Rea, John (DNB00)

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REA, JOHN (d. 1681), nursery gardener, lived at Kinlet, near Bewdley, Worcestershire, of which he says in his ‘Flora’ (1676): ‘it is a rural district where it was my unhappiness to plant my stock.’ He is said to have had the largest collection of tulips in England, to have introduced some new plants, and to have planned the gardens at Gerard's Bromley, Staffordshire, the seat of Charles, fourth baron Gerard of Bromley, to whose son he dedicated his ‘Flora.’ He died in November 1681, bequeathing his holding at Kinlet to his daughter Minerva, wife of Samuel Gilbert [q. v.], author of the ‘Fons Sanitatis.’

Rea's only work appears to have been ‘Flora, seu de Florum Cultura, or a complete Florilege,’ with a second engraved title-page, ‘Flora, Ceres, and Pomona, in III. Books,’ London, 1665, fol. Of this a second impression, ‘with many additions,’ appeared in 1676, and was reissued, with a new title-page, in 1702. By Allibone, Watt, and others, John Rea has been confused with his great contemporary, John Ray [q. v.]

[Journal of Horticulture, 1876, i. 172–3.]

G. S. B.