Snell, John (DNB00)

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SNELL, JOHN (1629–1679), founder of the Snell exhibitions in Balliol College, Oxford, born in 1629, was the son of Andrew Snell, smith at McCalanstone in the parish of Colmonell, Ayrshire, by Margaret, daughter of John Carnahan. In 1643 he studied at Glasgow under James Dalrymple, one of the regents of that university, afterwards first Viscount Stair [q. v.] In the civil war he sided with the royalists, and was present several engagements, including Worcester (3 Sept. 1651). Narrowly escaping from that battle, he too refuge in the family of a person of quality in Cheshire, where he became acquainted with Sir Orlando Bridgeman [q.v.] Possibly he was related to George Snell, archdeacon of Chester, who had married Lydia Bridgeman Sir Orlando's aunt. During the Commonwealth and procetorate he was clerk to Sir Orland, then practising in London as chamber counsel and conveyancer. On Bridgeman's elevation to the bench in 1660 Snell became crier of his court. In 1667 he was made seal-bearer on his patron's appointment to be lord-keeper, and continued to hold that office during Shaftesbury's chancellorship. He was afterwards secretary to the Duke of Monmouth, and one commissioner for the management of the duke's estates in Scotland. He died at Oxford on 6 Aug. 1679, and was buried in the church of St. Cross, Holywell. He was ‘much esteemed for his great diligence and understanding.’ The second volume of Sir Orlando Bridgeman's ‘Conveyances’ was printed in 1702 from his manuscript.

By his wife Johanna, he left a daughter Dorothy, who was married in 1682 to William Guise of Winterbourne, Gloucestershire; from her is descended Sir William Guise, bart., of Elmore Court, Gloucestershire.

By his will, proved 13 Sept. 1679, Snell bequeathed the residue of his estate, including his manor and lands of Ufton, Warwickshire, to be administered by three trustees—the provost of Queen's, the president of St. Jihn's, and the master of Balliol— with a view to the education at some collee or hall in Oxford University of scholars from his own college of Glasgow, to which his letters and benefactions show him to have been warmly attached. By decree of the court of chancery in 1693, it was appointed that the scholars should go to Balliol College. A provision in the will that they should enter into holy orders and return to Scotland for preferment has several times given rise to litigation. In consequence of the disestablishment of episcopacy and the ‘settlement of presbyters’ in Scotland, this provision was held to be ineffectual. The foundation has been one of great value, and the list of scholars or exhibitioners contains among other eminent illustrious names those of Adam Smith and John Gibson Lockhart, and John Wilson (‘Christopher North’).

[Wood's Fasti, ed. Bliss, ii. 371; Preface to vol. ii. of Sir Orlando Bridgeman's Conveyances, 1702; Munimenta Almæ Universitatis Glasguensis (Maitland Club), 1854; Deeds instituting Bursaries, &c., in the University of Glasgow (Maitland Club), 1850, p. 92, and App.; Transactions of the Glasgow Archæological Society, new ser. vol. ii. pt. iii. p. 271.]

G. W. C.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.254
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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206 ii 55-56 Snell, John: omit and John Wilson (‘Christopher North’)