Frere, William (DNB00)

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FRERE, WILLIAM (1775–1836), law-serjeant and master of Downing College, Cambridge, the fourth son of John Frere [q. v.] of Roydon, Norfolk, and younger brother of John Hookham Frere [q. v.], was born 28 Nov. 1775. He was sent to Felstead and Eton, and in 1796 obtained a scholarship at Trinity College, Cambridge. In the same year he was elected to the Craven scholarship, and subsequently won several university honours, among them the senior chancellor's medal. He graduated fifth senior optime in 1798. In 1800 he became fellow of the newly founded Downing College. He was called to the bar, and joined the Norfolk circuit in 1802. He was serjeant-at-law in 1809, and three years later was elected master of Downing College, his appointment being unsuccessfully contested at law. He was made recorder of Bury St. Edmunds in 1814, and in 1819 became vice-chancellor of Cambridge University. He resided for a considerable part of each year on an estate which he bought at Balsham, Cambridgeshire. He proceeded LL.D. at Cambridge 1825, and D.C.L. at Oxford 1834. In 1826 he finally quitted the bar. He edited, with additions, Baron Glenbervie's ‘Reports of Cases,’ 1813, and the fifth volume of the ‘Paston Letters’ from the manuscript of Sir John Fenn [q. v.], his uncle. Some Latin and Greek verse by Frere was published with W. Herbert's ‘Fasciculus Carminum stylo Lucretiano scriptorum,’ 1797. He died 25 May 1836. He married in 1810 Mary, daughter of Brampton Gurdon Dillingham. His son, Philip Howard, is separately noticed. During Frere's time, chiefly through his wife, Downing College was a social centre at Cambridge.

[Information supplied by the Rev. W. H. Frere; Gent. Mag. 1836, ii. 214.]

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