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

MARSHAM, Sir JOHN (1602–1685), writer on chronology, born on 23 Aug. 1602, was second son of Thomas Marsham, alderman of London, by Magdalen, daughter of Richard Springham, merchant, of London. After attending Westminster School he matriculated at St. John's College, Oxford, on 22 Oct. 1619, and graduated B. A. on 17 Feb. 1622-3, M.A. on 5 July 1625 (Foster, Alumni Oxon. 1500-1714, iii. 975). He spent the winter of 1625 in Paris. In 1626 and 1627 he travelled in France, Italy, and Germany, and then returned to London, where he became a member of the Middle Temple (1627). In 1629 he went through Holland and Gelderland to the siege of Bois-le-Duc, and thence by Flushing to Boulogne and Paris in the retinue of Sir Thomas Edmondes [q. v.], ambassador extraordinary at the court of Louis XIII. Marsham was made one of the six clerks in chancery on 15 Feb. 1037-8 (Hardy, Catalogue, p. 109). Upon the breaking out of the civil war he followed the king to Oxford, and was consequently deprived of his place by the parliament. After the surrender of Oxford he returned to London (1646), and having compounded for his real estate for 356l. 6s. 2d. he lived in studious retirement at his seat of Whom Place, in the parish of Cuxton, Kent. In 1660 he was returned M.P. for Rochester, was restored to his place in chancery, and was knighted. On 12 Aug. 1603 he was created a baronet. He was allowed to hand over his clerkship to his son Robert on 20 Oct. 1680 (ib. p. 111). Marsham died at Bushey Hall, Hertfordshire, on 25 May 1685, and was buried in Cuxton Church. By Elizabeth (1612-1689), daughter of Sir William Hammond of St. Albans in Nonington, Kent, he had two sons, John and Robert, and a daughter Elizabeth.

The eldest son, John, who inherited his father's valuable library, commenced a history of England, but did not publish any part of it, and compiled an historical list of all the boroughs in England. His only son, John, the third baronet, died unmarried in 1696. Robert, the younger son of the first baronet, had, by the gift of his father, a cabinet of Greek medals, and was also learned and studious. In July 1681, being then seated at Bushey Hall, Hertfordshire, he was knighted. He served in three parliaments for Maidstone in the reigns of William and Anne. Upon the death of his nephew John in 1696 he became fourth baronet, and dying in 1703 was succeeded by his son Robert (d. 1724), who was created, on 25 June 1716, Lord Romney in Kent. Marsham had a great reputation in his day for his extensive knowledge of history, chronology, and languages. According to Wotton, Marsham was the first who made the Egyptian antiquities intelligible. Hallam also commends his work. He wrote 'Diatriba Chronological 4to, London, 1649, a dissertation in which he examines succinctly the principal difficulties that occur in the chronology of the Old Testament. Most of it was afterwards inserted in his more elaborate 'Chronicus Canon Ægypticus, Ebraicus, Gnecus, et disquisitiones,' fol. London, 1672, a beautifully printed book (other editions, 4to, Leipzig, 1676, and 4to, Franeker, 1699, but both inaccurate). He wrote also the preface to the first volume of Dodsworth and Dugdale's 'Monasticon Anglicanum' (1655), which is entitled 'Προπύλαιον Johannis Marshami;' and left unfinished 'Canonis Chronici liber quint us: sive Imperium Persicum,' 'De Provinciis et Legionibus Romanis,' 'De re nummaria,' and other treatises.

His portrait by R. White is prefixed to his 'Chronicus Canon.' An original painting of him is in the possession of the Earl of Romney, but the artist is unknown.

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), iv. 172-4; Collins's Peerage, 1812, v. 483; Biog. Brit.; Granger's Biog. Hist. of Engl. 2nd edit. iv. 68; Cal. of Proc. of Committee for Compounding, pt. ii. p. 1439.]

G. G.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.195
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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254 ii 32 Marsham, Sir John : after treatises. insert His nephew Thomas Stanley [q. v.] dedicated to him his 'History of Philosophy' (1655).