Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Gale, Samuel

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GALE, SAMUEL (1682–1754), antiquary, youngest son of Thomas Gale, dean of York [q. v.], and brother of Roger Gale [q. v.], was born in the parish of St. Faith's, London, on 17 Dec. 1682. He was baptised on 20 Dec., Samuel Pepys being one of his godfathers. He was educated at St. Paul's School, where his father was master, but did not proceed to the university. About 1702 he obtained a post in the custom house, London. At the time of his death he was one of the land surveyors of the customs, and searcher of the books and curiosities imported into England (Gent. Mag. xxiv. 47). Gale was one of the founders of the revived Society of Antiquaries, and was elected its first treasurer in January 1717–18 (Archæologia, vol. i. pp. xxviii, xxxiii). On resigning the treasurership in 1739–40, he was presented by the society with an inscribed silver cup. He was also a member of the Spalding Society, and of the Brazennose Literary Society at Stamford (founded 1745). Gale delighted in archæological excursions through England. For many years he and his friend Dr. Ducarel [q. v.] used in August to travel incognito, journeying about fifteen miles a day. They took up their quarters at an inn, ‘penetrating into the country for three or four miles round.’ They had with them Camden's ‘Britannia’ and a set of maps (Nichols, Lit. Anecd. vi. 402). In 1705 Gale visited Oxford, Bath, and Stonehenge, and wrote descriptive accounts. On 29 Aug. 1744 he made a pilgrimage with Dr. Stukeley to Croyland Abbey. On 16 May 1747 he visited Canons, the splendid mansion of the Duke of Chandos, and, lamenting its approaching demolition, went into the chapel, and preached an appropriate sermon, while his two companions sang an anthem and psalms (Surtees Soc. Publ. lxxiii. 389–90). Gale died of a fever on 10 Jan. 1754 at his lodgings, the Chicken-house, Hampstead. He was buried by Dr. Stukeley on 14 Jan. in the burial-ground of St. George's, Queen Square, London, near the Foundling Hospital. He was unmarried. A portrait of him was painted by his intimate friend, Isaac Whood, and is described by Nichols as being ‘still at Scruton’ (Roger Gale's estate). His collection of prints by Hollar, Callot, &c. was sold by auction in 1754 by Langford. Most of his books were sold to Osborn. The unpublished manuscripts of his own writings became the property of his only sister Elizabeth, and thus came into the hands of her husband, Dr. Stukeley, from whom they passed to Dr. Ducarel, and were then bought by Gough. Nichols printed many of them in the ‘Reliquiæ Galeanæ’ (1781, &c.), including the ‘Tour through several parts of England’ in 1705 (revised by Gale, 1730); ‘A Dissertation on Celts;’ ‘Account of some Antiquities at Glastonbury,’ 1711; ‘Observations on Kingsbury, Middlesex,’ 1751. (For others, see Reliq. Gal.) The only writings published by Gale himself were, ‘A History of Winchester Cathedral,’ London, 1715, 8vo (begun by Henry, earl of Clarendon), and two papers (‘Ulphus' Horn at York,’ ‘Cæsar's passage over the Thames’) in the ‘Archæologia,’ vol. i. Gale gave some valuable material to Drake for his ‘Eboracum,’ and probably furnished Hearne with various readings of Leland's 'Itinerary.' Vertue's prints of the old chapel under London Bridge were designed under his patronage. Some of Gale's letters and a correspondence with Stukeley (who sometimes addresses him as 'Dear Mr. Samuel') are printed in Stukeley's 'Memoirs' (Surtees Soc.) Gale is described by Ducarel as a 'worthy and amiable' man, and by Nichols as being of 'uncommon abilities, and well versed in the antiquities of England.'

[Nichols's Lit. Anecd. iv. 550-5, and other references in Lit. Anecd. and Lit. Illustr.; Gent. Mag. 1754, xxiv. 47; Reliquiæ Galeanæ in vol. ii. of Nichols's Bibl. Topogr. Britannica; Family Memoirs of William Stukeley, &c. (Surtees Soc. 3 vols. 1882-7).]

W. W.