Thorpe, John (1715-1792) (DNB00)

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THORPE, JOHN (1715–1792), antiquary, born in 1715, was the only son of John Thorpe (1682–1750) [q. v.], antiquary, of Rochester, by his wife Elizabeth, daughter of John Woodhouse of Shobdon, Herefordshire. He was educated at Ludsdown, Kent, under Samuel Thornton, and matriculated from University College, Oxford, on 22 March 1731–2, graduating B.A. in 1735 and M.A. in 1738. After some study of medicine he abandoned it, and, like his father, devoted himself to antiquarian research. In 1755 he was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. In 1769 he published, with the assistance of John Baynard of the navy office, his father's ‘Registrum Roffense’ (London, fol.). In 1788 Thorpe supplemented the ‘Registrum’ by publishing the ‘Custumale Roffense’ (London, fol.) from the original manuscript, with the addition of other memorials of the cathedral church. After residing for many years at High-street House, Bexley, Kent, he removed in 1789, after the death of his first wife, to Richmond Green, Surrey, and then to Chippenham in Wiltshire, where he died on 2 Aug. 1792; he was buried in the churchyard of the neighbouring village of Hardenhuish.

Thorpe was twice married. His first wife, Catharina, whom he married in 1746, was the daughter of Laurence Holker, physician, of Gravesend. She died on 10 Jan. 1789, leaving two daughters, Catharine and Ethelinda. On 6 July 1790 he married Mrs. Holland, his housekeeper and ‘the widow of an old collegiate acquaintance.’

Besides the works mentioned, Thorpe contributed ‘Illustrations of several Antiquities in Kent which have hitherto remained undescribed’ to the first volume of the ‘Bibliotheca Topographica Britannica.’ A letter from him to Andrew Coltée Ducarel [q. v.] maintaining, in opposition to Daines Barrington [q. v.], that the cherry is indigenous to England, was published in the ‘Philosophical Transactions’ of the Royal Society (1771, p. 152). He frequently made contributions on antiquarian subjects to the ‘Gentleman's Magazine.’ His portrait, painted by W. Hardy and engraved by Thomas Cook [q. v.], is prefixed to ‘Custumale Roffense.’

[Gent. Mag. 1792 ii. 769, 1101, 1793 i. 129; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. iii. 515, vi. 386; Nichols's Lit. Illustr. iv. 646, 673; Chalmers's Biogr. Dict. 1816; Allibone's Dict. of Engl. Lit.; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1715–1886.]

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