Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Peshall, John

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PESHALL or PECHELL, Sir JOHN (1718–1778), bart., historical writer, born at Hawn, Worcestershire, on 27 Jan. 1718, was the eldest son of Sir Thomas Peshall (1694–1759) of Eccleshall, Staffordshire, by his wife Anne, daughter of Samuel Sanders of Ombersley, Worcestershire. The family of Peshall was of very ancient origin. One of the early forms of the name was Passelewe, and three members of the family who flourished in the thirteenth century are separately noticed. Sir John took holy orders, and in 1771 was preferred to the rectory of Stoke Bliss in Herefordshire. He resided a great deal in Oxford, where he died on 9 Nov. 1778. He was buried at Hawn. Peshall married, on 12 July 1753, Mary, daughter and coheir of James Allen, vicar of Thaxted in Essex, by whom he left issue.

Peshall wrote ‘The History of the University of Oxford to the Death of William the Conqueror,’ Oxford, 1772, 8vo. This is a slight performance, though it attempts to trace the origin of the university to druidical times, and describes Alfred as merely ‘refreshing the life of the institution’ (p. 20). The authorities on which the book is founded are treated in the chapter on ‘The Mythical Origin of Oxford’ in Mr. Parker's ‘Early History of Oxford’ (Oxf. Hist. Soc.), 1885. He also edited from the manuscript in the Bodleian, with additions of his own, Anthony a Wood's ‘Antient and Present state of the City of Oxford,’ 1773, 4to.

[Wotton's Baronetage, i. 122; Gent. Mag. 1778, ii. 164; pedigree of family among Ashmole MSS. in Bodleian Library; Duncumb's Herefordshire, ii. 164; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

T. S.