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REV. FRANCIS PECK.
This learned and industrious Antiquary, a younger, son of Robert and Elizabeth Peck, was born in the parish of St. John the Baptist, at Stamford, in Lin-, colnshire, May 4 ; and baptized May 12, 1692.
It appears, by a memorandum of his own, that. his mother's maiden name was Jephson.
It does not appear at what seminary he received the early part of his education; but it was probably at the grammar school of his native town. He completed his studies at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he took the degree of B. A. 1715 ; and that of M. A. 1727.
The first work discovered of his writing is “ TO "T¥OE "ATION; or, an Exercise on the Creation, and an Hymn to the Creator of the World ; written in the express Words of the Sacred Text, as an Attempt to shew the Beauty and Sublimity of Holy. Scripture, 1716,” 8vo. .
The next is, a Poem, intituled, “ Sighs on the Death of Queen Anne," not published till 1719*; subjoined to which are three Poems, viz. 1. Paraphrase on part of the 139th Psalm; 2. The Choice; 3. Verses to Lady Elizabeth Cecil, on her birth-day, Nov. 23, 1717. At the end of this work he mentions, as preparing for the press, “ The History of the two last Months of King Charles I;" and solicits assistance. This never was published. In p. 64, he mentions a Poem on Saul and Jonathan, not then published.
* It probably had before been printed among the academical verses on that occasion.
In August 1719, he occurs curate of King's Cliff, in Northamptonshire.
In the second volume of Prior's Miscellaneous Works, 1748, 8vo, p. 45, are verses by Mr. Peck to Prior on his Solomon, dated Jan. 20, 1719-20.
He published a Sermon preached at Stamford on the Mayor's Inauguration, 1720, 8vo.
In 1721, being still curate of King's Cliff, he offered to the world Proposals for printing the History and Antiquities of his native town.
In 1723, he obtained the rectory of Godeby Maureward *, in Leicestershire, from Samuel Lowet, esq. who at that time was lord of the manor, and patron of the advowson.
In 1727, Mr. Peck drew up a poetical description of Belvoir and its neighbourhood*; and in that year his first considerable work appeared, under the title of “ Academia Tertia Anglicana; or the Antiquarian Annals of Stamford in Lincoln, Rutland, and Northampton shires; containing the History of the University, Monasteries, Gilds, Churches, Chapels, Hospitals, and Schools there," &c. containing XLI
copper plates; and inscribed to John Duke of Rut· land, in an elaborate dedication, which contains a tolerably complete history of the principal events in that illustrious family, from the founder of it at the Conquest.
The publication of Mr. Peck's volume was evi
* This presentation was purchased by Mr. Peck for 4001, which is the more memorable, as it shews how little this industrious man could get. G. A.
f In Mr. Peck's History of Stamford, the View of that town is inscribed “ To the honoured Samuel Lowe, Esq. Member of Para liament for the Borough of Aldborough, and one of the kind Encouragers of the Work, with the sincerest thanks for his many favours.”—This gentleman's death is thus briefly recorded by Mr. Peck, on a black marble on the South side of Godeby church:
“To the memory of Samuel Lowe, esq.
who died the 25th of July, 1731, aged 37.". Printed in the History of Leicestershire, vol. II, p. 200.
dently hastened by “ An Essay on the Antient and Present State of Stamford, 1726,” 4to, by Francis Hargrave, who, in the Preface to his pamphlet, mentions the difference which had arisen between him and Mr. Peck, on account of the former's publication unfairly forestalling that intended by the latter. Mr. Peck is also therein roughly treated, on account of a small work he had formerly printed, intituled, « The History of the Stamford Bullrunning."
In 1729, he printed, in a single sheet, “Queries concerning the Natural History and Antiquities of Leicestershire and Rutland,” re-printed in 1740.
Mr. Peck was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, March 9, 1732; and in that year he published the first volume of “Desiderata Curiosa ; or, a Collection of divers scarce and curious Pieces relating chiefly to Matters of English History; consisting of choice Tracts, Memoirs, Letters, Wills, Epitaphs, &c. Transcribed, many of them, from the Originals themselves, and the rest from divers antient MS Copies, or the MS Collations of sundry famous Antiquaries and other eminent Persons, both of the last and present age: The whole, as nearly as possible, digested into Order of Time, and illustrated with ample Notes, Contents, Additional Discourses, and a complete Index*."
