Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Cullum, John

CULLUM, Sir JOHN (1733–1785), antiquary and divine, eldest son of Sir John Cullum, fifth baronet, of Hawsted and Hardwick, Suffolk, by Susanna, daughter and coheiress of Sir Thomas Gery, knight, was born at Hawsted 21 June 1733, and baptised in the chapel at Hawsted Place on 19 July following. He was educated at King Edward VI's school at Bury St. Edmunds, whence he proceeded to Catharine Hall, Cambridge, and in January 1756 he took his degree as fourth junior optime in the mathematical tripos. Classics, however, were his favourite study, and in 1758 he obtained the member's prize for the best dissertation in Latin prose. He was elected fellow of his college, and was only just defeated in an election for the mastership. In April 1762 he was presented by his father to the rectory of Hawsted, and in December 1774 he was instituted to the vicarage of Great Thurlow in the same county. In the latter year he succeeded his father as sixth baronet. Cullum was an elegant scholar, and from his youth an eager antiquary and student of natural science. His amiable character and great literary and scientific knowledge and attainments made him well known and very popular among the leading men of science and learning of the time. In March 1774 he was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and in March 1775 a fellow of the Royal Society. Cullum's diaries and correspondence, several of which are preserved at Hardwick House, Bury St. Edmunds, and elsewhere, testify to the number of his friends and the value they set on his acquaintance. Among them were the Duchess of Portland, Mrs. Delany, Richard Gough, who commenced his ‘Sepulchral Monuments’ at Cullum's instigation, Dr. Michael Lort, Peter Sandford, Thomas Pennant, Rev. James Granger, Rev. George Ashby, Rev. Michael Tyson, John Lightfoot, Rev. William Cole, and many others whose names are well known in antiquarian circles. Cullum devoted a great part of his life to the preparation of ‘The History and Antiquities of Hawsted and Hardwick in the County of Suffolk;’ this was first published in No. xxiii. (1784) of ‘Bibliotheca Topographica Britannica,’ and subsequently in a separate form. This was the only work of importance that he produced, though he made collections for a ‘History of Suffolk.’ His stores of knowledge he distributed in his letters to his friends, for examples of which see his letters to Gough, printed in Nichols's ‘Lit. Anecd.’ viii. 673, and occasional contributions to learned publications, such as ‘On the Growth of Cedars in England’ (‘Gent. Mag.’ 1779, p. 138); ‘On Yews in Churchyards’ (ib. p. 578); ‘An Account of an extra-ordinary Frost, 23 June 1783’ (‘Philosophical Trans.’ vol. lxxiv. pt. ii. p. 416); ‘An Account of St. Mary's Church at Bury’ (‘Antiquarian Repertory,’ iii. 165); ‘A Description of the Hospital of St. Petronille at Bury’ (ib. iv. 57); ‘A Letter describing Little Saxham Church, Suffolk’ (ib. ii. 237); ‘Some Notes taken at Reculver, 9 Sept. 1782’ (‘Bibl. Top. Brit.’ No. xviii. 88). He was an accomplished botanist, and projected a new ‘Flora Anglicana,’ which, however, he never published. Cullum married at Westham, Sussex, 11 July 1765, Peggy, only daughter of Daniel Bisson of that place, who died in August 1810. Cullum died of consumption 9 Oct. 1785, and was buried at Hawsted. An excellent portrait of him, by Angelica Kauffmann, taken in 1778, is preserved at Hardwick House; it was engraved by Basire as frontispiece to his ‘History of Hawsted;’ it also appears in Nichols's ‘Lit. Anecd.’ viii. 209, and Gage's ‘History of Thingoe Hundred,’ p. 481.

[Nichols's preface to Cullum's Hist. of Hawsted and Hardwick; 2nd edit. of same work, edited by Sir T. G. Cullum; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. vi. 625, viii. 209, 673; Nichols's Lit. Illustr. vii. 408; Gent. Mag. 1797, lxvii. 995, 1765, xxxv. 346; Cole's Athenæ Cantabrigienses; Upcott's English Topography, iii. 1451; family papers, &c., in the possession of G. Milner Gibson-Cullum, F.S.A., at Hardwick House, Bury St. Edmunds.]

L. C.