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design, which, in 1785, he put in execution, of having the wholeengraved and publishedin a superb folio.
Mr. Willett was great grandson of Henry Willett, Esq. of London, who was of the same family with the celebrated Dr. Andrew Willett *, Prebendary of Ely, well known by his
* Son of Dr. Thomas Willett, rector of Thurcaston, co. Leicester, and Prebendary of Ely in the reign of Queen Elizabeth; who was admitted to a prebend in the church of Ely 1560; officiated as public notary at the consecration of Archbishop Parker at Lambeth chapel, Dec. 17, 1559 ; and was ordained Deacon by Dr. Grindall, Bishop of London, Jan. 14 following. In Bishop Cox's “Certificatorium" of the state of the Diocese of Ely to the Archbishop, dated Jan. 28, 1560-1, in Bene't College Library, Misc. V. he is returned “ Prebendary there, a priest, no graduate, but qualified for preaching, and had a special licence for that purpose from the Bishop of Ely, and resided there with his family." Bishop Cox afterwards presented him to the rectory of Barley, to which he was instituted April 3, 1571 ; he resigned his prebend July 1587; and dying at Barley April 1599, was there buried.--He was succeeded in his stall by his son Andrew, who was born at Ely, educated in the grammar school there, admitted, first of Peterhouse, and afterwards became Scholar and Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge. At the age of 25 he was presented by the Queen to his father's prebend, and admitted July 22, 1597. The following year, Nov. 12, he was instituted to the rectory of Childerley, co. Cambridge; and in 1597, July 9, to that of Little Grantesden, in the same county. He likewise succeeded his father, though not immediately, in that of Barley, for which he exchanged Grantesden, and was instituted, being then B. D. Jan. 29, 1598-9. He was also chaplain to Prince Henry. He was a person of great industry, piety, and judgment, and accounted one of the best commentators and most celebrated controversial writers of that age; particularly in his “ Synopsis Papismi," a noble repository of learning in that controversy. His death was occasioned by breaking his leg, his horse stumbling in the road near Hoddesdon. He died Dec. 4, 1621, and was buried in the chancel at Barley (to the poor of which parish he gave a small tenement, and 40l. in money) under a large spotted marble, with the figure of a priest, in his gown, scarf, and square cap, and at his feet the following epitaph: “ Hic jacet Andreas Willet,
writings, more particularly by " An Harmony on the First and Second Books of Samuel," 1613, 1614, with an elegant Latin Epistle prefixed to
“ Vivus in hoc tegitur (Lector, mirare,) sepulchro
WillETTUS ; sua post funera vivit adhuc.
Magnifico structam, scripta polita, domum.
Hic ubi paulisper fleres abire potes.
As yet, great Willett, are the Popelin's shame;
Death only taught us thy humanity." Dr. Andrew Willett left a numerous issue. Henry Willett (who married Martha Robinson, daughter of Thomas Robinson, Esq. and first cousin to Dr. Robinson, Bishop of London) ruined a very respectable fortune of 5001. a-year, by adhering to the cause of King Charles I. and taking an active part on his side. Both he and his wife died in 1670. Their son Ralph was driven, with many other Royalists, to seek an asylum in the island of Barbadoes, a common retreat to the Royalists at that time, and governed by William Lord Willoughby of Parham, whose protection of the unfortunate Royalists was very remarkable and beneficent. Not finding there the success he expected, he retired to the Island of St. Christopher, and there married Anne, daughter of Mr. Estridge, by whom he had a considerable fortune. His eldest son Henry, about 1718, married Elizabeth, daughter of Col. John Stanley, of Nevis, who, by a letter in the possession of the family from the great Earl of Derby, beheaded by Oliver Cromwell, is acknowledged as a near relation. This John Stanley, whose fortunes were ruined by the same attachment as brought his noble relation to The block, took refuge in the Island of Nevis, where he married Deborah, daughter of Col. Hill, at that time Governor of the Island. She died about 1730, at the age of 76.
