Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Milward, Richard

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681823Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 38 — Milward, Richard1894Bertha Porter

MILWARD, RICHARD (1609–1680), editor of Selden's ‘Table Talk,’ a son of Richard Milward, was born at Flitton in Bedfordshire, and baptised there on 25 April 1609 (parish reg.) He matriculated as a sizar from Trinity College, Cambridge, on 7 July 1625, was elected scholar of his college on 13 April 1627, proceeded B.A. in 1628, M.A. in 1632, and D.D. by royal mandate in 1662. He became rector of Great Braxted in Essex on 12 Dec. 1643, and held the living for the rest of his life. He was appointed canon of Windsor 31 May, and installed 30 June 1666, and was vicar of Isleworth, Middlesex, from 3 July 1678 till his death on 20 Dec. 1680; he was buried at Great Braxted on 24 Dec., and a black marble slab erected to his memory is now on the north side of the church. At the time of his death he was possessed of lands at Flitton and Higham Gobion in Bedfordshire, which he left to his widow, Mary, daughter of Sir Anthony Thomas of Cobham, Surrey, and after her death to his only daughter and heiress, Mary, wife of Sir Anthony Abdy of Kelvedon, Essex.

Milward long acted as amanuensis to John Selden [q. v.], and ‘had the opportunity to hear his discourse twenty years together.’ The notes that he made from time to time of ‘those excellent things that usually fell from him’ were afterwards sorted and arranged by him for publication, though the first edition of the ‘Table Talk’ did not appear till 1689, nine years after Milward's death. Discredit has been thrown upon the authenticity of the compilation, on the ground that it contains many things unworthy of Selden, and at variance with his principles and practice. David Wilkins [q. v.], Selden's editor and biographer, strongly held this view (cf. Acta Eruditorum, Leipzig, Suppl. i. 1692, p. 426). There are three manuscript copies of the work in the British Museum (Harl. MSS. 690, 1315 and Sloane MS. 2513), but none of them original. The second edition of the ‘Table Talk’ (1696), printed for Jacob Tonson, and Awnsham, and John Churchill, was probably based on the Harleian MS. 1315. It was reprinted in 1716. In the Advocates' Library, Edinburgh, is also a manuscript copy, which differs in some details from the first edition.

[Newcourt's Repertorium, i. 676, ii. 92; Kennett's Reg. p. 685; Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser 1661-2, p. 371; Le Neve's Fasti (Hardy), iii. 403; P.C.C. (North, 60); Visitation of Essex (Harl. Soc. Publ.), xiv. 628; Wright's Essex, ii. 411; Milward's dedication of Table Talk, 1689; Aikin's Lives of Selden and Usher, pp. 167-8; Singer's Preface to Table Talk, edit. 1856, and Irving's Notes, edit. 1854; for relative value of the various manuscripts and printed editions, Reynolds's Introduction to Table Talk, Oxford, 1892, pp. xi-xiii; Trin. Coll. Camb. Admission Registers; information from J. W. Clark, esq., Cambridge, and the Rev. W. H. Rowlandson, Great Braxted.]

B. P.