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TOW (John), an eminent English antiquary, was Strype's
born in London about 1525; and very probably in Life of Cornhill, since it is certain, that both his father and grand- fixed.com father dwelt there, and were persons of good substance and Stow's Surcredit. There is no account of any circumstances relating to vey of Lon his youth, except that he was bred to his father's business, don, printed which, there is reason to suppose, was that of a taylor. When he quitted Cornhill, is uncertain; but, in 1549, we find him dwelling within Aldgate, from whence he ifterwards removed to Lime-ftreet ward, where he continued till his death. He began early to apply himself to the study of the history and antiquities of England, even so as to neglect his calling, and hurt his circumstances. It was about 1560, that he conceived thoughts of compiling an English chronicle; and he spent the remaining part of a long life in collecting such things relating to this kingdom as he esteemed worthy to be transmited to poterity. He had pursued these studies some time, and had acquired a name by his skill in them, whèn, perceiving how little profit he was likely to gain from his industry, he was upon the point of deserting them, in order to apply himself more diligently to the business of his profeffion ; and the expensiveness of purchasing manuscripts was an additional motive to this resolution. But Dr. Matthew Parker, archbishop of Canterbury, who was an excellent antiquary, and a generous encourager of those Vol. XII.
ftudies, persuaded him to continue his pursuits, and assisted him during his life by several benefactions.
The fint work which he published was, “ A summary ** of the clironicles of England, from the coming in of “ Brute unto his own time.” He began this work at the defire of the lord Robert Dudley, afterwards earl of Leicester; and the occasion of it was this. In 1562, Mr. Stow, in his scarch after curious and uncommon tracts, met with an ingenious one written by Edmund Dudley, his lordship's
grandfather, during his imprisonment in the Tower, intiSee art. tuled, “The Tree of the Commonwealth ;" which he EDMUND DUDLEY
dedicated to king Henry VIII. though it never came to his majelty's hand. Mr. Stow kept the original himself, and trähicribed a fair copy of it, which he presented to lord Dudlčy, who upon this requested him to draw up tome work of the same nature. Our antiquary therefore collected this summary, and dedicated it to his lord1hip: it was reprinted in 1573, Svo, with additions. This same year came out the laborious and voluminous collections of Reiner Wolfe, printer to the queen ; being.", A *Ahronicle of Britain, and the Kings and Queens of that
Kingdoni," printed and reprinted by Raphael Hollins
head, and going commonly under his name. The last and !nis Targett cdition of that work, in 1587, contains many con
ni fidcrable additions by Mr. Stow; indeed the main part of
the continuation of that history from 1573 to 1587. In 1598, he published his "" Survey of London, containing " the original, antiquity, increase, modern teftate, and de
scription of that city,” in 4to. This useful and valuable work has been reprinted several times, with additions and improvements by the author, and after his death by others; and, in 1720, a fifth edition of it was published, in - 2 vols. folio, by Mr. Strype, with the author's life and additions by himself. In 1600, Mr. Stow set forth his • Flores historiarum;" that is, his " Annals of this king'“ dom from the time of the ancient Britons to his own.” This work was nothing else but his "Summary" greatly enlarged, which he dedicated to archbishop Whitgift. It was reprinted five years after with additions ; but even in this improved ftate it was no more than an abridgement of a much larger history of this nation, which he had been above forty years collecting out of a multitude of ancient authors, regifters, chronicles, lives, and records of cities and towns; and which he intended now to have published, if the printer, probably fearing the success of it,
after the late appearance of so large a chronicle as that of Hollinshead, had not chofen rather to undertake this abitract of Mr. Stow's work.
Towards the latter end of his life, finding himself reduced to narrow circumstances, for his pursuits had been rather expensive than profitable to him, he addressed the lord mayor and aldermen, that, in consideration of his fervices to the city, and in order to affitt him in farther designs, they would grant him two freedoms of the city : and, fome years after, he presented another petition to them, setting forth, that he was of the age of threescore and four; that lie had, for the space of almost thirty years last part, set forth divers works to them, and that he therefore prayed them to bestow on him a yearly pension, whereby he might reap somewhat towards his great charges. Whether these applications liad any success, is not known; nor do we find that he received any reward from the city, equal to the extraordinary pains he had taken for its glory, unless we reckon for such his being appointed the feed-chronicler of it: yet no great salary could be annexed to this place, since he was obliged to request a brief from king James I. to collect the charitable benevolence of well-disposed people for his relief. What the city contributed upon this occasion, may be estimated from what was collected from the parishioners of St. Mary Woolnoth, which was no more than seven Phillings and fixpence. He died of a itone-colic April 5, 1605, and was interred in the church of St. Andrew Undershaft, where a decent monument was erected to him by his widow ; from which it appears, that he was thon in his 80th year. His person and temper are thus described by Mr Edmund Howes, who knew him very well:.“ He was “ tall of ftature, lean of body and face; his eyes sinall and “ chryftalline; of a pleasant and chearful countenance; “his fight and memory very good; and he retained the “ true use of all his senses to the day of his death. He had “ an excellent memory; was very sober, mild, and “ courteous to any that required his instructions. He “ always protested never to have written any thing either So for envy, fear, or favour, nor to seek his own private "gain or vain-glory; and that his own pains and care
was to write truth."
As to his literary character, he was an unwearied reader of all English history, whether printed or in manuscript, and a searcher into records, registers, journals, original
charters, instruments, &c. Nor was he contented with a mere perufal of these things, but was ambitious of pofsessing them as a great treasure ; and by the time he was forty years of age, he had raised a considerable library of such. His study was stored, not only with ancient authors, but likewise with original charters, registers, and chronicles of particular places. He had the greater opportunity of enriching himself with these things, as he lived Thortly after the dissolution of the monasteries, when they were dispersed and scattered abroad into divers hands out of those repofitories. It was his custom to transcribe all such old and useful books as he could not obtain or purchase ; thus he copied fix volumes of collections for his own use, which he afterwards sold to Mr. Camden; who gave him for them an annuity of eight pounds for life. He was a true antiquary, since he was not satisfied with reports, nor with the credit of what he had seen in print, but had recourse to the originals : and he made use of his own legs, for he could never ride, travelling on foot to many cathedrals and churches, in order to consult and transcribe from ancient records and charters. With regard to his religion, he was ai first in all probability a favourer of Popery : for, in 1568, the state had a jealousy of him, which occafioned an order of council to Dr. Grindal, bishop of London, to cause his library to be searched for superstitious books, of which fort several were found there. And it is very likely, that his known inclination that way might be the ground of other troubles, which he underwent, either m the eccleTiaftical commission, or in the star-chamber: for it is certain, that, about 1570, he was accused, though falsely, as appeared upon trial, before the ecclefiaftical commisioners, upon no less than a bundred and forty articles, Papist or Protestant, he was an honest and generous man, unspotted in his life, and useful in his generation.
To conclude: is it not a little extraordinary, that Store, our most fainous antiquary, and Speed, our most famous historian, should both have been taylors ?
STRABO, an excellent writer of antiquity, who died som. i. & at the beginning of the emperor Tiberius's reign, has Strabonis left us a very valuable work, in seventeen books, saube * rebus geographicis." His family was ancient and noble, prefix. edit. and originally of Cnossus, a city of Crete ; but he was
born at Amalia, a town of Pontus. The greatest care was Aa4.1907. taken of his education; for, as we learn from himself,