* This volume was dedicated to Lord William Manners, then one of the Representatives in Parliament for the County of Lein cester, and one of his Majesty's Lords of the Bedchamber, This dedication is in the style of an independent private clergyman to a neighbouring gentleman of distinguished worth: “ It was your Lordsbip's affable demeanour," he says, “whieh first won me, as well as so many others, to love and honour you; and, since that, a personal experience, that, whenever you express a kindness for any man, you not only do it in words, bnt also shew it in your actions.” In this volume are two pieces by Mr. Peck; the one, "A brief Discourse on the antient Divisions of the Night and Day, as also of the Hours of Prayer, and the Number of each, as the same was read at Belvoir Inn, before a Society of Gentlemen and Clergy there, on the 12th of March 1730;" the other, “A Description of Burghley House, and of all the principal Paintings
At the end of this volume, Mr. Peck announced his intention of publishing a second, and actually gave a list of the contents; which by no means correspond with those of the volume published in 1735, and inscribed to Dr. Richard Reynolds, Bishop of Lincoln * ; for which the author apologizes p.
and other Rarities now to be seen there, in a Letter to Roger Gale, esg.” “ This work being intended to be carried on in several other volumes of the like sort, the Publisher designs (while those volumes are printing) to get the heads of the principal persons, therein mentioned, engraved from original paintings by the best hands. For which reason, the subscribers are desired not to bind up their books till the whole work and all the plates are finished, that the said prints may then be inserted in their proper places. Any Gentleman, who will lend the Editor an original picture of any of the underwritten persons, for a copy to be engraved from it, will be reckoned an Encourager of this Work; and any Gentleman, who will give the plate of any such head, will be esteemed a Patron. Heads proper for the first volume (if original pictures and other encouragements can be procured) are, Queen Elizabeth ; Prince Henry; Sir William Cecil, Lord Burleigh ; Henry Hastings, Earl of Huntingdon ; Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester; Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury ; Thomas Cecil, Earl of Exeter; Edwyn Sandys, Archbishop of York; William Chaderton, Bishop of Lincoln ; Sir Christopher Hatton ; Sir Francis Walsingham; or those of any other eminent persons mentioned in the course of it."
* In this address he tells the Bishop, “ The Antiquities of the church of Lincoln (which make a considerable part of this volume) being mostly collected by one of your Predecessors (Bp. Sanderson), and now published by a Clergyman of your diocese, liare even a natural claim to your Lordship's protection, both as you are the present worthy Successor of the Author, and the diocesan of the Publisher. But I address them to you, not only upon those accounts, but also as what I persuade myself will not be unacceptable to a Prelate who hestowed even the remains of his Palace on the repairs of his Cathedral. And now, my Lord, under your piety and conduct, may your Church of Lincoln every day recover more of its antient beauty. As for the rest of these collections, my Lord, they consist of other matters, many of them very remarkable, either for their antiquity, or curiosity, or usefulness, in supplying the defects of our former historians."— Bishop Reynolds had contributed the plate of St. John the Baptist's church to the History of Stamford ; and afterwards gave Mr. Peck a prebendal stall at Lincoln. .
t" As this second volume does not consist of any one of all those pieces mentioned at the end of vol. I. and there proposed to make up vol. II.; it may be necessary to inform the Reader, that those
• No inore than 250 copies of these volumes having been printed, they soon became scarce, and highpriced; but they were re-printed in 1779, in one volume, 4to, by Mr. Thomas Evans *, bookseller ; and the plates which were used for that edition are now my property by purchase.
On the death of William Musgrave, M. A. rector of Aldwinkle St. Peter's, co. Northampton, in 1736, Mr. Peck obtained, by the favour of Bishop Reynolds, the prebendal stall of Marston St. Lawrence, in the cathedral church of Lincoln.
Mr. Peck next printed, “ A complete Catalogue of all the Discourses written both for and against Popery, in the time of King James II.; containing in the whole an Account of Four Hundred and Fiftyseven Books and Pamphlets, a great number of them not mentioned in the three former Catalogues; with references after, each Title, for the more speedy finding a further Account of the said Discourses and their Authors in sundry Writers, and an Alphabetical List of the Writers on each side, 1735,” 4to.
He was Editor, in 1739, of " Nineteen Letters of the reverend and truly learned Henry Hammond, D. D. (Author of the Annotations on the New Testament, &c.) written to Mr. Peter Stainnough
papers (though postponed at present) are designed to follow, and that with addition of others of the like sort, which I hope will make good amends for the delay. I shall conclude this Preface," he says, “ with the following lines upon the picture of Time, as expressed in my title-page :
* Years are the teeth of Time, which softly eat,
Scribebam die meo lustrico, 4 id. Maii, 1735,"