged to the Zodiac Club, a college literary society consisting of twelve members denominated by the signs of the zodiac. Pegge was the original Mars.

Pegge was ordained in 1729, and in 1730 became curate to Dr. John Lynch at Sundridge in Kent. On 6 Dec. 1731 he was inducted into the vicarage of Godmersham, Kent, where he lived for about twenty years, writing on antiquities and collecting books and coins. From 1749 to 1751 he lived at Surrenden, Kent, as tutor to the son of Sir Edward Dering. In 1751 he was elected fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and in the same year was inducted into the rectory of Whittington, near Chesterfield, exchanging Godmersham for the rectory of Brinhill (or Brindle), Lancashire. On 22 Oct. 1758 he exchanged Brinhill for the vicarage of Heath, near Whittington, holding Heath together with Whittington until his death. In 1765 he was presented to the perpetual curacy of Wingerworth, near Whittington. He was a prebendary of Lichfield (1757–1796), and in 1772 was collated to a stall in Lincoln Cathedral. In 1791 he was created LL.D. by the university of Oxford. He died, after a fortnight's illness, on 14 Feb. 1796, in the ninety-second year of his age, and was buried in the chancel at Whittington, where there is a mural tablet to his memory. His coins and medals were sold by auction at Leigh & Sotheby's, London, on 23 March 1797. The collection was a small one, consisting chiefly of English coins (Priced Sale Catalogue in Dept. of Coins, Brit. Mus.) Pegge had inherited some property at Osmaston and at Unstone in Derbyshire.

Pegge married, on 13 April 1732, Anne, (d. July 1746), daughter of Benjamin Clarke of Stanley, near Wakefield, Yorkshire, and had by her three children: Christopher (died in infancy), Samuel the younger [q. v.], and Anna Katharine, wife of the Rev. John Bourne of Spital, near Chesterfield. A portrait of Pegge, drawn by Gustavus Brander [q. v.], and engraved by James Basire, is prefixed to Pegge's ‘Forme of Cury’ (cf. Bromley, Cat. of Engraved Portraits, p. 367); and there was an oil-painting of him (reputed a better likeness) by Elias Needham.

Pegge contributed to the first ten volumes of the ‘Archæologia’ memoirs on a great variety of topics, such as Anglo-Saxon jewellery; the introduction of the vine into Britain; the stylus; King Alfred; the ‘bull-running’ at Tutbury; the horn as a charter or instrument of conveyance; shoeing horses among the ancients; cock-fighting; the right of sanctuary; the manner of King John's death; Kits Coty house; the commencement of day among the Saxons and Britons; ‘the mistaken opinion that Ireland and the Isle of Thanet are void of Serpents and prehistoric remains generally.’ He wrote seven memoirs in the ‘Bibliotheca Topographica Britannica,’ including ‘The Story of Guy, Earl of Warwick’ (1783); ‘The History of Eccleshall Manor’ (1784); ‘The Roman Roads of Derbyshire’ (1784); ‘The Textus Roffensis’ (1784); ‘History of Bolsover and Peak Castles, Derbyshire’ (1783). He also wrote a large number of articles for the ‘Gentleman's Magazine’ from 1746 to 1795, signing himself ‘Paul Gemsege’ (= Samuel Pegge), ‘T. Row’ (= the rector of Whittington), and ‘L. E.’ (= [Samue]l [Pegg]e). While vicar of Godmersham Pegge made collections relating to Kent, including a ‘Monasticon Cantianum’ in two folio manuscript volumes, and an account of the antiquities of Wye. He compiled a manuscript ‘Lexicon Xenophonticum,’ and possessed various lexicons annotated by himself, as well as two volumes of collections in English history.

Pegge's separately published works are as follows: 1. ‘A Series of Dissertations on some elegant and valuable Anglo-Saxon Remains’ (chiefly coins), London, 1756, 4to. 2. ‘Memoirs of the Life of Roger de Weseham … Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield,’ London, 1761, 4to. 3. ‘An Essay on the Coins of Cunobelin,’ London, 1766, 4to. Evans (Coins of the Ancient Britons, p. 7, cf. p. 342) remarks that Pegge's division of the coins is judicious, but that many of his descriptions of the types are ‘supremely ridiculous.’ 4. ‘An Assemblage of Coins fabricated by authority of the Archbishops of Canterbury,’ London, 1772, 4to. 5. FitzStephen's ‘Description of London’ (translated from the Latin), 1772, 4to. 6. Evelyn's ‘Fumifugium,’ edited by S. P., 1772, 4to. 7. ‘The Forme of Cury: a Roll of ancient English Cookery,’ London, 1780, 8vo; published from a manuscript belonging to Gustavus Brander. 8. ‘Annales Eliæ de Trickingham,’ &c., ed. by S. P., 1789, 4to. 9. ‘The Life of Robert Grossetête … Bishop of Lincoln,’ London, 1793, 4to (Pegge's principal work). 10. ‘An Historical Account of Beauchief Abbey’ (Derbyshire), ed. by J. Nichols, London, 1801, 4to, the printing of which was largely supervised by Pegge's son Samuel. 11. ‘Anonymiana, or Ten Centuries of Observations,’ 1809, 8vo; also 1818, 8vo. 12. ‘An Alphabet of Kenticisms,’ printed in ‘Cleveland Words,’ &c. (English Dialect Society), 1876, 8vo. (Nos. 10–12 were posthumous.)

[Memoir in Nichols's Lit. Anecdotes, vi. pp. 224 ff., principally based on memoirs by Samuel Pegge the younger; Chalmers's Biogr. Dict.; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

W. W.