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esq. of Edge and Merrifield, in Somersetshire, in which county he

, esq. of Edge and Merrifield, in Somersetshire, in which county he was born, the founder of Waclham-college, Oxford, was a descendant of the ancient family of YVadhams of Devonshire; but the period of his birth is not known, nor have we many particulars of his personal history. According to Wood, he was a gentleman-commoner either of Christ-church, or CorpusChrist! college, where he is supposed to have been admitted about 1548. He inherited an estate which he increased to more than 3000l. a-year, and accumulated about 14,000^. in money. A large portion of this property he resolved to devote to some foundation of public utility. His first intention is said to have been to found a college at Venice for such Englishmen of the Roman catholic persuasion as might wish to enjoy their education and religion, now no longer tolerated in England. From this it may be inferred, that he was himself attached to popery; but his adherence could not be inflexible, as he was soon persuaded by his friend Mr. Grange to erect a college in Oxford, in imitation of the others, where the established religion was now cultivated with zeal. His, or rather his wife’s, appointing, that the warden should not be married, may be thought a part of the old persuasion; but it must be remembered, that the marriage of the clergy was one of the last changes of opinion to which the nation was completely reconciled. Queen Elizabeth was always against it; and it was prohibited by the statutes of Jesus-college. A more ridiculous reason has been traditionally assigned for Mrs. Dorothy Wadham’s injunction against marriage; she is said to have been refused by the first warden; but she was at this time seventy-five years old, and he considerably advanced, which renders this story highly improbable. As Mr. Wadham died before this design could be carried into execution, he bequeathed the management of it to his wife, the daughter of siv William Petre, secretary of state, who so often occurs as a benefactor to the university of Oxford. This lady, assisted by trustees, and with a zeal proportioned to her husband’s spirited design, completed the necessary purchases, buildings, and endowment. She survived her husdand nine years, died May 16, 1618, aged eighty-four, and was buried with her husband in the north transept of the church of Ilminster in Somersetshire, under a stately monument of alabaster, on which are their figures on brass plates; but the whole is considerably decayed.