Kalph Willett, Esq. son of this Henry Willett, purchased, in 1751, the property at Merly in Dorsetshire, antiently a manor, now a farm in Great Canford tithing, situated about a mile South of Winbourne ; where he began in 1752, and finished in 1760, from a design of his own, a noble house on the top of the bill, about half a mile from the old seat of the Constantines (formerly owners of Merly), which stands in the vale below. Mr. Willett was sheriff for the county in 1760, and adorned Mr. Hutchins's “ History of Dorsetshire" with an elegant view of his house ; and other views and plans of it may be seen in the continuation of the “ Vitruvius Britannicus" by Wolfe and Gandon.
each; the former addressed to the Fellows of Christ's College, in which are recounted the Bishops and eminent men who had been of their Society; the To this house Mr. Willett, in 1772, made considerable additions, by erecting two wings, which, with the ornaments, were also designed by himself. In that on the south-east side is a room for a Library, 84 feet long, 23 wide, and 23 high ; 5 feet 6 inches of the height are taken off by a coving; and, that the work in the coving may not be hurt by the projection of a cornice, an impost, very much ornamented, is placed 17 feet 6 inches above the floor. The book-cases, which are of mahogany, and enriched with a complete lonic order, are 13 feet 4 inches high, and allow a considerable space above them, and below the impost, for busts, &c. Between the busts on each bookcase is an ornamental scroll, on which is written the kind of books contained in the case; the lamp of Science, with an inscription, “Non extingretur," crowning the top of the scroll. On the top of the book-cases over the two chimneys, instead of the lamp, is the crest of the designer, under which is written, “ Nullius in verba magistri ;” and on the scroll, as the chimneys exclude the possibility of putting books into those cases, his favourite motto, “ Intus ut libet, foris ut mos est." The inscription over the other chimney book-case, and on the same parts, are, “ Quid utile ;" and underneath, “ Vixit bene qui latuit bene." The medallions are separated from each other into compartments by terms of young men ; they reach from the torus above the impost to the compartments of the flat part of the cieling, which they are made to support, as well as to part off the medallions ; the whole design is executed in stucco. in the variety of religious systems established by mere human policy, the designer hath employed only two, those of Zoroaster and Mahomet. Of these, and all the other designs, engravings were made, in a series of 25 prints, on the best colombier paper, folio size, the figures more than six inches high, accompanied by an ample description, in English and French, of each plate, explaining the intention of the author, inscribed to the King, 1785, and published (from the press of the Author of these Anecdotes) by a subscription of four guineas each set. The subjects of these prints are as follows : 1, 2, 3. In these plates, that may be joined or continued separate, the general arrangement of the whole is exhibited. 4. The ground-plan of the Library, and enrichments in the frames of the great compart. ments in the flat of the cieling. 5. One of the book-cases. 6. Zoroaster, the founder of the purest Pagan Theology, in a medallion, supported by a Persic king on one side of it, and by a Persic priest on the other. 7. Mahomet, with the Koran in one hand, and a scymitar in the other, alluding to the manner in which his law was propagated, supported by a Tartar and a Turk. 8. The great Jewish Lawgiver, Moses, with the tables of the Law; on one side of the medallion is Adam, on the
latter addressed to his brethren the Dean and Prebendaries of Ely, wherein he recounts within
