Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Drope, Francis

DROPE, FRANCIS (1629?–1671), arboriculturist, a younger son of the Rev. Thomas Drope, B.D., vicar of Cumnor, Berkshire, and rector of Ardley, near Bicester, Oxfordshire, was born at Cumnor vicarage about 1629, became a demy of Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1645, three years after his brother John, and graduated as B.A. in 1647. In 1648 he was ejected, having probably, like his brother, borne arms for the king, and he then became an assistant-master in a private school, kept by one William Fuller, at Twickenham. At the Restoration he proceeded M.A. (23 Aug. 1660), and in 1662 was made fellow of his college. He subsequently graduated as B.D. (12 Dec. 1667), and was made a prebendary of Lincoln (17 Feb. 1669–1670). He died 26 Sept. 1671, and was buried in the chancel of Cumnor Church. His one work, ‘A Short and Sure Guide in the Practice of Raising and Ordering of Fruit-trees,’ is generally described as posthumous, being published at Oxford, in 8vo, in 1672. The work is eulogised in the ‘Philosophical Transactions,’ vol. vii., No. 86, p. 5049, as written from the author's own experience.

Drope's elder brother, John (1626–1670), was demy of Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1642; proceeded B.A. 12 July 1645; ‘bore arms for the king’ in the garrison of Oxford; was made fellow of his college in 1647, being ejected by the parliamentary visitors the next year; became master at John Fetiplace's school at Dorchester about 1654; proceeded M.A. at the Restoration (23 Aug. 1660); was restored to his fellowship; studied physic, which he practised at Borough, Lincolnshire, and died at Borough in October 1670. He was a poet on a small scale, and published ‘An Hymenæan Essay’ on Charles II's marriage in 1662, a poem on the Oxford Physic Garden, 1664, and other poems which Wood read in manuscript.

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, iii. 941; Fasti, ii. 103, 228, 299; Felton's Portraits of Writers on Gardening, p. 31.]

G. S. B.