Ancestors of a 21st century British family

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  • ID: I598
  • Name: Benjamin Heath
  • Sex: M
  • Birth: 20 APR 1704 in Exeter, Devon
  • Death: 13 SEP 1766 in Exeter, Devon
  • Baptism: 11 OCT 1729 St Leonard?s, Exeter, Devon
  • Note: When age 26 1
  • Burial: 21 SEP 1766 St Leonard?s, Exeter, Devon
  • Occupation: Critic and book collector.
  • Education: Exeter Grammar School. Inner Temple. Middle Temple. Oxford (Hon DCL - not undergrad).
  • Note: 2 3 4 1

    Benjamin Heath, a town clerk of Exeter, with literary tastes, published notes on the Greek dramatists, and, in 1765, A Revisal of Shakespeare?s Text, ?wherein the alterations introduced into it by the more modern editors and critics are particularly considered.? Heath attacked Pope, Hanmer and Warburton, but agreed that the public was under real obligations to Theobald. He himself was not so fortunate as to be furnished with the Shakespeare folios, still less the quartos; but he concluded that all readings deserving of attention were given by Pope or Theobald. Some of his annotations were included in a collection published in 1819. Among the manuscripts which he left unpublished on his death, in 1766, were notes (used by Dyce) on Beaumont and Fletcher?s plays.
    Benjamin Heath (1704-1766), born in Exeter, was educated at Exeter Grammar School and is said to have studied at the Inner Temple and Oxford University. On his father's death he inherited £30,000 and went on the grand tour, marrying in Geneva. He settled in Exeter, his main interests being literature and book collecting. He was himself the author of a number of works, including influential commentaries on the Greek tragedians. In 1752 he was elected Town Clerk of Exeter and in 1763 he was prominent in leading the opposition to the excise duties on cider. His library, together with that of his son, was sold in London in 1810.
    Cider tax saviour's reward to be auctioned.
    Candlesticks which once belonged to a famous eighteenth-century son of Exeter are being sold at auction. The pair of George III cast silver candlesticks were presented to a city gentleman named Benjamin Heath (1704-1766), in recognition of his efforts to remove a controversial cider tax. They are due to be sold at a silver sale later this month for an estimated price of £2,000 to £3,000.
    The classical scholar and avid book reader became town clerk of the Devon city in 1752. Protests were sparked in the county a year later when an excise tax of four shillings per hogshead of cider and perry was imposed.
    Mr Heath produced a pamphlet entitled The Case of the County of Devon with respect to the consequences of the new tax in Devonshire.
    His endeavours are largely credited with the repeal of the act three years later.
    The Freeholders of Devonshire presented him with "a very large salver and pair of candlesticks" in 1764 to mark their appreciation of his exertions.
    The candlesticks bear the inscription: "The Gift of the County of Devon to Benjamin Heath Esq. 1764."
    Salisbury-based auctioneers Woolley and Wolley are conducting the silver sale on April 24 and 25 from 10am.
    (Western Morning News, April 10, 2012.)
    Admitted Middle Temple 28 June 1721. Passed to Inner Temple 3 Jan 1724. Re-admitted at Middle Temple 6 June 1729. Due to inheriting a large fortune from his father he was able to devote himself to travel and study without dependance on the law.
    (A catalogue of notable Middle Templars: with brief biographical notices.†By John Hutchinson.)
    HEATH, BENJAMIN (1704?1766), English classical scholar and bibliophile, was born at Exeter on the 20th of April 1704. He was the son of a wealthy merchant, and was thus able to devote himself mainly to travel and book-collecting. He became town clerk of his native city in 1752, and held the office till his death on the I3th of September 1766. In 1763 he had published a pamphlet advocating the repeal of the cider tax in Devonshire, and his endeavours led to success three years later. As a classical scholar he made his reputation by his critical and metrical notes on the Greek tragedians, which procured him an honorary
