Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Madox, Thomas

555951Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 35 — Madox, Thomas1893Thompson Cooper

MADOX, THOMAS (1666–1727), legal antiquary, born in 1666, applied himself at an early age to the study of the common law and was admitted of the Middle Temple though he was never called to the bar. He became a sworn clerk in the lord treasurer's remembrance office, and afterwards joint clerk in the augmentation office with Charles Batteley, who died in May 1722, and afterwards with John Batteley [q. v.] (Birch MS, 4223, f. 1). He pursued his historical researches under the patronage of Lord Somers, and made his first appearance as an author by the publication of 'Formulare Anglicanum, or a Collection of Antique Charters and Instruments of divers kinds, taken from the Originals, placed under several Heads, and deduced (in a Series according to the Order of Time) from the Norman Conquest to the End of the Reign of King Henry VIII,' London, 1702, fol. pp, 411, with a preliminary dissertation, replete with erudition, concerning ancient charters. The principal materials for this work were obtained from the archives of the court of augmentations. It is justly described by Bishop William Nicolson [q. v.] as 'of unspeakable service to our students in law and antiquities'(English Hist. Libr. 1776, wp. 168-9). On the motion of Peter Le Neve [q.v,], Madox was elected a member of the Society of Antiquaries in January 1707-8 (Nichols, Lit. Anecd. vi. 147, 148). In 1711 he published at London, in folio, the 'History and Antiquities of the Exchequer of the Kings of England . . . from the Norman Conquest to the End of the Reign of . . . Edward II,' with a dedication to the queen and a long prefatory epistle to Lord Somers, giving an account of his researches among the public records in order to gather the materials for the work. Appended to the history is a copy of the treatise concerning the exchequer ('De Scaccario'), erroneously ascribed to Gervase of Tilbury, and also a Latin dissertation by Madox on the Great Roll of the Exchequer. An English translation of these appendices, made by 'a Gentleman of the Inner Temple,' appeared at London, 1758, 4to. An index to the 'History of the Exchequer' is printed in Madox's 'Baronia Anglica;' and a second edition of the work with the index, in 2 vols., appeared at London, 1769,4to. He was sworn in and admitted to the office of historiographer royal, in succession to Thomas Rymer [q. v.], 12 July 1714 (Addit. MS. 4572, f. 108), the salary attached to the appointment being 200l. a year. The last of his warks published in his lifetime was 'Firma Burgi, or an Historical Essay concerning the Cities, Towns, and Boroughs of England, taken from. Records,' London, 1723, and again 1726, fol., dedicated to George I.

Madox died on 13 Jan. 1726-7, and was buried at Arlesey, Bedfordshire {Historical Register, 1727, Chron. Diary, p. 6). He was succeeded in the office of historiographer royal hy Robert Stephens. By his wife Catharine, daughter of Vigarus Edwards, esq., he had no issue.

His posthumous work, 'Baronia Anglica; an History of Land-honours and Baronies, and of Tenure in capite Verified by Records, was published at London, 1736, fol., and reissued in 1741.

His collection of transcripts, in ninety-four volumes, folio and quarto, was bequeathed by his widow to the British Museum, as an addition to the Sloane Library. They are numbered Additional MSS. 4479-4572, and consist chiefly of extracts from records in the exchequer, the Patent and Close Rolls in the Tower, the Cottonian Library, the archives of Canterbury and Westminster, and the library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, made by himself, and intended as materials for a 'Feudal History of England' from the earliest times (Nichols, Lit. Anecd. ix. 645).

The value of Madox's labours has been acknowledged by many generations of students of English mediaeval history, and his work on the exchequer is frequently quoted by Bishop Stubbs in his 'Constitutional History.'

[Addit. MSS. 4572, art. 9, 32476 f. 54; Ayscough's Cat. of MSS. Pref. p vi and pp. 236, 239, 262, 280, 735; Brydges Restituta, i. 67; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. i 243. vii. 243, iz. 645; Nichols's Illustr. of Lit, iv. 155, 156; Lowndes's Bibl. Man. (Buhn), p. 1448; Nicolson's English Hist. Library.]

T. C.