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  • Sir Thomas Browne as “Orphan” with Some Account of his Stepfather, Sir Thomas Dutton
  • N. J. Endicott (bio)
N. J. Endicott

Professor of English, University College, University of Toronto


I am indebted to the courtesy of the librarians in the various libraries in which this work was done. I should also like to thank the appropriate officers of the Grocers and Mercers Companies, and especially Mr. M. J. Chandler, Deputy Keeper of the Records of the Corporation of London, who gave me very substantial assistance with the Corporation records.

1. On the basis of a reference by Tanner (Wilkin, IV, x) John Hase, Richmond Herald, is sometimes thought to have been the compiler of the life. Keynes (Bibliography, 99) says, but without evidence, “probably it was compiled by the publisher,” that is, Curll. See also Professor Finch’s “Sir Thomas Browne: Early Biographical Notices…,” in Studies in Bibliography: Papers of the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia, XI (1949–50), 196–201.

2. Posthumous Works (1712), xxxvi.

3. “His Father dying while he was very Young, left him a plentiful Fortune, his Mother took her Thirds, which was Three Thousand Pounds, and some Time after Married Sir Thomas Dutton, a worthy Person, who held several considerable Places in the Kingdom of Ireland; by which Means he was wholly left to the Care of his Guardians.” Posthumous Works, i–ii “His father dying left him young: his mother cook her thirds, which was three thousand pounds, and married Sir Thomas Dutton, a worthy person who had great places. The executors took care of his education at Winchester and Oxford.” “C.D.,” quoting White Kennet in The European Magazine, XL (1801), 89; Wilkin, I, cx.

4. Christian Morals (1756), iii; Wilkin, I, xviii.

5. Wilkin, I, Ivii. Wilkin notes that in the article in Biographia Britannica (1730) Kippis says Dutton “enjoyed an honourable post in the government of Ireland,” and adds, “what this post was he does not mention, nor can L”

6. Keynes, V, 191. From MS Sloane 1869.

7. “The Will of Thomas Browne, Mercer.” Proceedings of the Norfolk and Norivich Archaeological Society, XVI [1906], 132–6.

8. Guy’s Hospital Gazette, Oct 21, 1905.

9. J. S. Finch, Sir Thomas Browne, a Doctor’s Life of Science and Faith (New York, 1950), 29–31.

10. As the person responsible for bringing up Sir Thomas Browne and his sisters, Edward Browne may be further documented. He was a grocer, not brewer, as stated by Williams and Finch, the mistake having risen from a mistranscription of the actual will in the transcript (123 Capell) of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. According to the Acts of Court of the Grocers’ Company he was apprenticed in 1587, obtained his freedom in 1594, was taken into livery in 1604, and in 1620 was upon humble suit in respect of his years and antiquity dispensed from the livery of the company and all offices and fines for the same in return for £10 and delivery to the wardens of a hogshead of good claret for their election day. He signed a pedigree for the London and Middlesex visitations of 1634, and was alive in 1639 when he certified that Ellen Browne was over twenty-one.

11. According to the funeral certificate of Elizabeth Browne, his mother, of Upton, Cheshire. Record Society for the Publication of Original Documents relating to Lancashire and Cheshire, v. 6, Cheshire and Lancashire Funeral Certificates, 1600 to 1678, ed. J. P. Rylands, 1882, 48–9. Printed from MS Lansdowne 879, fo. 14.

12. Paul Garraway (see pedigree in M. L. Tildesley “Six Thomas Browne, his Skull, Portraits, and Ancestry,” Biometrika, XV, 1923, also issued separately) to whose house at Lewes Browne makes a reference in a letter, died intestate in February, 1620. He had four children by his first marriage, in 1582, to Alice Britridge, born Page, one of the children being Anne, Browne’s mother. Of the second marriage to Margaret Briddiman of Tingridge, Bedfordshire, in 1610, there was no surviving issue. Professor Finch suggests that Browne probably inherited something from his grandfather, but of this there is no evidence, nor is there evidence that his mother inherited...


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