Page images
PDF
EPUB

of the same month, the day on which he completed his 77th year, a severe attack of colick terminated the life of this great man, after a few days' illness. He left considerable property, reals as well as personal; which he had devised three

years before his decease in the following will: 6–

Decemb. 2, 1679. In the name of God. Amen. 1, Thomas Browne, Knight and Dr. of Physick, of the citty of Norwich, do make this my last will and testament. Imprimis, I giue and bequeath vnto my deare wife, Dame Dorothie Browne, all my Lands, Leases, and Tenements, all my bonds, bills, moueables, money, plute, jewells, and all my goods whatsoeuer, thereby to haue a provision for herself, and make liberall maintenance and portions for my deare daughters Elizabeth Browne and Frances Browne. Excepting such lands and tenements as were assigned and made ouer unto my sonne Edward Browne upon murriage, and to bee entered upon a yeare after my decease. Item. I appoynt and make my wife, Dame Dorothie Browne, my sole executrix, and give her power to sell all leases, all my goods, moueables, mony, plate, jewells, bonds, and all goods valuable whatsoeuer, for the the7 prouision of herself and of my daughters Elizabeth und Francis Browne, and for the payment of my debts, legacies, and charitable gifts, wherewith she is fully acquainted, and will, I doubt not, performe my will therein. And if it shall please God that my wife Dame Dorothie should dye before mee, then I make my daughters, Elizabeth and Frances Browne my executrixes, and giue them the same enjoyment and power in my estate as I haue before given unto my wife, Dame Dorothie. This is my last will and testament, which I haue writt with my owne hund, and confirmed it with my hand and seale.

THOMAS BROWNE. Witnesses, Nicho: Bickerdike

Anthony Mingay

Aug: Briggs, Junior. s I have great pleasure in acknowledging the courtesy of Mr. John Bruce, who has had the kindness to transmit to me, through my friend Mr. Amyot, the following proof that Sir Thomas was a landed proprietor. What would be said by the present possessor of " The Great Lady Howe,” and The Little Lady Howe,” were such a sum as £ 130 tendered in purchase of their ladyships in this our day?

Indre, dated" the thirtieth day of March, in the year of our Lord God one thousand six hundred and sixty. Between Edward Mileham, of North Burlingham, in the Countye of Norff. Esp. of the one part, and Thomas Browne, of the Cittye of Norwich, Doctor of Phisicke, Robert Bendish, of the Cittye of Norwich, Merchant, and John Robbins, of the said Cittye, Gent, (they the said Robert Bendish being psons named in trust on the behalfe of the said Thomas Browne,) being a conveyance of certain Marshes at Aldebye, in the County of Norfolk, called " Great Lady Howe and Little Lady Howe,in consideration of £130. Signed Edw. Mileham.* Through the kindness of my friend, John Kitson, Esq. of Norwich, I am enabled to present an engraved fac simile of this will, from a copy by Mr. S. Woodward.

7 Sic. in MS.

Of the two daughters named in this will, only one (Frances) remained single at the time of his death. Whether she married afterwards or not I cannot say with certainty. In the pedigree drawn up by Le Neve-among the daughters of Mr, Fairfax are enumerated two of the name Frances, both married, the latter to Mr. Bosville, a Yorkshire gentleman. This I suppose to have been the daughter of Sir Thomas, and to have been confounded by Le Neve with his granddaughter. But I cannot bring any evidence whatever to support my suggestion, which must, therefore, remain mere hypothesis. His widow, Lady Dorothy, survived him little more than two years. Her monument, in St. Peter's church, bears the following inscription :

SACRED

TO THE MEMORY OF
THE LADY DOROTHY BROWNE,

OF NORWICH,
IN THE COUNTY OF NORFF.

SHE DIED FEBR. 24, MDCLXXXV.
IN THE SIXTY-THIRD YEAR OF HER AGE.

