Rawlinson, Richard (DNB00)

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RAWLINSON, RICHARD (1690–1755), topographer and nonjuring bishop, was fourth son (among fifteen children) of Sir Thomas Rawlinson [q. v.], and younger brother of Thomas Rawlinson (1681–1725) [q. v.] Born on 3 Jan. 1689–90, he was educated, first at St. Paul's School, and afterwards, from 1707, at Eton. Thence, at the age of eighteen, he went to St. John's College, Oxford, being matriculated as a commoner on 9 March 1707–8, but after the death of his father in that year he became in 1709 a gentleman commoner. He graduated B.A. on 10 Oct. 1711, and M.A. on 5 July 1713. In that year, on 31 July and 3 Oct., he became a governor of Bridewell and Bethlehem Hospitals, of which his father had been president (appointments which he appears to have valued highly), and on 29 June 1714 was elected a fellow of the Royal Society, being formally admitted on 13 Jan. in the following year. A staunch nonjuror and Jacobite, he was ordained deacon on 21 Sept. and priest on 23 Sept. 1716 by Bishop Jeremy Collier. He then began to devote himself to antiquarian pursuits, and in 1718–19 travelled over the midland and southern parts of England.

In July and August 1718 he visited, in company with Edmund Curll [q. v.], most, if not all, of the parishes in Oxfordshire, in order to begin collections for a proposed parochial history of the county, in which Wood's ‘History of the City of Oxford’ was to have been included. These collections remain among Rawlinson's manuscripts. From 11 June to November 1719 he travelled in France and the Low Countries, being enrolled in the register of the university of Utrecht on 21 Sept., and in that of Leyden on 28 Sept. While at Rouen he learnt that he had been created D.C.L. at Oxford on 19 June. In June 1720 he set out on another foreign tour. Six years were spent in Holland, France, Germany, Italy, Sicily, and Malta, in the course of which he was matriculated at Padua on 22 March 1722 (MS. Diary, p. 939). He records that he saw four popes, and a series of notebooks kept during his travels remains to attest his interest in pictures, inscriptions, and epitaphs. He returned to England in April 1726, in consequence of the death of his brother Thomas, and brought with him many manuscripts, coins, medals, and miscellaneous curiosities. Settling in London, he was admitted F.S.A. on 24 May 1727. In the following year he was consecrated a bishop among the nonjurors by Bishops Gandy, Doughty, and Blackbourne in Gandy's chapel on 25 March (Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. i. 225), and on 2 April signed a declaration, together with his three consecrators, against the ritual ‘usages’ advocated by Collier and others (Rawlinson MS. D. 835, fol. 28); but he always concealed his episcopal and even his clerical character; and, although some sermons remain in his handwriting, there is no evidence as to the place or time of their delivery. He, however, officiated in reading prayers at St. Andrew's, Holborn, on 25 June 1738, when Matthias Earbery, the nonjuror, returned thanks for deliverance from enemies (ib. D. 848, f. 108). He resided at first in Gray's Inn, living, it is said, in a garret there, but some time after his brother's death he removed to London House in Aldersgate. Following his brother's example, he filled it from ground floor to garrets with vast accumulations of printed books and manuscripts, many of which he had saved from destruction as waste paper. He also collected pictures, coins, marbles, music, and miscellaneous antiquities. Of many charters, coins, and portraits he had accurate engravings executed, and many of the plates are still preserved. While publishing little original matter, he edited many works of others. He led a quiet and retired life, practising great frugality, which exposed him to the ridicule of those who had no sympathy with his tastes or with his political views. A humorous Latin epitaph, describing him as a doctor of laws who knew no law, and as one who saw Holland, Italy, and France, but was never himself seen there, was written by Dr. Samuel Drake. It is said to have been fixed over his door in Gray's Inn, but it was also printed and circulated in 1733 in coffee-houses, and sent to Rawlinson by post. Copies of it, dated 1730, are in Rawlinson MS. D. 1191, and it is printed in Nichols's ‘Literary Anecdotes’ (v. 704). Rawlinson himself attributed it chiefly to Blackbourne, his fellow nonjuror, and he has preserved several declarations by persons who had seen a manuscript copy of it in Blackbourne's handwriting. To the epitaph there remains in manuscript a somewhat dignified reply by Rawlinson, in which he vindicates himself from the charges of ignorance, misanthropy, and miserliness, and says, apparently alluding to his episcopal office, that he had been ‘over-prevailed on’ to accept some posts by which he suffered himself ‘to be more public’ than he cared to be. Although he never appears to have taken part in any Jacobite movements, his strong attachment to the cause of the exiled family was no secret, and he is said to have purchased in 1722 at a high price the head of the executed Jacobite, Christopher Layer [q. v.], when blown down from Temple Bar, and to have directed that it should be buried with him in his right hand. But this provision, if made, was not carried out. A violent and abusive attack upon Rawlinson (in which he is called ‘a mitred nonjuror’ and ‘a pardoned rebel’) appeared in the ‘Evening Advertiser’ of 19 Nov. 1754 (cf. Nichols, Lit. Anecd. ix. 617–19).

