Topham, John

, a learned antiquary, was a native of Malton, in Yorkshire and, in an humble situation under | the late Philip Carteret Webb, esq. solicitor to the treasury, acquired such a knowledge of ancient hands and muniments as raised him to a place in the state-paper office, with his friends and patrons, the late sir Joseph AyiofFe, bart. who died in his arms, and Thomas Astle, esq. He was also one of the gentlemen engaged in preparing for the press the six volumes of the Rolls of Parliament; an office in which he succeeded his friend Richard Blyke, esq, with whom, in 1775, he was joint editor of Gianville’s “Reports of cases of controverted Elections determined and adjudged in parliament, 21 and 22 Jac. I.” 8vo. To this is prefixed an historical account of the ancient rights of determining cases upon controverted elections. He was also editor, if not translator, of an English edition of sir John Fortescue’s “De laudibus Legum Anglise,1775, 8vo. On Mr. Webb’s death he entered himself at Gray’s Inn; applied to the study of the law; was called to the bar, and appointed a commissioner of bankrupts. He succeeded Dr. Lort as keeper of the archbishop of Canterbury’s library at Lambeth; was secretary to the commissioners for selecting and publishing the public records of this kingdom; and registrar to the charity for relief of poor widows and children of clergymen, and treasurer to the orphan charity-school. He married, in 1794, one of the coheiresses of the late Mr. Swindon, an eminent and opulent schoolmaster at Greenwich, in Kent. Mr. Topham’s publications in the Archaeologia are, vol. VI. p. 116, on Esnecca, or the King’s Yacht, in a charter of Henry II.; ibid. 179, on the picture in Windsor castle representing the embarkation of Henry VIII. at Dover; VII. 337, on a subsidy roll of 51 Edward III. The wardrobe account of 21 Edward I. was published by the society in 1787, under his direction; and he was one of the committee for publishing other wardrobe accounts, in “A collection of Ordinances and Regulations for the government of the Royal Household, in divers reigns, from Edward III. to William and Mary,” 1790, 4to. Mr. Topham was elected F. S. A. in 1767, and treasurer (on the death of Mr. Bartlet) in

1787, and was also elected F. R. S. in 1779. He died at Cheltenham, Aug. 19, 1803. 1


Gent. Mag. vol. LXXIII.—Nichols’s Bowyer.