Pegge, Samuel

, an eminent and laborious antiquary, descended from an ancient family in Derbyshire, was the $on of Christopher Pegge, a woollen-draper, and was born at Chesterfield, Nov. 5, 1704. He was admitted a pensioner of St. John’s college, Cambridge, May 20, 1722, and in November was elected a scholar upon Lupton’s foundation. In Jan. 1725 he took his degree of B. A. and in March 1726 was elected to a fellowship, which he did not hold long, owing to a singular circumstance. His fellow competitor was Mr. Michael Burton, who had the superior right as being a-kin to the founder of the fellowship, but this claim was set aside, owing to his being deficient in literature. He now artfully applied to the college for a testimonial, that he might receive orders, and undertake some cure in the vicinity of Cambridge; and this being unadvisedly granted, he immediately appealed to the visitor (Dr. Thomas Greene, bishop of Ely), representing that, as the college had, by the testimonial, thought him qualified for ordination, it could not, injustice, deem him unworthy of becoming a fellow of the society. The consequence was, that the visitor found himself reluctantly obliged to eject Mr. Pegge, and Burton took possession of the fellowship. The visitor, however, recommended Mr. Pegge in such a manner to the master and seniors of the college, that he was from that time considered as an honorary member of the body of fellows (tanquam socins), and kept his seat at their table and in the chapel, being placed in the situation of a fellow-commoner. Feeling yet more the indignity of the trick played upon them by Burton, they chose Mr. Pegge to a Platt-fellowship in 1729.

Classical criticism being one of his earliest studies, it is thought that he had before this time meditated an edition | of Xenophon’s “Cyropaedia” and “Anabasis,” from a collation of them with the Duport ms. in the library of Eton, to convince the world that he had not been unjustly preferred to Burton; but this undertaking was probably prevented by the appearance of Hutchinson’s edition. Having taken the degree of M. A. in July 1729, he was ordained deacon in December, and priest in February following, on both occasions by Dr. Baker, bishop of Norwich. His first clerical employment was as curate to the Rev. Dr. John Lynch, at Sandwich, in Kent. This he held from Lady Day 1730, to Midsummer 1731, when he removed to Bishopsbourne, another living belonging to Dr. Lynch, who at the end of the same year procured for him the living of Godmersham.

Being now possessed of a living, and of some independent personal property inherited from his mother, he married, in April 1732, miss Anne Clarke, the only daughter of Benjamin Clarke, esq. of Stanley, near Wakefield, in Yorkshire. While he resided in Kent, which was for the space of twenty years, he made himself universally acceptable by his general knowledge, his agreeable conversation, and his vivacity. Having an early propensity to the study of antiquities as well as of the classics, he here laid the foundation of what in time became a considerable collection of books, and his cabinet of coins grew in proportion; by which two assemblages, so scarce among country gentlemen in general, he was qualified to pursue those collateral studies, without neglecting his parochial duties, to which he was always assiduously attentive. Here, however, the placid course of his life was interrupted by the death of Mrs. Pegge, whom he lamented with unfeigned sorrow; and now meditated on some mode of removing himself, without disadvantage, to his native country, either by obtaining a preferment tenable with his present vicarage, or by exchanging this for an equivalent. Having been induced to reside for some time at Surrenden, to superintend the education of Sir Edward Dering’s son, that baronef obtained for him the perpetual curacy of Brampton, near Chesterfield, in the gift of the dean of Lincoln; but the parishioners insisting that they had a right to the presentation, law proceedings took place, before the termination of which in favour of the dean of Lincoln, Mr. Pegge was presented by the new dean of Lincoln, Dr. George, to the rectory of Whittington, near Chesterfield. He was | accordingly inducted Nov. 11, 1751, and resided here upwards of forty-four years without interruption. About a fortnight after, by the interest of his friend sir Edward Dering with the duke of Devonshire, he was inducted into the rectory of Brinhill, or Brindle, in Lancashire, on which he resigned Godmersham. Sir Edward also obtained for him in the same year a scarf from the marquis of Hartington (afterwards the fourth duke of Devonshire) who was then called up to the house of peers by the title of baron Cavendish of Hard wick. In 1758 Mr. Pegge was enabled, by the acquiescence of the duke of Devonshire, to exchange Brinhill for Heath, alias Lown, which lies within seven miles of Whittington; a very commodious measure, as it brought his parochial preferments within a smaller distance of each other. The vicarage of Heath he held till his death. His other preferments were, in 1765, the perpetual curacy ofWingerworth; the prebend of Bobenhull, in the church of Lichfield, in 1757; the living of Whittington in Staffordshire, in 1763; and the prebend of Louth, in Lincoln church, in 1772. Towards the close of his life he declined accepting a residentiaryship in the church of Lichfield, being too old to endure, with tolerable convenience, a removal from time to time. His chief patron was archbishop Cornwallis, but he had an admirer, if not a patron, in every dignitary of the church who knew him; and his protracted life, and his frequent and almost uninterrupted literary labours, made him very generally known. In 1791, when on a visit to his grandson, sir Christopher Pegge, of Oxford, he was created LL. D. by that university. He died, after a fortnight’s illness, Feb. 14, 1796, in the ninety-second year of his age, and was buried, according to his own desire, in the chancel of the church of Whittington, near Chesterfield, where his son placed a mural tablet of black marble, over the east window, with a short inscription.