Reader thou maist believe this pious stone,
It is not common dust thou treadst upon,
'Tis hallowed earth, all that is left below
Of what the world admired and honoured too;
The prison of a bright celestial mind,
Too spacious to be longer here confined;
Which after all that virtue could inspire,
Or unaffected piety require,
In all the noblest offices of life,
Of tendrest benefactress, mother, wife,
To those serene abodes above is flown,

To be adorned with an immortal CROWN. It is very remarkable, that although Sir Thomas Browne had forty children and grand-children, (including those who were so by marriage,) yet, in the second generation, within thirty years after his decease, the male line became extinct; and of the third generation, none survived their infancy, excepting in the family of his eldest daughter, Anne; 8 of whose eight children, none left any descendants but the third daughter, Frances Fairfax, married to the Earl of Buchan; whose daughter, Lady Frances Erskine, married the cele

8 Always excepting, also, the possible result of the supposed marriage of his daughter Frances to Mr. Bosville, of Yorksbire; and that of another (supposed) daughter to Mr. Cottrell.

brated Colonel Gardiner, killed at Preston-pans in 1745 ;-
whose grandson was the late Lord Erskine, one of the most
splendid ornaments of the English bar, created Lord Chan-
cellor in 1806;—and from whom are thus lineally descended
Henry David, the present and 12th Earl of Buchan, and
David Montague, the present and 2nd Lord Erskine of
Restormel Castle. I shall insert here some monumental in-
scriptions relating to the family, from the church of Hurst, in
Berkshire. I understand from the Rev. Mr. Cameron, min-
ister of that parish, (who has favoured me with the tran-
scripts, together with a folio sheet of most valuable information
respecting the Barker and Fairfax families,) that tradition
ascribes the poetical inscription to the pen of Waller, who
lived there.
On a flat stone immediately on the N. side of the altar :

HERE LYETH FRAN.
YE GRANDCHILD OF HENRY FAIRFAX,
OF BURLINGTON, IN YE COUN. OF YORKE, ESQ.

BY HIS
ELDEST SON HENRY AND ANN HIS WIFE
DAUGH. TO SIR THOM. BROWNE, OF NORWICH, KT.

WHO DIED SEPT. YE 15TH, 1678,

ANNO ÆTATIS SUÆ 5.
Directly above this, on a tablet on the wall:

SACRED

TO THE MEMORY OF
WILLIAM FAIRFAX, SON TO HENRY FAIRFAX, ESQ.

BY ANN HIS WIFE,
DAUGHTER TO SIR THOMAS BROWNE, KT.

WHO DIED JULY THE 27TH, 1684.
This little silent, gloomy monument
Contains all that was sweet and innocent :
The softest prattler that ere found a tongue ;
His voyce was music, and his words a song,
Which now each listening Angell smiling heares,
Such harmony composed the spheres ;-
Fair as young Cherubins, as soft and kind,
And tho' translated, could not be refined.
The seventh deare pledge ye nuptiall joys had given,
Toyld here with play, retired to rest in heaven,
Where they the shining host of Angells file,

Spread their gay wings before the throne and smile.
IN THE SAME GRAVE RESTETH ALSO ANN ALETHEA,

THEIR DAUGHTER.

On a flat stone in front of the altar:

