Sharp, Cuthbert (DNB00)

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SHARP, Sir CUTHBERT (1781–1849), antiquary, son of Cuthbert Sharp, shipowner, and of Susannah, sister of Brass Crosby [q. v.], lord mayor of London, was born at Sunderland in 1781, and received his education at Greenwich under Dr. Burney. There he formed a lasting friendship with Lord Lake and with Sir Edward Blakeney [q. v.] When he was eighteen years of age he served in Ireland during the rebellion as an officer in the fencible cavalry. When his regiment was disbanded, Sharp proceeded to Edinburgh, and in 1803 visited Paris, where he was surprised by the resumption of hostilities (at the conclusion of the peace of Amiens), and detained, with other English visitors, as a prisoner of war. But by the influence of Regnier, the minister of justice, whose friendship he had acquired, he was released on parole, and after a few years was allowed to pass into England.

Sharp settled at Hartlepool and devoted himself to the study of local antiquities. In 1816 he acted as mayor, and was knighted on the occasion of a visit of the prince regent. In the same year appeared his first book, ‘The History of Hartlepool’ (2nd ed. 1851), by which his reputation as an antiquary was established. Sharp came to know Surtees, the historian of Durham, and rendered him valuable assistance in compiling local genealogies. His contributions to Surtees's ‘History of Durham’ were distinguished by the initials C. S. surmounted by a rose.

In 1823 Sharp was appointed collector of customs at Sunderland, but continued his study of local antiquities. In 1840 appeared his ‘Memorials of the Rebellion of 1569,’ based on the Bowes MSS. In 1845 he was promoted to the post of collector of customs at Newcastle-on-Tyne, where he resided until his death on 17 Aug. 1849.

His other works include:

  1. ‘A Brief Summary of a Manuscript formerly belonging to Lord William Howard,’ 1819, 8vo.
  2. ‘Excerpta Memorabilia e Registris Parochialibus Com. Pal. Dunelm.’ 8vo, in three parts, 1819, 1825, 1841; published in one volume in 1841.
  3. ‘A List of the Knights and Burgesses who have represented the County and City of Durham in Parliament,’ Durham 1826, 4to; 2nd ed. Sunderland, 1833.
  4. ‘Poems,’ Sunderland, 1828, 12mo.
  5. ‘The Life of Ambrose Barnes, sometime Alderman of Newcastle,’ 1828, 8vo.
  6. ‘The Worme of Lambton,’ a legend, 1830, 4to.

He also compiled a ‘Catalogue’ of his manuscripts, 1829, 8vo.

[Gent. Mag. 1816 i. 534, 1841 ii. 61, 1849 ii. 428–30; Athenæum, 1849, p. 913.]

E. I. C.