Rawlinson died at Islington on 6 April 1755, and was buried in St. Giles's Church, Oxford. His will was printed by his direction immediately afterwards, together with a deed of trust for the foundation of a professorship of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford, for which he assigned certain rent-charges in Lancashire, including payments from the rectories of Ulverstone and Pennington. This deed is dated 11 Aug. 1750. The will is dated 2 June 1752, with four codicils, the last dated 14 Feb. 1755. To the Bodleian Library (to which during his life he had been a constant donor) he left his manuscripts, and all his curiosities, seals, and impressions of seals (chiefly from the collection of Charles Christian), his deeds, some of his printed books, and some articles which were in the custody of his brother Constantine, who was then living at Venice. Among the manuscripts are his valuable collections for a continuation of Wood's ‘Athenæ,’ in connection with which he circulated, about 1740, a printed sheet of queries. All Hearne's collections are included, with his diaries; the latter were bought by Rawlinson of the widow of Bishop Hilkiah Bedford for 105l. To St. John's College he bequeathed his heart, which is preserved in a marble urn in the chapel, some of his printed books, coins, and a set of medals of Louis XIV and XV, a cabinet which had belonged to Hearne, and a large residue of his estate. To the College of Surgeons he gave some skeletons and preservations in spirits. He also provided a salary for the keeper of the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford. But all his endowments were clogged with eccentric restrictions, which have only in recent years been statutably removed. The recipients were never to be natives of Scotland, Ireland, or of the Plantations; nor to be doctors in any faculty, but only M.A. or B.C.L.; nor to be married (probably from his disgust at the unfortunate marriage of his brother Thomas, and anger, of which there is evidence, at his own mother's marrying twice after his father's death); nor to be fellows of the Royal Society or the Society of Antiquaries, on account of offence which he had personally taken against those bodies. His printed books not otherwise disposed of, pamphlets, and prints were sold at three several auctions, which altogether lasted for sixty-eight days, in 1756 and 1757. The printed books alone comprised 9,405 lots. His manuscripts in the Bodleian Library number altogether about five thousand seven hundred; catalogues of portions have been published, while of the remainder brief entries are furnished in Mr. F. Madan's ‘Summary Catalogue of Western MSS. in the Bodleian Library,’ 1895, pp. 254–556.

Among the works that he claims to have written or edited are: ‘Life of Anthony Wood,’ Oxford, 1711: Carmina quædam in obitum Reg. Annæ et Jo. Radclivii. ‘The Oxford Packet broke open,’ 1714. ‘University Miscellany,’ 2nd edit. 1714. ‘The Jacobite Memorial, being a Letter sent to the Mayor of Oxford,’ 1714 (‘these papers were published by a gentleman to whom Dr. R. R. communicated copies which he took from the original, Aug. 31, 1714’). ‘A full and impartial Account of the Oxford Riots,’ 1715. ‘Miscellanies on several curious Subjects,’ 1714. ‘Laws of Honour’ (1714, 1726). Tristram Risdon's ‘Survey of Devon,’ 2 vols. 1714. W. Lilly's ‘History of his Life and Times,’ 1715. ‘The History and Antiquities of the Cathedral Church of Hereford,’ 1717. S. Erdeswick's ‘Survey of Staffordshire,’ 1717. T. Abingdon's ‘Antiquities of the Cathedral Church of Worcester, with the Antiquities of Lichfield,’ 1717. ‘History and Antiquities of the Cathedral Church of Rochester,’ 1717. E. Ashmole's ‘Memoirs by way of Diary,’ 1717. ‘Conduct of Rev. Dr. White Kennet, Dean of Peterborough, from 1681 to this time,’ 2nd edit. 1717. ‘Rob South, Opera posthuma, Lat.-Engl.’ 1717. ‘Inscriptions in the Dissenters' Burial-place near Bunhill Fields,’ 1717. ‘Abælardi et Heloissæ Epistolæ,’ 1717(–18. ‘To some copies are prefixed verses by Dr. Sewell’). J. Aubrey's ‘Natural History and Antiquities of the County of Surrey’ (much enlarged), 5 vols. 1719. ‘Antiquities of Salisbury and Bath,’ 1719. J. Norden's ‘Survey of Northamptonshire,’ 1720. ‘The English Topographer,’ 1720. ‘History of Sir John Perrott,’ from the original manuscript, 1727 (–28, published in November 1727). Translation of Du Fresnoy's ‘Method of studying History, with a Catalogue of Historians,’ 1728. ‘Addison's Speech in defence of the New Philosophy,’ transl. from the Latin, annexed to Fontenelle's ‘Week's Conversation,’ 1728. ‘Letters wrote by R. R. in the British Champion of … A Letter about Subscriptions to Books. Numb. … of Saturday, 23 April 1744.’ ‘Two letters of Dr. R.'s to E. Curll in relation to Mr. Hearne, prefixed by that Scoundrell to the scandalous Account of Mr. Hearne's Life, published at London at the end of a third vol. of Pope's Letters’ (1736). In 1717 he printed ‘Proposals for a History of Eton College,’ his collections for which remain among his manuscripts. In 1729 he privately printed Theophilus Downes's ‘De Clipeo Woodwardiano Stricturæ breves,’ in 1732 reprinted the Latin version of the Thirty-nine Articles, and about 1733 issued privately the records of nonjuring consecrations, of which a part had been printed previously. In his later years he appears to have sent nothing to the press.

[Rawlinson MS. J. i. 343–54; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. vii. 489–98 (many notes are scattered through various volumes of the Anecdotes and of the Literary History); Macray's Annals of the Bodleian Library, 2nd edit. pp. 231–51, with portrait.]

W. D. M.