Elliot, John (1725-1782) (DNB00)

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ELLIOT, JOHN (1725–1782), antiquary, was born in 1725 in the parish of St. John-sub-Castro, Lewes, the son of Obadiah Elliot, proprietor of the brewery still existing in Fisher Street (Lower, Worthies of Sussex, p. 329). After learning his rudiments at Lewes grammar school he was articled to an attorney, and eventually secured a good practice, though it would appear that in his earlier years his love for antiquities gave rise to much parental misgiving. When free from parental restraint his business proved equally distracting (Lee [Dunvan], Hist. of Lewes and Brighthelmstone, 1795, p. 344), and after he had taken unto himself a wife who was a pure regenerated methodist, the good woman's anxiety for his spiritual welfare proved as great a hindrance to the antiquarian investigations as his father's for his temporal prosperity' (ib.) Elliot, however, was able to maintain a regular correspondence with several antiquaries of repute, more particularly with Dr. (afterwards Sir William) Burrell [q. v.], and with the Rev. John Watson [q. v.], author of the 'History of the Earls of Warren and Surrey.' To the former he bequeathed his 'manuscript collections of all sorts, bound or unbound, relative to Lewes or Sussex,' which were afterwards incorporated with Burrell's manuscripts, now in the British Museum, while to the latter he furnished much valuable information touching the feudal barony, as may be seen in the 'History' itself (ed. 1782, ii. 245), and in J. G. Nichols's review in Nichols's 'Herald and Genealogist', vii. 201, 204, 205, 207. Elliot,who was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries 7 Dec. 1780([Gough,] List. of Members of Soc. Antiq. 4to, 1798, p. 33), died suddenly in Southampton Row, Bloomsbury, 28 Feb. 1782, aged 57 (Gent. Mag. lii. 150; Probate Act Book, P. C. C, 1782), and desired 'to be buried in the vault in St. Michael's churchyard in Lewes with my father and mother.' His will, as 'of the Inner Temple, London, gentleman,' dated 3 April 1770, with codicil of 31 Oct. 1779, was proved at London on 2 March 1782 (registered in P. C. C, 127, Gostling). By his wife, Margaret Cook of Berwick-upon-Tweed, who survived him, he left no issue. He had brought together a choice antiquarian library at his chambers in the Inner Temple, which he directed to be sold after his death. He never published any of his collections, nor contributed to 'Archæologia.' Those of his manuscripts in the British Aluseum catalogued separately are 'Notes on Camden's "Britannia,"' Addit. MS. 5703; 'Notes to a Register of Lewes,' Addit. MS. 6351, f. 70; 'Letters to Rev. Robert Austen [a Lewes antiquary], 1774, 1775,' Addit. MS. 6351, ff. 43, 50, 53.

[Authorities cited in the text.]

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