Chauncy, Sir Henry

, knt. author of the “Historical Antiquities of Hertfordshire,” which bears a higher price than any other topographical volume, was descended from a family which came into England with William the conqueror. He was born in 1632, and had his grammatical education at Bishop’s Stortford school, under Mr. Thomas Leigh; and in 1647, was admitted in Gonvil and Caius college in Cambridge. He removed, in 1649, to the Middle-Temple; and in 1656, was called to the bar. In 1661, he was constituted a justice of peace lor aie county of Hertford; made one of the benchers of the Middle-Temple in 1675, and steward of the Burgh-coujt in Hertford; and likewise, in 1680, appointed by charter, recorder of that place. In 1681, he was elected reader of the Middle-Temple; and on the 4th of June, the same year, received the honour of knighthood at Windsor-castle, from king Charles II. He was chosen treasurer of the Middle-Temple in 1685. On the llth of June, 1688, he was called to the degree of a serjeant at law, and the same year advanced to be a Welsh judge, or one of his majesty’s justices for the counties of Glamorgan, Brecknock, and Radnor, in the principality of Wales. He married three wives; 1. Jane, youngest daughter of Francis Flyer, of Brent-Pelham, in Hertfordshire, esq. by whom he had seven children. She died December 31, 1672. 2. Elizabeth, the relict of John Goulsmith, of Stredset, in Norfolk, esq one of the coheirs of Gregory Wood, of Risby, in Suffolk, gent. By her he had no issue. She died | August 4, 1677. 3. His third wife was Elizabeth, the second daughter of Nathaniel Thruston, of Hoxny, in Suffolk, esq. by whom he had two children. He died April 1719, and May 1, was buried at Tardley-Bury. He published “The Historical Antiquities of Hertfordshire,1700, fol. To this work he left some additions, which afterwards came into the hands of Salmon, and were the foundation of his History of Hertfordshire. The first essay towards a delineation of Hertfordshire was attempted by John Norden, in his “Speculum Britanniae,” published in 1593; but it is not to be compared, in point of compleatness and perfecr tion, with sir Henry Chauncy’s historical description. Sir Henry’s digressions, however, are pedantic, and the work would have admitted of greater care with respect to the execution of the engravings. Mr. Forester, of Bradfield in this county, father of Dr. Pulter Forester, chancellor of Lincoln, and a near relation of sir Henry Chauncy, had made large additions to sir Henry’s book. The copy was in the hands of the late William Forester, esq. who died about 1767. Mr. Cole was possessed of another copy, with great manuscript additions by the late Browne Willis. A third copy, with large additions, by Peter Le Neve, is in the library of the Society of Antiquaries. Two copies, with copious additions in ms. were given by Mr. Gough to the Bodlefan Library. The rev. Dr. Paul Wright, vicar of Oakley in Essex, and who formerly resided, as curate and lecturer, in the town of Hertford, having received some manuscript papers relative to sir Henry Chuancy’s work, proposed to publish an accurate edition of it with continuations to the present time, but this was never executed. A new edition has lately been announced by Mr. Clutterbuck of Watford, who has purchased the ms Collections of Mr. Blore. 1


Biog. Brit. Gongh’s Topography. ms communication by Henry Ellii, esq. respecting the date of his death, which is grossly erroneous in the Biog. Brit.