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Burn, John Southerden (DNB01)

BURN, JOHN SOUTHERDEN (1799?–1870), antiquary, born in 1798 or 1799, qualified as a solicitor in 1819, when he began to practise at 11 Staples Inn, Holborn. In 1820 he removed to 11 King's Bench Walk, Temple, and in 1822 to 27 King Street, Cheapside. In the following year he entered into a partnership with Samuel Woodgate Durrant, which lasted till 1828, when he removed to 25 Tokenhouse Yard. His professional pursuits frequently affording him the perusal of parish registers, he commenced a collection of miscellaneous particulars concerning them. Finding that no work had appeared dealing exclusively with the subject since the ' Observations on Parochial Registers' of Ralph Bigland [q. v.] in 1764, he published in 1829 his 'Registrum Ecclesiæ Parochialis ' (London, 8vo), a history of parish registers in England, with observations on those in foreign countries A second edition appeared in 1862. In 1831 he published, with biographical notes, the 'Livre des Anglois a Genève' (London, 8vo), the register of the English church in that town from 1554 to 1558, which had been communicated to him by Sir Samuel Egerton Brydges [q. v.] too late to be included in his 'Registrum.'

In 1831 Burn was appointed registrar of marriages at chapels prior to 1754, and in 1833 he published 'The Fleet Registers' (London, 4to), containing a history of Fleet marriages, which reached a third edition in 1836. In the same year he became secretary to the commission for inquiring into non-parochial registers, a post which he retained until 1841. In that year he removed to 1 Copthall Court, Throgmorton Street, and entered into a partnership with Stacey Grimaldi and Henry Edward Stables, which lasted until 1847, when Grimaldi retired. In 1854 a new partner, Charles Tayler Ware, joined the firm, but in the following year, after Stables’s death on 13 Oct., Burn retired from practice.

In 1846 he issued his most important work, ‘The History of the French, Walloon, Dutch, and other Foreign Protestant Refugees settled in England’ (London, 8vo), which he compiled chiefly from the registers of their places of worship. The work is little more than a series of disjointed notes on the subject, but it contains a valuable historical summary of the facts contained in the documents in the possession of the foreign congregations in England.

After retiring from the practice of law. Burn went to reside at The Grove at Henley, and in 1861 he published ‘A History of Henley on Thames’ (London, 4to), a work of much research. In 1865 he produced ‘The High Commission’ (London, 4to), dedicated to Sir Charles George Young [q. v.], which consisted of a collection of notices of the court and its procedure drawn from various sources. Early in 1870 he issued a similar but more elaborate work on ‘The Star Chamber,’ which also contained some additional notes on the court of high commission.

Burn died at The Grove, Henley, on 15 June 1870. Besides the works already mentioned, he edited ‘The Marriage and Registrations Acts (6 and 7 William IV),’ London, 1836, 12mo.

[Burn’s Works; Law Lists; Notes and Queries, 4th ser. v. 611]

E. I. C.