Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Freind, William (1669-1745)

FREIND, WILLIAM (1669–1745), divine, brother to Robert Freind [q. v.] and John Freind [q. v.], was admitted king's scholar at Westminster in 1683, and was thence elected to a Westminster studentship at Christ Church, Oxford, in 1687. He took the degree of B.A. in 1691, and of M.A. in 1694. In 1714 he succeeded Robert Freind as rector of Turvey, Bedfordshire, a living then in the gift of the Earl of Peterborough, and in 1720 he was instituted rector of the southern mediety of Woodford by Thrapston, Northamptonshire. He won a prize of 20,000l. in a lottery on 14 Feb. 1745, but in October 1742 he is described by Mrs. Pilkington as being a king's bench prisoner for debt, who officiated on Sundays in a chapel attached to the Marshalsea. Mrs. Pilkington says that he had ‘once lived in grandeur,’ and was ‘only undone by boundless generosity and hospitality.’ It is known that in 1720 he was associated with Alexander Denton, esq., in giving 200l. to the living of Biddlesden, Buckinghamshire, and with Archdeacon Franks in giving the same sum to the living of Ampthill, Bedfordshire, in order to enable them to obtain grants from Queen Anne's Bounty. His wife, too, who was buried at Burnham, Buckinghamshire, in 1721, is praised in an inscription in the church for her liberality to the poor. He is described in his father's epitaph at Croughton, Northamptonshire (which is proved by its contents to have been written between 1711 and 1728), as ‘lord of the manor of Hitcham, Bucks.’ This manor was certainly the property of John Freind in 1700 and 1728, so that possibly William Freind bought it from John and resold it after squandering his money. From the fact that John Freind by a will made in March 1727 left him 100l. a year, we may conjecture that he was already impecunious at that period. He died on 15 April 1745, whether in prison or not is not quite certain. Mrs. Pilkington wrote ‘death has released him,’ but Bishop Newton says ‘he would have died a prisoner in the Fleet if his old schoolfellow, the Earl of Winchilsea, when he was at the head of the admiralty, had not made him chaplain to a ship of one hundred guns.’ He was still rector of both Turvey and Woodford when he died. A mythical story seems to have grown up to the effect that he won two great lottery prizes, but his daughter Anne on her marriage to Bishop Smalridge's son is called (2 May 1730) ‘Miss Freind, daughter to him who got the great prize.’ He published ‘The Christian Minister absolutely necessary to be in every family, containing Rules and Instructions for the behaviour and conduct of a Christian,’ and about 1736 an advertisement appeared announcing the approaching publication of the first weekly number of ‘The Sacred Historian, or the History of the Old and New Testament methodically digested in a regular narrative, by the Rev. W. Freind, M.A., brother to the late famous Dr. Freind, the physician.’

[Nichols's Lit. Anecd. v. 85, 90–2, 697; List of Queen's Scholars of Westminster; Oxford Cat. of Grad.; W. Harvey's Hist. of the Hundred of Willey, p. 199; Bridges's Northamptonshire, ii. 268; manuscript rate-books in Woodford parish church; Mrs. Pilkington's Memoirs, ii. 229–31; Browne Willis's Hist. of Buckingham, p. 156; Ecton's Thesaurus, 2nd ed., p. xvii; Lipscomb's County of Buckingham, iii. 218; Bedfordshire Poll, 1714–15; Bishop Newton's Works with Life, 4to, p. 125; Rawlinson MS. J., 4to, v. 418; Gent. Mag. xv. 220.]

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