Whalley, Peter

, an English divine and critic, the son of Richard Whalley, of an ancient Northamptonshire family, was born at Rugby, in the county of | Warwick, Sept. 2, 1722. He was admitted at Merchant-Taylor’s-school, London, Jan. 10, 1731, whence, in June 1740, he was elected scholar of St. John’s-college, Oxford, and, in 1743, was admitted Fellow. On quitting the university, he became vicar of St. Sepulchre’s, Northamptonshire. It was here that he probably laid the foundation of that topographical knowledge which, in 1755, induced a committee of gentlemen of that county to elect him as the proper person to prepare for the press Bridges’s and other Mss. for a History of Northamptonshire.

In 1766, he applied to the corporation of London to succeed Dr. Birch in the rectory of St. Margaret Pattens; and in his address to them said, “I have neither curacy nor lectureship, but a small country vicarage, whose clear annual income is under seventy pounds; and which, if I merit your indulgence, will be necessarily void.” He obtained this rectory, to which was afterwards added the vicarage -of Horley in Surrey, by the governors of Christ’shospital. In January 1768 he took the degree of bachelor of laws, and in October following was chosen master of the grammar-school of Christ’s- hospital, which he resigned in 1776 but afterwards accepted that of Saint Olave’s, Southwark, and acted as a justice of peace there. It was chiefly at Horley that he employed himself on the History of Northamptonshire; but an unfortunate derangement in his affairs, and the inattention of the gentlemen of the county, delayed the completion of the publication from 1779, when it was announced to appear, till 1791, in which year, June 12, he died at Ostend, in the sixty-ninth year of his age. Before he went abroad, he received subscriptions, at a guinea each, for a quarto History of the several Royal Hospitals of London. His previous publications were, 1. “An Essay on the method of writing History,London, 1746. 2. “An Inquiry into the learning of Shakspeare, with remarks on several passages of his plays,1748, 8vo. 3. “A Vindication of the Evidences and Authenticity of the Gospels, from the objections of the late lord Bolingbroke, in his letters on the study of history,1753, 8vo. 4. “An edition of the Works of Ben. Jonson, with notes,1756, 7 vols. 8vo. This was long esteemed the best, probably because the most commodious edition; but will now be superseded by that of Mr. Gifford. Mr. Whalley published also a few occasional sermons. 1


Gent. Mag. vol. LXI. Nichols’s Bowyer.