Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Beverley, John

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BEVERLEY, JOHN (1743–1827), esquire bedell of Cambridge University, was a native of Norwich, where his father was a native of Norwich, where his father was in the wine trade, and received his education at Christ's College, Cambridge (B.A. 1767, M.A. 1770). He was elected one of the esquire bedells of the university in 1770, and held that appointment until his death. Mr. Gunning, who was one of his colleagues, gives some extraordinary instances of the careless and perfunctory way in which Beverley discharged the duties of his office. Beverley was always in pecuniary difficulties, and in order to extricate himself from them he resorted to a variety of ingenious expedients. For example, he would dispose of musical instruments and choice flowers, of which he had a fine collection, at a very high price, by means of a lottery, and he and his friends used to canvass the members of the university to purchase tickets. He was a great favourite with the Earl of Sandwich, first lord of the admiralty, who appointed him commissioner and comptroller of an office in Greenwich Hospital. He married one of the daughters of Cooper Thornhill, the famous rider from Stilton. In consequence of his long services as required bedell he was allowed to have a deputy in 1821. In an undated manuscript note, Cole, the antiquary, says: 'Beverley was extravagant, and his wife improvident and proud; they have six young children; it is said he has others at Norwich. Lord Sandwich ahout three years ago got him a small place in his office of the admiralty, of about 100l. annum, he being a good performer on the violin.' His death occurred in London 25 March 1827.

Besides some poll-books of university elections he published: 1. 'An Account of the different Ceremonies observed in the Senate House of the University of Cambridge throughout the year, together with tables of fees, modes of electing officers, forms of proceeding to degrees, and other articles relating to the customs of the university.' Cambridge 1788, 8vo. 2. 'The Trial of William Frend in the Vice-Chancellor's Court for writing and publishing a pamphlet entitled "Peace and Union recommended to the Associated Bodies of Republicans and Anti-Republicans,"' Cambridge [1793], 8vo. 3. 'The Proceedings in the Court of Delegates on the Appeal of William Frend from the Sentence on the Vice-Chancellor's Court,' Cambridge [1793], 8vo.

[Information from Rev. H. R. Luard, D.D.; MS. Addit 5864, f. 99; Cambridge Chronicle. 30 March 1827; Biog. Dict. of Living Authors (1816); Cat. of Printed Books in Brit. Mus.; Romilly's Graduati Cantab. 493, 494; Gunning's Reminiscences of Cambridge, i. 144–54; Gent. Mag. li. 532, containing satirical verses on Beverley.]

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