    D.C.L. from Oxford (31st of March 1752). He also left MS. notes on Burmann?s and Martyn?s editions of Virgil, on Euripides, Catullus, Tibullus, and the greater part of Hesiod. In some of these he adopts the whimsical name Dexiades EriciuS. His Revisal of Shakespear?s Text (1765) was an answer to the ?insolent dogmatism ? of Bishop Warburton. The Essay towards a Demonstrative Proof of the Divine Existence, Unity and Attributes (1740) was intended to combat the opinions of Voltaire, Rousseau and Hume.
    Two of his sons (among a family of thirteen) were Benjamin, headmaster of Harrow (1771?1785), and George, headmaster of Eton (1796). His collection of rare classical works formed the nucleus of his son Benjamin?s famous library (Bibliotheca Heathiana).
    Benjamin aged 28 had gone to Switzerland on business and Rosemary was just 14 when she met him and thought well of him.
    The city commissioned Robert Edge Pyne (1730-88) to paint Benjamin Heath?s portrait from an original and ordered that it should to be placed in the most conspicuous part of the Guildhall.
    Heath was a member of a family of Exeter merchants and fullers.†He was an able if conventional scholar. He led the opposition in the South West to the hated Cider Tax. Town Clerk 1752-66.
    He and Louisa are mentioned on p 84 of ?Notes on the history, fabrics and features of interest in the churches of the Deanery of Christianity Devon? by Beatrix F. Cresswell, Pub 1908 by James G. Commin, Exeter.
    His daughter Rose married Thomas Bromley, a master at Harrow and competitor with Joseph Dury for the head mastership.
    Not baptised according to rites of Church of England until after his father?s death - it would seem the family had been nonconformists.
    Wrote ?The Revisal of SHAKSPERE'S Text" (1765) , whose Strictures on WARRURTON, in that Work, Doctor Johnson in his celebrated Preface to his Edition of SHAKSPERE, likens to the ?Bite of a Viper glad to leave Inflammations and Gangrene behind him.?
    (A Concise Description of the Endowed Grammar Schools in England and Wales By Nicholas Carlisle)
    Benjamin Heath, who was born at Exeter on the 20th of April 1704, was the eldest son of Benjamin Heath, a fuller and merchant of that city. He was educated at the Exeter Grammar School, and afterwards studied law, with a view of being called to the Bar; but having inherited a handsome fortune on the death of his father, he abandoned his intention, and devoted himself to literature, and also to the formation of a library, which he had commenced at a very early age. In 1752 Heath was elected town-clerk of Exeter, an appointment he held until his death on the 13th of September 1766. In 1762 the University of Oxford conferred on him the degree of D.C.L. He was the author of several works, principally on the Greek and Latin classics and the text of Shakespeare. Heath in his lifetime divided a portion of his fine library between two of his sons, but retained a large part of it. Dibdin in Bibliomania prints an interesting letter, dated Exeter, March 21st, 1738, from Heath to Mr. John Mann of the Hand in Hand Fire Office, London, asking him to superintend the purchase of some books at a sale which was shortly to take place, and appending a list of those he desired, and the prices he was willing to pay for them.
    ( English Book Collectors. William Younger Fletcher. Kegan Paul, Trench, Trbner and Co Ltd 1902.)
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  • Change Date: 3 MAR 2013

    Father: Benjamin Heath b: ABT 1672 in Exeter, Devon
    Mother: Elizabeth Kelland b: in Of Rackenford, Devon

    Marriage 1 Rose Marie Michelet b: 5 JUL 1718 in Switzerland
    • Married: 12 AUG 1732 in Geneva, Switzerland 1
    1. Has No Children Benjamin Heath b: 27 SEP 1739
    2. Has Children William Heath b: 18 SEP 1748 in Exeter, Devon
    3. Has Children John Heath b: 28 SEP 1749
    4. Has Children Louisa Heath b: 22 JAN 1753
    5. Has No Children George Heath b: 3 DEC 1745

    1. Type: Book
      Periodical: Heathiania
      Author: Sir S R W Drake
      Date: 1882
    2. Type: Book
      Periodical: Dictionary of National Biography (DNB)
    3. Text: Susan Shaffer
    4. Text: A History of Harrow School 1324-1991
      Christopher Tyerman
      (Chapter 9: A Glittering Scene: Joseph Drury and Byron?s Harrow 1785-1805.)
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