Englefield, Henry Charles (DNB00)

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ENGLEFIELD, Sir HENRY CHARLES (1752–1822), antiquary and scientific writer, born in 1752, was the eldest of the five children of Sir Henry Englefield, bart., by his second wife, Catharine, daughter of Sir Charles Bucke, bart. He succeeded his father in the baronetage 25 May 1780, but he did not marry, and the title became extinct. Englefield was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1779, was for many years one of its vice-presidents, and for a short time its president, succeeding Marquis Townshend. Under his direction the society published the series of engravings of English cathedrals and churches, Englefield himself contributing to the descriptive dissertations (1797–1813). He made ten or more contributions to the ‘Archæologia’ (vols. vi–xv.), principally on Roman antiquities and ecclesiastical architecture. He joined the Dilettanti Society in 1781, and was for fourteen years its secretary. He possessed a choice cabinet of vases, now apparently dispersed, formed from the Coghill, Cawdor, and Chinnery sales. The vases were drawn and engraved by H. Moses (Vases from the Collection of Sir H. Englefield, London, 1820, 4to; 2nd ed. 1848). He purchased Thomas Sandby's ‘Views and Sketches of St. George's Chapel, Windsor,’ at the Sandby sale in 1799.

Englefield was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1778. He made astronomical and other communications to it in 1781 and 1784. He also made scientific communications to the Linnean Society (vol. vi.), of which he was a fellow, and to the Royal Institution, and contributed to ‘Nicholson's Journal’ (vols. ix. x. xvi.), and to Tilloch's ‘Philosophical Magazine’ (vols. xxxvi. xliii. xlv.). His ‘Discovery of a Lake from Madder’ obtained the gold medal of the Society of Arts. He was president of the Society of Antiquaries 1811–12. His well-known ‘Description of the Principal Picturesque Beauties, Antiquities, and Geological Phenomena of the Isle of Wight,’ London, 1816, 4to and fol., embodied observations made in 1799, 1800, and 1801, when he spent the summer in the island. His other publications are: 1. ‘A Letter to the Author of the “Review of the Case of the Protestant Dissenters,”’ London, 1790, 8vo (in this Englefield, as a Roman catholic, defends the principles of his community). 2. ‘On the Determination of the Orbits of Comets,’ &c., London, 1793, 4to. 3. ‘A Walk through Southampton,’ Southampton, 1801, 8vo and 4to (2nd ed. with an account of Clausentum, 1805, 4to). 4. ‘The Andrian’ (verse translation from Terence), 1814, 8vo. 5. ‘Observations on the probable Consequences of the Demolition of London Bridge,’ London, 1821, 8vo.

Before his death Englefield suffered from (total or partial) loss of sight. He died at his house in Tylney Street, London, 21 March 1822, and was buried in the church at Englefield, near Reading. A house in Englefield, inhabited for several generations by his family, was sold by him in 1792. His friend William Sotheby testifies to Englefield's sunshiny temper and vivacious conversation. Charles Fox is said to have declared that he never left his company uninstructed. Englefield's portrait was painted by Sir T. Lawrence (engraved in Sotheby's ‘Memorial’), and there are portraits of him in the ‘Description of the Isle of Wight’ and in the ‘Gent. Mag.’ (1822, vol. xcii. pt. i. p. 292). Two bronze medalets of him are in the British Museum (Wroth, Index to English Personal Medals, p. 12).

[Sotheby's Memorial dedicated to the Society of Dilettanti, 1822, 8vo; Gent. Mag. 1822, vol. xcii. pt. i. pp. 293, 294, 418 f.; Michaelis's Ancient Marbles in Great Britain, p. 161 and §§ 84, 90; Ann. Reg. 1822, lxiv. 276; Burke's Extinct Baronetage, 1844, pp. 183–5; Rose's New Biog. Dict.; Nichols's Lit. Illustr. v. 719, vi. 292, 307, 759, vii. 13, 17; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. iii. 112, ix. 475, 656; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

W. W.