Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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BAXTER , WILLIAM ( 1650 - 1723 ), antiquary .

Born at Llanllugan, Mont. , 1650 , son of a brother of Richard Baxter , the Presbyterian divine . He was educated at Harrow . Baxter says that when he went to school he knew no language other than Welsh , but he became proficient in other languages — Irish , Greek , and Latin , the Germanic languages , and some of the Oriental languages . He kept a school at Tottenham High Cross , Middlesex , and later became master of the Mercers’ School .

In 1679 he published an elementary Latin grammar, De Analogia sive arte Linguae Latinae Commentariolus … in usum provectioris adolescentiae . His Anacreon appeared in 1695 (2nd ed. 1710 ), and this made his name known in England and on the Continent . He edited the works of Horace in 1701 (other ed., 1725 , 1798 ), and his text formed the basis of J. M. Gesner 's edition in 1752 . Baxter 's dictionary of antiquities, Glossarium Antiquitatum Britannicarum , was published in 1719 . He also worked on a dictionary of Roman antiquities; this incomplete work was edited by Moses Williams after Baxter 's death, and it appeared in 1726 as Reliquiae Baxterianae sive W. Baxteri opera posthuma (2nd ed. 1731 as Glossarium Antiquitatum Romanarum ). He contributed articles to Archaeologia and Philosophical Transactions , and among his unpublished works there is a study of Juvenal .

Baxter was in close touch with contemporary antiquaries and philologists, and he corresponded with Edward Lhuyd . Lhuyd thought that he was ‘a person of learning and integrity, tho, I fear me, too apt to indulge fancy.’ He d. 31 May 1723 ; he had two sons and three daughters.

Sources:

  • Reliquiae Baxterianae, or Mr. Richard Baxter's narrative of the most memorable passages of his life and times , 1696 ;
  • Nichol , Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century , 1812–5 , i, 163;
  • Archaeologia Cambrensis , i;
  • The Monthly Review , n.s., xxv;
  • R. Williams , Montgomeryshire Worthies , second ed., 1894 ;
  • J. Davies , Bywyd a Gwaith Moses Williams, (1685-1742) , 1937 , 1937 , 99-101;
  • R. T. Gunther , Early Science in Oxford , 1945 ;
  • Enwogion Cymru. A Biographical Dictionary of Eminent Welshmen , 1852 ;
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Author:

Professor Idris Llewelyn Foster, M.A., F.S.A., (1911-84), Oxford

Published date: 1959