Grose: The Antiquities of Ireland

Pdf Grose, Francis. The Antiquities of Ireland, Volume I. London: T. Bensley, 1791
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Pdf Grose, Francis. The Antiquities of Ireland, Volume II. London: T. Bensley, 1791
Size: 22.9M bytesModified: 26 May 2009, 13:15

Francis Grose was a well-known English antiquary, born in 1731. He was very interested in heraldry and antiquities, so his father bought him a place in the college of arms. This he resigned in 1751, to avoid being relocated to Scotland where his regiment had been posted. He was left a substantial fortune by his father, which he is said to have squandered. In 1757 Grose was elected a member of the Society of Antiquaries, and 1759 he resumed his soldiering career, this time in the militia where he would be able to avoid distant postings.

Grose had the advantage of a good classical education and a gift for drawing, which he now began to cultivate, encouraged by his friends. He began the work which would gain him his profit and reputation - his Views of Antiquities in England and Wales. This he first began to publish in numbers in 1773, and finished in 1776.

Grose had the novel idea of utilising his genuine interest in the field of medieval remains to market a book to the general public. At the time, there was an increasing interest in this area but few people had the means or time to visit the ruins themselves. Grose’s book meant they could now do so through the detailed panoramic sketches with some informative text. In 1772 he published the first part of The Antiquities of England and Wales and the last volume came out in June 1776. Grose almost immediately began work on a supplement.

He undertook an expedition to Ireland but, soon after his arrival in Dublin, he suddenly was seized with an apoplectic fit, on the 6th May 1791, and died immediately. He was interred in Dublin. His nephew Daniel and Dr. Edward Ledwich, who had already published a book on Irish antiquities, completed the final volume of Grose's Antiquities of Ireland in 1791.

The book is now a well-known historical resource. Its drawings captured precisely how the Irish monuments and antiquities looked at the end of the eighteenth century, which makes it an unparalleled resource for local historians. The accompanying text is often less important than the invaluable sketches.

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