Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Brerewood, Edward

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

BREREWOOD or BRYERWOOD, EDWARD (1565?–1613), antiquary and mathematician, son of Robert Brerewood, a wetglover, who had thrice been mayor of Chester, was born and educated in that city. In 1581 he was sent to Brasenose College, Oxford, where he had the character of a very hard student. He graduated B. A. 15 Feb. 1586-7, M.A. 9 July 1590, and 'being candidate for a fellowship, he lost it without loss of credit, for where preferment goes more by favour than merit, the rejected have more honour than the elected' (Fuller, Worthies, ed. 1662, Cheshire, 190). Then he migrated to St. Mary Hall, and on 26 Sept. 1592, when Queen Elizabeth was at Oxford, he replied at a disputation in natural philosophy. In March 1596 he was chosen the first professor of astronomy in Gresham College, London, where, as at Oxford, 'he led a retired and private course of life, delighting with profound speculations, and the diligent searching out of hidden verities.' Brerewood, who was a member of the Old Society of Antiquaries, died on 4 Nov. 1613, and was buried in the church of Great St. Helen. His large and valuable library he bequeathed with his other effects to his nephew Robert [q. v.] (afterwards knight and a justice of the common pleas), a son of his elder brother, John Brerewood.

His works are:

  1. 'De ponderibus et pretiis veterum nummorum, eorumque cum recentioribus collatione,' London, 1614, 4to. This was first published by his nephew, and afterwards inserted in the 'Apparatus' of the 'Biblia Polyglotta,' by Brian Walton, and also in the 'Critici Sacri,' vol. viii.
  2. 'Enquiries touching the Diversities of Languages and Religions through the chief parts of the world,' London, 1614, 1622, 1635, 4to, 1647, &c. 8vo. This was likewise published by his nephew, and afterwards translated into French by J. de la Montagne, Paris, 1640, 8vo, and into Latin by John Johnston. Father Richard Simon made some remarks on Brerewood's work, under the pseudonym of le Sieur de Moni, in a treatise entitled 'Histoire critique de la créance et des coûtumes des nations du Levant,' Frankfort (really printed at Amsterdam), 1684. In 1693 it was reprinted, and again since that date with the following alterations in the title:—'Histoire critique des dogmes, des controverses, des coûtumes, et des ceremonies des Chretiens orientaux.'
  3. 'Elementa Logicæ, in gratiam studiosæ juventutis in academia Oxoniensi,' London,1614, 1615, &c. 8vo.
  4. 'Tractatus quidam logici de prædicabilibus, et prædicamentis,' Oxford, 1628, 1637, &c. 8vo. This book was first published by Thomas Sixesmith, M. A., fellow of Brasenose College, Oxford. A manuscript of it is preserved in Queen's College library in that university. The work is sometimes quoted as 'Brerewood de moribus.'
  5. 'Tractatus duo: quorum primus est de meteoris, secundus de oculo,' Oxford, 1631, 1638, 8vo. These two tracts were also published by Sixesmith.
  6. 'A Treatise of the Sabbath,' Oxford, 1630, 1631, 4to. This book was written as a letter to Nicholas Byfield [q. v.], preacher at Chester, having been occasioned by a sermon of his relating to the morality of the Sabbath. It is dated from Gresham House 15 July 1611. The original manuscript is in the British Museum (Addit. MS. 21207). Richard Byfield [q. v.], Nicholas's brother, wrote a reply to it.
  7. 'Mr. Byfield's Answer, with Mr. Brerewood's Reply,' Oxford, 1631, 4to. These were both printed together, with the second edition of the former.
  8. 'A second Treatise of the Sabbath, or an Explication of the Fourth Commandment,' Oxford, 1632, 4to.
  9. 'Commentarii in Ethica Aristotelis,' Oxford, 1640, 4to. These commentaries relate only to the first four books, and were published by Sixesmith. The original manuscript, which was finished 27 Oct. 1586, is in the library of Queen's College, Oxford. It is written, says Wood, 'in the smallest and neatest character that mine eyes ever yet beheld.'
  10. 'A Declaration of the Patriarchal Government of the antient Church,' Oxford, 1641, 4to, London, 1647, Bremen, 1701, 8vo. The Oxford edition is subjoined to a treatise called 'The original of Bishops and Metropolitans, briefly laid down by Archbishop Ussher,' &c.

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), ii. 139, Fasti, i. 236, 251; Ward's Gresham Professors, 74, 336, with the author's manuscript notes; Archaeologia, i. p. xix; Gent. Mag. lxi. (ii.) 714.]

T. C.