Richard Rawlinson

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Richard Rawlinson

Richard Rawlinson FRS (3 February 1690 – 6 April 1755) was an English clergyman and antiquarian collector of books and manuscripts, which he bequeathed to the Bodleian Library, Oxford. [1]

Fellow of the Royal Society Elected Fellow of the Royal Society, including Honorary, Foreign and Royal Fellows

Fellowship of the Royal Society is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of London judges to have made a 'substantial contribution to the improvement of natural knowledge, including mathematics, engineering science, and medical science'.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north-northwest. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

Antiquarian Specialist or aficionado of antiquities or things of the past

An antiquarian or antiquary is an aficionado or student of antiquities or things of the past. More specifically, the term is used for those who study history with particular attention to ancient artifacts, archaeological and historic sites, or historic archives and manuscripts. The essence of antiquarianism is a focus on the empirical evidence of the past, and is perhaps best encapsulated in the motto adopted by the 18th-century antiquary Sir Richard Colt Hoare, "We speak from facts, not theory."



Richard Rawlinson was a younger son of Sir Thomas Rawlinson (1647–1708), Lord Mayor of the City of London in 1705-6, and a brother of Thomas Rawlinson (1681–1725), the bibliophile who ruined himself in the South Sea Company, at whose sale in 1734 Richard bought many of the Orientalia. He was educated at St Paul's School, at Eton College, and at St John's College, Oxford. In 1714, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, where he was inducted by Newton. Rawlinson was a strong supporter of the exiled Stuarts and in 1716 was ordained as a Deacon and then priest in the nonjuring Church of England (see Nonjuring schism) and Jacobite. The ceremony was performed by the non-juring Usager bishop, Jeremy Collier. Rawlinson was, in 1728, consecrated as a Bishop in the nonjuring church by Bishops Gandy, Blackbourne and Doughty. On Blackbourne's death he became the senior nonjuring Bishop in London but seems to have given up his clerical duties later in his life.

Thomas Rawlinson (1647–1708) English local politician

Sir Thomas Rawlinson (1647–1708) was a London winemaker who was Lord Mayor of London in 1705.

South Sea Company British joint-stock company founded in 1711

The South Sea Company was a British joint-stock company founded in 1711, created as a public-private partnership to consolidate and reduce the cost of national debt. The company was also granted a monopoly to trade with South America and nearby islands, hence its name. When the company was created, Britain was involved in the War of the Spanish Succession and Spain controlled South America. There was no realistic prospect that trade would take place, and the company never realised any significant profit from its monopoly. Company stock rose greatly in value as it expanded its operations dealing in government debt, peaking in 1720 before collapsing to little above its original flotation price; the economic bubble became known as the South Sea Bubble.

Orient term for the Eastern world

The Orient is a historical term for the East, traditionally comprising anything that belongs to the Eastern world, in relation to Europe. In English, it is largely a metonym for, and coterminous with, the continent of Asia, loosely classified into the Near East, Middle East and Far East: the directional regions now known today as western Asia, southern Asia, eastern Asia, and southeast Asia. Originally, the term Orient was used to designate the Near East, and later its meaning evolved and expanded, designating also the Middle East or the Far East.

Rawlinson then travelled in England and on the continent of Europe, where he passed several years, making very diverse collections [2] of manuscripts, coins and curiosities, his books alone forming three libraries, English, foreign and Classical. In 1728 he became a bishop among the nonjurors, but he hardly ever appears to have discharged episcopal functions, preferring to pass his time in collecting books and manuscripts, pictures and curiosities. He died at Islington, London.

Europe Continent in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere

Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.

Islington Area of London

Islington is a district in Greater London, England, and part of the London Borough of Islington. It is a mainly residential district of Inner London, extending from Islington's High Street to Highbury Fields, encompassing the area around the busy High Street, Upper Street, Essex Road, and Southgate Road to the east.

Rawlinson was a friend of the antiquarian Thomas Hearne and, among his voluminous writings, published a Life of the antiquary Anthony Wood.

Thomas Hearne (antiquarian) English antiquary and historian

Thomas Hearne or Hearn was an English diarist and prolific antiquary, particularly remembered for his published editions of many medieval English chronicles and other important historical texts.

Anthony Wood (antiquary) English antiquarian

Anthony Wood, who styled himself Anthony à Wood in his later writings, was an English antiquary.

Towards the end of his life, Rawlinson quarrelled with both the Royal Society and the Society of Antiquaries. [3] Cutting the Society of Antiquaries from his bequests, he began transferring his collections to the Bodleian. A series of almanacs in 175 volumes, ranging in date from 1607 to 1747 arrived in 1752-55. At his death, Rawlinson left to the Library 5,205 manuscripts bound in volumes that include many rare broadsides and other printed ephemera, his curiosities, and some other property that endowed a professorship of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University. The Rawlinsonian Professor of Anglo-Saxon was first appointed in 1795. He was also a benefactor to St John's College, Oxford.

Ephemera transitory written or printed materials not intended to be preserved

Ephemera are any transitory written or printed matter not meant to be retained or preserved. The word derives from the Greek ephemeros, meaning "lasting only one day, short-lived". Some collectible ephemera are advertising trade cards, airsickness bags, bookmarks, catalogues, greeting cards, letters, pamphlets, postcards, posters, prospectuses, defunct stock certificates or tickets, and zines.

St Johns College, Oxford college of the University of Oxford

St John's College is a constituent college of the University of Oxford. Founded as a men's college in 1555, it has been coeducational since 1979. Its founder, Sir Thomas White, intended to provide a source of educated Roman Catholic clerics to support the Counter-Reformation under Queen Mary.

Richard Rawlinson is buried at St John's College, Oxford. Rawlinson Road in North Oxford is named after him. [4]

Rawlinson Road

Rawlinson Road is a residential road in North Oxford, England.

North Oxford suburban part of the city of Oxford in England

North Oxford is a suburban part of the city of Oxford in England. It was owned for many centuries largely by St John's College, Oxford and many of the area's Victorian houses were initially sold on leasehold by the College.


  1. Lee, Sidney, ed. (1896). "Rawlinson, Richard"  . Dictionary of National Biography . 47. London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 331–333.
  2. "His collections in the Bodleian Library defeat the most persistent attempts at analysis" Brian J. Enright wrote in his introductory remarks to Tashjian and Enright 1991.
  3. He stipulated in his will that no F.R.S. or F.R.A.—-nor Irishman nor Scot nor native of the colonies—-should hold the chair he endowed, a direction that was ignored. (Tashjian and Enright 1991).
  4. Symonds, Ann Spokes (1997). "Buildings and Gardens". The Changing Faces of North Oxford. Book One. Robert Boyd Publications. p. 13. ISBN   1-899536-25-6.

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