King, Gregory

, a heraldic and commercial writer, the son of a father of both his names, was born at Lichfield, Dec. 15, 1648, and was educated at the grammarschool of that city, and at the age of fourteen had been taught Greek, Latin* and somewhat of Hebrew. At that age he was recommended by Dr. Hunter, of Lichfield, to sir William Dugdale, then Norroy, who took him into his service, which was very acceptable to his father, who had five other children to provide for; and Dr. Hacket, bishop of Lichfield, had intended to have sent him to the university, had not this opening taken place. He was at this time so small of his age, that when he became clerk to Dugdale, and for two years after, he was unable to mount a horse from the ground. Yet he accompanied that king of arms in his visitations, and tricked the arms of Staffordshire, which though not equal to what he afterwards did$ still remain in the college. He at that time applied himself to the French language, and painting of pedigrees > and within a year or two, painted several for Mr. Dugdale, particularly a large one of Claverin, of Northumberland, and some time after painting and engrossing the grants of arms filled up the greatest part of his time; but Dugdale gave him leave to take with him into the northern counties blank escocheons on vellum, upon which he depicted the arms of those who desired an attestation of them under Dugdale’s hand; and this he was enabled to do* instead of an arms painter, who had usually attended that officer of the college. He shewed uncommon attention to improvement during the time Dugdale visited his whole province, in 1662, and 1666, for he took prospects of the towns, castles, and other remarkable places in the counties through which he passed. In 1667 he passed into the service of lord Hatton, who was a great lover of antiquities, and the particular patron of Dugdale during the civil war; and now employed Mr. King until 1669, when he was dismissed with great promises of future kindness. He then went to Lichfield, where he found his father re-married; and here he supported himself for some time in the humble occupations of teaching | writing and arithmetic, painting coaches, signs, and other kinds of work in oil colours, as hatchments, &c. and in instructing the registrar of the dean and chapter, and some other inquisitive persons, to read ancient records. At this time Mr. Chetwynd of Ingestry, invited him to peruse and transcribe his family muniments, which he did in a fair vellum book, tricking the most considerable seals.

At the end of this year, 1669, he became the steward, auditor, and secretary of the lady dowager Gerard, of Gerard’s Bromley, relict of Charles, and mother of Digby, lord Gerard. He resided with her ladyship’s father George Digby of Sandon, in Staffordshire, esq. until August, 1672. This task was somewhat arduous, for his predecessor, Mr. Chaunce, kept all his accounts, and other matters of moment, in characters which he had to decipher; and besides he drew and painted many things for lady Gerard, whilst inher service. From Staffordshire he went to London, where he renewed his acquaintance at the Heralds’ -college, paying a suitable attention to his old master, Dugdale. Here he became known to Hollar, the celebrated engraver. He recommended him to Mr. Ogilvy, to manage his undertakings, who having his majesty’s license to print whatever he composed or translated, kept a press in his house, and at that time was printing sir Peter Leicester’s “Antiquities of Chester.” Mr. King made his first attempt in etching some ancient seals in that work. Giving satisfaction he was employed in etching lome sculpts in Mr. Dugdale’s Esop (not the antiquary), fvhich was reduced from the folio to 8vo size, and several of Ogilvy’s “History of Asia,” vol. I. translated from De Meurs’ impression at Amsterdam. He also assisted in his new “Britannia,” travelling into Essex with the surveyor, Mr. Falgate, a native of that county. They in the middle of the winter, 1672, a very inclement one, took the ichnography of Ipswich, in Suffolk, and Maiden, in Essex, which were afterwards very curiously finished, and sent to those two places. He assisted and superintended the map of London, which Hollar engraved. He contrived and managed a lottery of books, to repay Mr. Ogilvy’s great expences in these concerns, and a lesser one of books for Bristol fair, which turned to good advantage, Mr. King attending there. He then engaged in Ogilvy’s “Book of” Roads," superintending the whole, digesting the notes, directing the engravings, three or four of which he | executed with his own hand, which was the first time he attempted handling the graver. Mr. Ogilvy was so sensible of his merit and fidelity, that he treated him with peculiar; attention on all occasions, and allowed him a music-master to teach him to play upon the violin, and offered to renew his place of cosmographer to the king, and put his name in jointly, or in reversion; this he declined, but accepted the offer to undertake, on his own account, the map of Westminster, which he completed in 1675, on the scale of 100 feet to an inch. He employed himself also in engraving the letter-work of various maps. He laid out some of the principal streets of the metropolis, particularly those of Soho; and most of the first building articles, or leases, were drawn up by him. At length his connexions with the heralds procured him to be created Rouge-dragon in 1677, but the fees of this office being small, he found it expedient to continue his employment of engraving and herald-painting. He designed a map of Staffordshire; yet through sir Henry St. George, Norroy, and his old master, Dugdale, Garter, the duties of the office took a good part of his time. Being very useful to these kings at arms, they pressed him to remove to the college, which he did at Lady-day, 1680, Diigdale accommodating him with a chamber, and some other conveniences, and St. George with a kitchen. He assisted St. George in his visitations, as one of his deputies, in 1681 and 1682 and, upon the death of the duke of Norfolk, his successor nominated him registrar in the room of Mr. Devenish, York; although opposed by the college as without a precedent. He was also trusted and consulted about the burial of Charles II. the proclaiming and the coronation of his successor, and took a part in the magnificent publication of the latter ceremony with Mr. Sandford, Lancaster herald. The Revolution soon following, he became extremely useful in the ceremonial of William and Mary’s coronation. Mr. Sandford resigning his tajbard to him^ he became, for three or four months, Lancaster and Rouge-dragon, the patent not passing until-the following July.

From this time his merit was so well known, and so entirely acknowledged, that he bore a deserved sway in the college, such as perhaps no other herald of his standing ever did; for being skilled in the languages, especially the Latin and French, and being intimately conversant in whatever related to the order of the Garter, he was fixed | upon to be deputy to sir Thomas St. George, Garter, totake the insignia to invest the elector of Brandenburgh: and was afterwards frequently employed in similar commissions and foreign installations.

Among his other literary labours were his composing a pack of cards containing the arms of the English nobility, in imitation of “Claud Oronce Fine Brianille;” and “the order of the installation of prince George of Denmark, Charles duke of Somerset, and George duke of Northumberland, at Windsor, April 8, 1684,” printed in London, in 1684, in folio. As also the “Installation of Henry duke of Norfolk, Henry earl of Peterborough, and Laurence earl of Rochester, Windsor, July 22, 1685,” printed in London in the same year, 1686, in folio. Besides these various occupations he afterwards became secretary to the commissioners for settling the public accounts, and secretary to the comptrollers of the army. In both he acquired the highest commendation. Mr. King was a man of great varied powers, and as an herald and genealogist, he equalled his great master Dugdale. He also wrote a valuable work, lately published from his ms. in the British Museum, by Mr. George Chalmers, entitled, “Natural and political observations and conclusions upon the State and Condition of England.” Dying August 29, 1712, aged 63, he was buried in the chancel of St. Bennet’s church, Paul’s Wharf, where is a handsome mural monument of marble. He was twice married, but left no issue. 1


Noble’s College of Arms. —Gent. Mag. vol. LXXI.