other Eve: on one side of each of these figures are the sevenbranched candlestick, and the table of shewbread, from the arch of Titus at Rome. 9. The venerable Author of our own most excellent Religion ; the medallion supported by two angels : on one side of each of those the two symbols of his law, the cup and the font. 10. The human Lawgiver, or Politician, pro.ceeding on the foundations thus made by Religion, prosecules the great work of civilization. This print represents Alfred, with the harp placed against an oak covered with misletoe, on one side of the medallion, and the Danish raven flag trampled on by the British lion on the other. 11. Confucius, with the imperial dragon and the plough. 12. Osiris, with the Sphinx and Apis. 13. Manco Capac, with the sun and a Peruvian sheep. These four figures have their respective symbols, expressive of their characters ; and refer to the four parts of the world in which they flourished. 14. At this period the Arts and Sciences may be supposed to originate. This plate represents Painting. 15. Sculpture. 16. Geography. 17. Astronomy. 18. The first rudiments of society, such as we find it at Patagonia, &c. 19. The general improvement of it, as it may be seen at Utaheite. 20. The further progress of it in Egypt, under the great Sesostris. 21. A view of further progress in Greece; Pericles advancing the same great work at Athens; and Socrates conversing with Alcibiades. 22. The completion of this design ; the last and most engaging picture of human nature, is reserved for our own Country and its excellent Sovereign, introduced by Britannia into the Temple of Fame, and shewing him the great characters that have adorned this Country. 23. A most excellent Print, from a picture by Mr. Richard Wilson, designed to express the flourishing state of the Arts and of Knowledge at Athens. 24 Another, from a picture by Mr. Solomon Delane, expressive of their ruin, in a view of the same place, now in the hands of the Turks. 25. Contains the basso relievos of the two chimneys : in one of them is the story of Archimedes, slain at the siege of Syracuse ; in the other that of Alexander depositing the works of Homer in the rich casket of Darius; as also the angular ornament in the cove of the cieling, and one of the terms that divide the compartments in the cove. The figures on the medallions are four feet six inches high, in mezzo relievo. “ In the four angles, which from the irregularity of their form are incapable of any other ornament, the sugar-cane winds its flexible reed and rushy leaf in different folds. Though this plant has no reference to Science, it is the foundation at least of all the compliment the designer has attempted to pay it, and there. fore may be allowed a place which it really fills with some beauty. This library contains a capital collection of books in various languages, and every branch of science and literature, in forming which Mr. Willett spared no expence. Amongst them are the
his own memory no less than three Archbishops and four Bishops, who had either been Dignitaries
earliest printed books after the discovery of that art, as well as many later curious editions. The colloction of prints, drawings, and paintings, is also very valuable. To the latter, considerable additions were made from the Orleans Gallery, and Palaces in Rome.
In the Library of the Royal Institution, are the two following curiosities : 1.“ A Catalogne of the Books in the Library of Ralph Willett, Esq. at Merly, in the county of Dorset, 1790," 8vo. pp. 176. This (my friend Mr. W. Harris informs me) is a classed Catalogue, and has some additions in MS. to the differa ent classes. 2. “ A Description of the Library at Merly," 8vo. pp. 39, without any title-page, but distinct from the Catalogue. Neither of the articles was printed for sale, and both were presented by the late Mr. Willett to Mr. Astle.
The following Lines are copied from the Original, prefixed to a copy of the Catalogue which was lately sold in London:
“ Accept this mighty Work, beyond the boast
A Catalogue the only Book of Books ! E. P. 1793." Mr. Willett contributed to the illustration of our National Antiquities, by communicating to the Society of Antiquaries, of which he was elected a Fellow in 1763, a Memoir of British Naval Architecture, printed in their Archæologia, vol. XI. p. 154 ; and another, on the Origin of Printing, in the same volume, p. 267; in which last he refers, p. 270, to a former memoir by him presented to the Society. He married, first Mrs. Annabella Robinson, who died 1779. He took to his second wife, 1786, the relict of Samuel Strutt, Esq. assistant clerk of the Parliainent. On his death, Jan. 13, 1795, in his 75th year, this estate, with the rest of his fortune, devolved by his will to his maternal cousin, John-Willett Adye, Esq. who has since taken the name of Willett. Mr. Willett was buried in his parish church at Canford, with the following epitaph, on an elegant tablet of white marble, on the South side of the chancel :