HERE LYETH
THE BODY OF HENRY FAIRFAX, ESQ.
SECOND SONNE OF THOMAS VISCOUNT FAIRFAX, OF EMELY,

IN IRELAND,
WHO MARRIED FRANCES, THE ONLY DAUGHTER OF

HENRY BARKER, OF HURST, ESQ.
BY WHOM HE HAD TWO SONNES AND ONE DAUGHTER,

HENRY, JOHN, AND FRANCES.
HE DYED THE 4T1 DAY OF JULY, ANNO DNI. 1656,

BEING THE 50TH YEAR OF HIS AGE. None of Dr. E. Browne's numerous family left any children. Eight died unmarried, the greater part in their infancy. Of the remaining three, Susannah, the eldest daughter, died soon after her marriage to Arthur Moore, Esq., M. P. for Grantham, and was buried with her two infant daughters at Northfleet. Thomas, the eldest son, and Anne, the sixth daughter, survived their father. Thomas resided for many years at Norwich with his grandfather; whose correspondence is not a little enlivened by the very orthographic postscripts of Dame Dorothy, touching this her most especial favourite and grandson," litle Tomey;" setting forth his excellencies and defects, his demeanors and misdemeanors, his maladies, and his literary progress. Of the doings and writings of " litle Tomey” I can find very little to record. He took his doctor's degree in medicine, and probably practised with his father. He was a Fellow of the College of Physicians, and in 1699 was admitted F.R.S. He was intimately acquainted with Dr. Robert Plot, and was his companion in one of those "journies," which he undertook " for the discovery of antiquities and curiosities in England." I believe that the only original production of Dr. T. B. Jun. is an account of this tour, in his own hand-writing, preserved in MS. Sloan. 1900; which I have printed, vol. iv, p. 457.9

In 1698 he married his cousin Alethea, fourth and youngest daughter of his uncle, Henry Fairfax, Esq.; but she died in 1704, and was buried at Hurst, leaving no children. His own death occurred in 1710, in a manner much to be deplored, if we may credit the account given in Le Neve's pedigree of the family. But that document exhibits so many inaccuracies, that we may, in charity, hope the story is not true. However this may be, he was in every respect a man so greatly inferior both to his father and grandfather, that the first line of the Horatian apostrophe, "Ætas parentum, pejor avis, tulit nos nequiores,” may not unfitly be applied to him, though we must omit the " mox daturos, fc.;” as his race ended with himself.

9 See D'Israeli's notice of Dr. Plot, in Second Series of Curiosities, fc, vol. iji,

page 28.

Anne, the sixth daughter of Dr. Edward Browne, married Owen Brigstocke, Esq. of Llechdenny, Co. Carmarthen. But his great grandson, Augustus Brigstocke, Esq. of Blaenpant, Co. Cardigan, has done me the favour, in reply to my inquiries, to inform me, that she had no children ; and that his ancestor's family was the result of his second marriage to Mary, only daughter and sole heiress of Francis Gwynne, Esq. of Glyn Abbey, M. P.

The writer of the memoir of Dr. Edward Browne, in the Biographia Britannica, has collected some further and interesting particulars respecting him, and has subjoined a character of him, drawn up by a contemporary. These I shall give in a note; but without vouching for their accuracy, especially as I find that several of the statements in that life are erroneous. I have, indeed, in this extract, corrected his age and the date of his death. In the parish church of Northfleet are the following inscriptions to his memory and that of his

I "He attended his royal master, King Charles II, in his last illness and to the time of his decease. Upon the coming of the Duke of York to the crown, he was left out of the number of his physicians; but his practice still continued as great as ever, or rather increased. After the revolution, he remained, likewise, at a distance from the court, but his great success in his profession made him known and considered both at home and abroad, and that too by men of all parties and persuasions ; as appears by a letter of his to the celebrated M. le Clerc, in favour of one Mr. Beverland, a man of great learning, and particularly remarkable for writing a most excellent latin style ; in which, however, he had exercised his pen, on subjects that occasioned his being banished his country; on the repeal of which sentence this letter of recommendation was written, at the request of Mr. John Locke and the Earl of Carberry. It is, without doubt, as elegant a piece of latin as can well be seen, and may be therefore considered as a proof of our author's excellence in that respect. In 1701, about the month of May, when King William was preparing for his last voyage to Holland, Dr. Browne, in conjunction with Sir Thomas Millington, Sir Richard Blackmore, and Dr. Lawrence, was called to a consultation on the state of his health ; but it does not appear that he attended him in his last illness. In the spring of the year 1705, upon the death of Sir Thomas Millington, Dr. Browne, who had risen gradually through all the honours of the faculty, and was at that

« PreviousContinue »