Grose, Francis

, an eminent English antiquary, was the son of Mr. Francis Grose, of Richmond, jeweller, who died in 1769. He was born in 1731, and having a taste for heraldry and antiquities, his father procured him a place in the college of arms, which, however, he resigned in 1763. By his father he was left an independent fortune, which he was not of a disposition to add to, or even to -reserve. He early entered into the Surrey militia, of which he became adjutant and paymaster; but so much had dissipation taken possession of him, that in a situation which above all others required attention, he was so careless as to have for some time (as he used pleasantly to tell) only two books of accounts, viz. his right and left hand pockets. In the one he received, and from the other paid; and this too with a want of circumspection which may be readily supposed from such a mode of book keeping. His losses on this occasion roused his latent talents: with a good classical education he united a fine taste for drawing, which he now began again to cultivate; and encouraged by his friends, he undertook the work from which be derived both profit and reputation: his Views of Antiquities in England and Wales, which he first began to publish in numbers in 1773, and finished in 1776. The next year he added two more volumes to his English views, in which he included the islands of Guernsey and Jersey, which were completed in 1787. This work, which was executed with accuracy and elegance, soon became a favourite with the public at large, as well as with professed antiquaries, from the neatness of the embellishments, and the succinct manner in which he conveyed his information, and therefore answered his most sanguine expectations; and, from the time he began it to the end of his life, he continued without intermission to publish various works, generally to the advantage of his literary reputation, and almost always to the benefit of his finances. His wit and good-humour were the abundant source of satisfaction to himself and entertainment to his friends. He visited almost every part of the kingdom, and was a welcome guest wherever he went. In the summer of 1789 he set out on a tour in Scotland the result of which he began to communicate to the public in 1790, in numbers. Before he had concluded this work, he proceeded to Ireland, intending to furnish that kingdom with views and descriptions of her antiquities, in the same manner he had executed those of Great Britain; but soon after | his arrival in Dublin, being at the house of Mr. Hone there, he suddenly was seized at table with an apoplecticfit, on the 6th May 1791, and died immediately. He was interred in Dublin.

His literary history,” says a friend, “respectable as it is, was exceeded by his good-humour, conviviality, and friendship. Living much abroad, and in the best company at home, he had the easiest habits of adapting himself to all tempers; and, being a man of general knowledge, perpetually drew out some conversation that was either useful to himself, or agreeable to the party. He could observe upon most things with precision and judgment; but his natural tendency was to humour, in which he excelled both by the selection of anecdotes and his manner of telling them: it may be said too, that his figure rather assisted him, which was in fact the very title-page to a joke. He had neither the pride nor malignity of authorship: he felt the independency of his own talents, and was satisfied with them, without degrading others. His friendships were of the same cast; constant and sincere, overlooking some faults, and seeking out greater virtues.

Grose, to a stranger, says Mr. Noble, might have been supposed not a surname, but one selected as significant of his figure: which was more of the form of Sancho Panca than Falstaff; but he partook of the properties of both. He was as low, squat, and rotund as the former, and not less a sloven; equalled him too in his love of sleep, and nearly so in his proverbs. In his wit he was a Falstaff. He was the butt for other men to shoot at, but it always rebounded with a double force. He could eat with Sancho, and drink with the knight. In simplicity, probity, and a compassionate heart, he was wholly of the Panca breed; his jocularity could have pleased a prince. In the “St. James’s Evening Post,” the following was proposed as an epitaph for him:

"Here lies Francis Grose.

On Thursday, May 12, 1791,

Death put an end to his

Views and prospects"

Mr. Grose married Catherine, daughter of Mr. Jordan, of Canterbury, by whom he had two sons and five daughters; 1. Francis Grose, of Croydon-Crook in Surrey, esq. a colonel in the army, governor in 1790 of New South Wales; 2. Onslow Grose, esq. captain of the pioneer corps on the | Madras establishment, who died very lately in India; and four daughters, one of whom married to Anketel Singleton, esq. lieutenant-governor of Landguard-Fort, in Essex.

His works are, 1. “The Antiquities of England and Wales,” 8 vols. 4to and 8vo. 2. “The Antiquities of Scotland,” 2 vols. 4to and 8vo. 3. “The Antiquities of Ireland,” 2 vols. 4to and 8vo, a posthumous work, edited by Mr. Ledwich, 1794. 4. “A Treatise on ancient Armour and Weapons,1785, 4to. 5. “A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue,1785, 8vo. 6. “Military Antiquities being a History of the English Army from the Conquest to the present Time,1786, 1788, 2 vols. 4to. 7. “The History of Dover Castle, by the rev. William. Darell,1786, 4to. 8. “A Provincial Glossary, with a Collection of local Proverbs and popular Superstitions,1788, 8vo. 9. “Rules for drawing Caricatures,1788, 8vo. 10. “Supplement to the Treatise on ancient Armour and Weapons,1789, 4to. 11. “A guide to Health, Beauty, Honour, and Riches,” being a collection of humorous advertisements, pointing out the means to obtain those blessings with a suitable introductory preface, 8vo. 12. “The Olio, a collection of Essays,” jests, small pieces of poetry, all highly characteristic of Mr. Grose, but the collection was not made by him, and we suspect all the contents are not from his pen; 1793, 8vo. 1


European Mag. 1791.-—Gent, Mag. 1791.