Dr. Pegge’s manners were those of a gentleman of liberal education, who had seen much of the world, and had formed them upon the best models within his observation. Having in his early years lived in free intercourse with many of the principal and best-bred gentry in various parts of Kent, he ever after preserved the same attention, by associating with superior company, and forming honourable Attachments. In his avocations from reading and retirement, few men could relax with more ease and | cheerfulness,or better understood the desipere in loco: and as he did not mix in business of a public nature, he appeared to most advantage in private circles; for he possessed an equanimity which obtained the esteem of his friends, and an affability which procured the respect of his dependents. His habits of life were such as became his profession and station. In his clerical functions he was exemplariiy correct, performing all his parochial duties himseif, until the failure of his eye-sight rendered an assistant necessary; but that did not happen till within a fevv years before his death. As a preacher, his discourses from the pulpit were of the didactic and exhortatory kind, appealing to the understandings rather than to the passions of his auditory, by expounding the Holy Scriptures in a plain, intelligible, and unaffected manner. Though he had an early propensity to the study of antiquities, he never indulged himself much in it, as long as more essential and professional occupations had a claim upon him; for he had a due sense of the nature and importance of his clerical functions, and had studied divinity in all its branches with much attention.

As an antiquary, by which character chiefly he will hereafter be known, he was one of ttie most laborious of his time. He was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1751, the year in which the charter of incorporation was granted; and when their “Archaiologia” began to be published, he contributed upwards of fifty memoirs, many of which are of considerable length, being by much the greatest number hitherto contributed by any individual member of that learned body. He also wrote seven curious memoirs for the “Bibliotheca Topographica Brit.” and many hundred articles in the Gentleman’s Magazine from the year 1746 to 1795. His principal signatures were Paid Gemsege, (Samuel Pegge), and T. Row, (the rector of Whittington), and sometimes L. E. the final letters of his name. Numerous as these articles are, there is scarcely one of them which does not convey some curious information, or illustrate some doubtful point in history, classical criticism, or antiquities; and if collected together, with some kind of arrangement, might form a very interesting and amusing volume, or volumes.

His independent publications on numismatical, antiquarian, and biographical subjects were also very numerous: 1. “A Series of Dissertations on some elegant and very raluable Anglo-Saxon Remains,1756, 4to. 2. | Memoirs of Roger de Weseham, dean of Lincoln, afterwards bishop of Lichfield, and the principal favourite of Robert Grossetete, bishop of Lincoln,1761, 4to. 3. “An Essay on the Coins of Cunobelin in an epistle to the right rev. bishop of Carlisle (Dr. Lyttelton), president of the society of antiquaries,1766, 4to. 4. “An assemblage of coins fabricated by authority of the archbishops of Canterbury. To which are subjoined two Dissertations,1772, 4to. 5. “Fitz-Stephen’s Description of the city of London,” &c. 1772, 4to. 6. “The Forme of Cury. A roll of ancient English cookery, compiled about the year 1390, temp. Rich. II. with a copious index and glossary, 7 ’ 1780, 8vo. The original of this curious roll was the property of the late Gustavus Brander, esq. who presented it afterwards to the British Museum. Prefixed to this publication is his portrait, engraved at the expence of Mr. Brander. 7.” Annales Eliae de Trickenham, monachi ordinis Benedictini. Ex Bibliotheca Lamethana.“To which is added,” Compendium compertorum; ex bibliotheca ducis Devoniae,“1789, in 4to. Both parts of this publication contain copious annotations by the editor. The former was communicated by Mr. Nichols, to whom it is inscribed,” ad Johannem Nicolsium, celeberrimum typographum;“and the latter was published by permission of the duke of Devonshire, to whom it is dedicated. 8.” The Life of Robert Grossetete, the celebrated bishop of Lincoln,“1793, 4to. This has very justly been considered as the chef-d’oeuvre- of the author. Seldom has research into an obscure period been more successful. It is a valuable addition to our literary history. 9.” An historical account of Beauchief Abbey, in the county of Derby, from its first foundation to its final dissolution,“1801, 4to. 10.” Anonymiana; or Ten centuries of observations on various authors and subjects," 1809, 8vo, a very entertaining assemblage of judicious remarks and anecdotes. It is needless to add that these two last publications were posthumous.

In the way of his profession, Dr. Pegge published, in 1739, a pamphlet on a controversy excited by Dr. Sykes, entitled “The Inquiry into the meaning of Demoniacs in the New Testament; in a Letter to the author,” 8vo. He afterwards published two occasional sermons, and three small tracts for the use of his flock, which he distributed among them gratis, on the subjects of confirmation, the | church catechism, and the Lord’s Prayer. The late Dr. Farmer attributed to Dr. Pegge, a pamphlet printed in 1731, and entitled “Remarks on the Miscellaneous Observations upon Authors ancient and modern. In several letters to a Friend.A short address to the reader says, that “These letters are now made public, in order to stop the career, and to curb the insolence, of those Goths and Vandals the minor critics of the age, the Marklands, the Wades, and the Observators.” From this we should suppose the work to be ironical.

Dr. Pegge left many Mss. a considerable part of which are in the possession of his grandson. While vicar of Godmersham, he collected a good deal relative to the college at Wye, in that neighbourhood, which he thought of publishing, and engraved the seal, before engraved in Lewis’s seals. He had “Extracts from the rental of the royal manor of Wye, made about 1430, in the hands of Daniel earl of Winchelsea;” and “Copy of a survey and rental of the college, in the possession of sir Windham Knatchbull, 1739.” He possessed also a msLexicon Xenophonticum” by himself; a Greek Lexicon in ms.; an “English Historical Dictionary,” in 6 vols. foi. a French and Italian, a Latin, a British and Saxon one, in one volume each all corrected by his notes a “Glossarium Generate” two volumes of collections in English history; collections for the city and church of Lincoln, now in Mr. Gough’s library at Oxford; a “Monasticon Cantianuin,” 2 vols. folio; and various other ms collections, which afford striking proofs of unwearied industry, zeal, and judgment. 1

1 Life by his Son in —Gent. Mag. vol. Lxvj. -and in Nichols’s Bowyer.