Tag Archives: clergy

Gregory Sharpe

The Rev. Gregory Sharpe (1713—1771), FRS was a prolific author on religious and philological subjects. Originally from Yorkshire, he went to Cambridge and was ordained deacon in 1737 and priest in 1739. He was chaplain to Frederick, the Prince of Wales until his death in 1751, and later was chaplain to George III. It is presumably through the latter role that he came to know Joshua Kirby.

Sharpe was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1754, his citation reading:

The Revd Gregory Sharpe LLD of Poland Street a Gentleman of great Merit & Learning, well versed in Philosophy & Mathematicks, being desirous of being a Member of the Royal Society is proposed as a Candidate by us, upon our personal knowledge; and we believe if he have the honour to be elected, that he will make a usefull & valuable Member

In the 1760s, Sharpe became a prolific proposer of candidates to Fellowship of the Royal Society, supporting

  • Henry Stebbing (1764)
  • Thomas Forster (1766)
  • Joshua Kirby (1767)
  • George Steevens (1767)
  • Daniel Minet (1767)
  • Charles Moore (1767)
  • James Horsfall (1768)
  • John Lodge Cowley (1768)
  • Andreas Planta (1769)
  • Jean-Nicolas Jouin (1770)
  • and John Philip de Limbourg (1770)

The only likeness of Sharpe that I know is a mezzotint by Valentine Green made in 1770 from a painting by Richard Crosse.

As well as a noted author, Sharpe was a great book collector, and after his death his extensive library was sold off in an auction that ran for 11 days. Lot 1439 was a copy of Joshua Kirby’s Perspective of Architecture.

See Also: Sharpe’s DNB entry.

Charles and Robert Beaumont

The brothers Revs. Charles (1710—1758) and Robert (1724—1792) Beaumont came from one strand of the large and complicated Beaumont family in Suffolk. Their father Robert (1683—1737) was educated at Queen’s College Cambridge, and became Rector of Witnesham in 1708 and later Vicar of Henley and Vicar of St. Lawrence in Ipswich. The extended family included several other members of the clergy, including Charles Beaumont, DD (1660—1726), Fellow of Peterhouse College who left land and money to his cousin the elder Robert and thence to his godson, Charles.

Of the brothers, I know less about Robert. He would still have been only about thirteen when his father died. He did go on to Cambridge and was ordained in 1746, being appointed Rector of Helmingham and vicar of Framsden in 1760, posts which he retained for the rest of his life. His subscription to Kirby’s Historical Account is the only subscription of his I know.

Charles, the eldest son, has left more of a record. He went to Peterhouse, gaining his BA in 1731 and MA in 1734, was ordained in 1735 and succeeded his father as Rector of Witnesham in 1736.

Charles continued his father’s practice of giving sermons in support of the Charity Schools, the Grey-Coat boys and Blue-Coat girls of Ipswich, and seems to have resided, at least some of the time, in Ipswich. Witnesham is only about four miles from Ipswich, so this hardly counts as not living in the living.

It is presumably Charles, rather than Robert, who provides the link with Kirby. Witnesham Hall was owned by the Meadows family (and had been it its hands for several centuries) and Joshua Kirby’s brother William, a lawyer by training, married Lucy Meadows and lived at Witnesham Hall administering the family property. Charles subscribed to both the Historical Account and the first edition of the Method of Perspective.

Charles married Elizabeth Vesey and they had three children, although the first died young. The middle daughter, Elizabeth, married Philip Broke and their son, Sir Philip Bowes Vere Broke, was captain of HMS Shannon when she captured the USS Chesapeake in the War of 1812.