Thomas Rawlinson (barrister)

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Thomas Rawlinson (1681–1725) was an English barrister, known as a bibliophile.



Rawlinsin was born in the Old Bailey in the parish of St. Sepulchre, London, on 25 March 1681, the eldest son of Sir Thomas Rawlinson (1647–1708), and his wife Mary Taylor (died 1725), eldest daughter of Richard Taylor of Turnham Green, Middlesex; Richard Rawlinson was a younger brother. After education under William Day at Cheam, and at Eton College under John Newborough, he matriculated at St John's College, Oxford on 25 February 1699. He left the university in 1701, and studied at the Middle Temple, where he had been entered on 7 January 1696. [1]

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Rawlinson was called to the bar on 19 May 1705, and then made a tour through England and the Low Countries. Returning to London, he concentrated on municipal law, but succeeded to a large estate on the death of his father in 1708. He resided for some years in Gray's Inn, where his accumulation of books compelled him to sleep in a passage. In 1716 he hired London House, Aldersgate for his library, stacked three deep. Joseph Addison is supposed to have had Rawlinson in mind when (in The Tatler , No. 158) he wrote on Tom Folio, a "learned idiot". [1]

Low Countries Historical coastal landscape in north western Europe

The term Low Countries, also known as the Low Lands, is a coastal lowland region in northwestern Europe forming the lower basin of the Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt delta and consisting of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. Geographically and historically, the area includes also the French Flanders and the German regions of East Frisia and Cleves. During the Middle Ages, the Low Countries were divided in numerous semi-independent principalities.

Municipal law is the national, domestic, or internal law of a sovereign state defined in opposition to international law. Municipal law includes many levels of law: not only national law but also state, provincial, territorial, regional, or local law. While the state may regard them as distinct categories of law, international law is largely uninterested in the distinction and treats them all as one. Similarly, international law makes no distinction between the ordinary law of the state and its constitutional law.

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The Honourable Society of Gray's Inn, commonly known as Gray's Inn, is one of the four Inns of Court in London. To be called to the bar and practise as a barrister in England and Wales, a person must belong to one of these Inns. Located at the intersection of High Holborn and Gray's Inn Road in Central London, the Inn is both a professional body and a provider of office accommodation (chambers) for many barristers. It is ruled by a governing council called "Pension", made up of the Masters of the Bench, and led by the Treasurer, who is elected to serve a one-year term. The Inn is known for its gardens, or Walks, which have existed since at least 1597.

Rawlinson was elected a governor of Bridewell and Bethlehem Hospital in 1706, and of St. Bartholomew's Hospital in 1712. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society on 19 February 1713, and of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 1724. He married, on 22 September 1724, his servant Amy Frewin, formerly a maid at a coffee-house in Aldersgate Street, and died without issue at London House on 6 August 1725. He was buried in St Botolph's Aldersgate. [1]

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

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Society of Antiquaries of London British learned society for archaeologists

The Society of Antiquaries of London (SAL) is a learned society "charged by its Royal Charter of 1751 with 'the encouragement, advancement and furtherance of the study and knowledge of the antiquities and history of this and other countries'." It is based at Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, and is a registered charity.

Collections and associations

Rawlinson collected books, manuscripts, and some pictures. He was interested in editions of classical authors, and English history. His sole publication under his own name was a copy of verses in the Oxford University Collection on the death of the Duke of Gloucester in 1700. He was on close terms with Joseph Ames, John Murray the bibliophile, and John Bagford; Michael Maittaire dedicated his Juvenal to him in 1716. Thomas Hearne, a fellow Jacobite, borrowed manuscripts from him: his Aluredi Beverlacensis Annales (1716) was printed from a manuscript in Rawlinson's collection. [1]

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Joseph Ames (author) historian

Joseph Ames was an English bibliographer and antiquary. He purportedly wrote an account of printing in England from 1471 to 1600 entitled Typographical Antiquities (1749). It is uncertain whether he was by occupation a ship's chandler, a pattern-maker, a plane iron maker or an ironmonger. Though never educated beyond grammar school, he prospered in trade and amassed valuable collections of rare books and antiquities.

John Bagford British antiquarian

John Bagford was an English antiquarian, writer, bibliographer, ballad-collector and bookseller.

Rawlinson's collection of printed books, was sold in parts, the first sale beginning on 7 March 1722, the sixteenth and last on 4 March 1734, and each occupying between fifteen and thirty days. Of these sales the first six were arranged for by Rawlinson himself (though the sixth took place after his death), and (according to William Oldisworth's account to Hearne) were linked to losses in the South Sea Bubble; [2] the remainder by his brother Richard. At the last sale (besides 800 printed books) were sold the manuscripts, 1,020 in number. The auctioneer was Thomas Ballard; catalogues exist. The pictures, including a crayon portrait of the collector by his brother Richard, were sold by Ballard at the Two Golden Balls, Hart Street, Covent Garden, on 4 and 5 April 1734. [1] Charles Davis was also involved in disposing of the library. [3]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Lee, Sidney, ed. (1896). "Rawlinson, Thomas (1681-1725)"  . Dictionary of National Biography . 47. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  2. Harmsen, Theodor. "Rawlinson, Thomas". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/23195.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. Brack, O. M. "Davis, Charles". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/7276.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)

Wikisource-logo.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain :  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1896). "Rawlinson, Thomas (1681-1725)". Dictionary of National Biography . 47. London: Smith, Elder & Co.

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Sidney Lee 19th/20th-century English biographer and critic

Sir Sidney Lee was an English biographer, writer and critic.

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