Bell, Beaupre

, an English antiquary, was son of Beaupré Bell, esq. of Beaupré-hall in Upwell and Outwell in Clackclose hundred, Norfolk, where the Beaupré family had settled early in the fourteenth century, and enjoyed the estate by the name of Beaupré (or de Bello prato) till sir Robert Bell intermarried with them about the middle of the sixteenth. Sir Robert was speaker of the house of commons, 14 Eliz. and chief baron of the exchequer; and caught his death at the black assize at Oxford, 1577. Beaupr Bell, his fourth lineal descendant, married Margaret, daughter of sir Anthony Oldfield of Spalding, bart. who died 1720, and by whom he had issue his namesake the subject of this article, and two daughters, of whom the youngest married William Graves, esq. of Fulborn in Cambridgeshire, who thereby inherited the family estate near Spalding, with the site of the abbey. Mr. Bell, junior, was educated at Westminster school, admitted of Trinity-college, Cambridge, 1723, and soon commenced a genuine and able antiquary. He made considerable collections of church notes in his own and the neighbouring counties, all which he bequeathed to the college where he received his education. Mr. Biomfield acknowledges his obligations to him for collecting many evidences, seals, and drawings, of great use to him in his “History of Norfolk.

His father led a miserable life, hardly allowing his son necessaries, and dilapidated his house, while at the same time he had five hundred horses of his own breeding, many above thirty years old, unbroke. On his death his son succeeded to his estate, of about 1500l. a-year, which he did not long enjoy, dying of a consumption, on the road to Bath, August, 1745. He left the reversion, after the death of his sister, with his books and medals, to Trinitycollege, under the direction of the late vice-master, Dr. Walker; but his sister marrying, the entail was cut off, He was buried in the family burying-place, in St. Mary‘g chapel in Outwell-church. | The registers of the Spalding society abound with proofs of Mr. Bell’s taste and knowledge in ancient coins, both Greek and Roman, besides many other interesting discoveries. He published proposals, elegantly printed, for the following work, at 5s. the first subscription, “Tabulae Augustae, sive Imperatorum Romanorum, Augustorum, Csesarum, Tyrannorum, et illustrium virorum a Cn. Pompeio Magno ad Heraclium Aug. series chronologica. Ex historicis, nummis, et mannoribus collegit Beaupreius Bell, A.M. Cantabrigian, typis academicis 1734,” which was in great forwardness in 1733, and on which Mr. Johnson communicated his observations. Mr. Bell conceived that coins might be distinguished by the hydrostatical balance, and supposed the flower on the Rhodian coins to be the lotus, but Mr. Johnson the balaustrum, or pomegranate flower. He sent the late unhappy Dr. Dodd notes concerning the life and writings of Callimachus, with a drawing of his head, to be engraved by Vertue, and prefixed to his translation of that poet. He made a cast of the profile of Dr. Stukeley, prefixed to his “Itinerarium,” and an elegant bust of Alexander Gordon, after the original given by him to sir Andrew Fountaine’s niece. He communicated to the Spalding society an account of Outwell church, and the Haultoft family arms, in a border engrailed Sable a lozenge Ermine, quartering Fincham, in a chapel at the east end of the north aile. He collected a series of nexus literarum, or abbreviations. He had a portrait of sir Thomas Gresham, by Hilliard, when young, in a close green silk doublet, hat, and plaited ruff, 1540 or 1545, formerly belonging to sir Marmaduke Gresham, bart. then to Mr. Philip, filazer, by whose widow, a niece to sir Marmaduke, it came to sir Anthony Oldfield, and so to Maurice Johnson. He addressed verses on “Color est connata lucis proprietas,” to sir Isaac Newton, who returned him a present of his “Philosophy,” sumptuously bound by Brindley.

The late Mr. Cole, of tke Fen-office, editor of the second edition of sir William Dugdale’s “History of Embanking,1772, tells us that this edition was printed from two copies of the old one, one corrected by sir William himself, the other by Beaupré Bell, esq. “a diligent and learned antiquary, who had also made some corrections in his own copy, now in Trinity college library.” See his letters, dated Beaupré hall, May 11, and July 30, 1731, to T. Hearne, | about the pedlar in Swaffham church, a rebus on the name of Chapman, prefixed to Hemingford, p. 180, and preface, p. 113. See also, on the same subject, preface to Caius, p. xlvii. and lxxxiv. and the speech of Dr. Spencer, vicechancellor of Cambridge, to the duke of Monmouth, when he was installed chancellor, 1674,ib.lxxxvi. In p. lii, Hearne styles him “Amicus eruditus, cui et aliis nominibus me devinctum esse gratus agnosco.” He also furnished him with a transcript, in his own hand-writing, of bishop Godwin’s catalogue of the bishops of Bath and Wells, from the original in Trinity college library; App. to Ann. de Dunstable, 835, 837. A charter relating to St. Edmund’s Bury abbey. Bened. Abbas, p. 865. The epitaph of E. Beckingham, in Bottisham church, in Cambridgeshire, Pref. to Otterbourue’s Chron. p. 82. App. to Trokelow, p. 378. Papers, &c. of his are mentioned in Bibl. Top. Brit. No. II. p. 57, 58, 62. Walsingham church notes, p. 59, entered in the Minutes; a paper on the Clepsydra, p. 60; and five of his letters to Mr. Blomfield are printed, pp. 290, 465 472; one to Dr. Z. Grey, p. 147; one to Mr. N. Salmon, p. 150; others to Mr. Gale, pp. 169, 191, 302 305; to Dr. Stukeley, p. 176, 178. See also pp. 176, 178, 181, 465, 469, 470, 471. In, Archaeologia, vol. VI. pp. 133, 139, 141, 143, are some letters between him and Mr. Gale, on a Roman horologium mentioned in an inscription found at Taloire, a poor small village in the district and on the lake of Annecey, &c. communicated to him by Mr. Cramer, professor of philosophy and mathematics.1


Last edition of this Dict. from the History of the Gentlemen’s Society at Spalding, and Nichols’s Life of Bowyer.