Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Fulman, William

FULMAN, WILLIAM (1632–1688), antiquary, 'the son of a sufficient carpenter,' was born at Penshurst, Kent, in November 1632. His boyish promise is said to have attracted the notice of Henry Hammond [q. v.], then rector of Penshurst, who took him to Oxford, and procured him a place in Magdalen College choir, in order that he might be under the tuition of William White, master of the school. In 1647 he was elected to a scholarship at Corpus Christi College, and placed with an ' excellent tutor but zealous puritan ' named Zachary Bogan [q. v.] On 22 July 1648 he was ejected by the parliamentary visitors. Along with another scholar of Corpus, one Timothy Parker, Fulman had deliberately 'blotted' and 'torn out' the name of Edmund Stanton, the parliament's president, which the visitors, on 11 July, had entered in the buttery book in place of Robert Newlin, the expelled president (Register of Visitors of Univ. of Oxford, Camd. Soc. pp. 90, 146, 494). Hammond, who was himself expelled, then employed him as his amanuensis. On this account he has been supposed, absurdly enough, to be the author of the 'Whole Duty of Man,' and the 'Gentleman's Calling.' When twenty-one years old he became, by Hammond's introduction, tutor to the heir of the Peto family of Chesterton, Warwickshire, in which capacity he continued until the Restoration. Then, resuming his scholarship at Corpus, he was created M.A. 23 Aug. 1660, and made fellow of that house. For several years he stayed in college, 'a severe student in various sorts of learning.' In 1669 he accepted the college rectory of Meysey Hampton, Gloucestershire. There he was cut off by fever 28 June 1688, and was buried in the churchyard at the east end of the chancel, near his wife Hester, daughter of Thomas Manwaring, son of Roger Manwaring, bishop of St. David's. Wood, who knew him well, describes Fulman as 'a most zealous son of the church of England, and a grand enemy to popery and fanaticism. He was a most excellent theologist, admirably well vers'd in ecclesiastical and profane history and chronology, and had a great insight in English history and antiquities; but being totally averse from making himself known . . . his great learning did in a manner dye with him ' (Athenae Oxon. ed. Bliss, iv. 240). It seems that he was not sufficiently complacent or pushing to make his way in the world.

Fulman was the author of: 1. 'Academiae Oxoniensis Notitia' [anon.], 4to, Oxford, 1665, reissued at London in 1675, with additions and corrections from Wood's 'Historia et Antiquitates Universitatis Oxoniensis,' published the year before, the sheets of which Wood sent to Fulman as they came from the press. Fulman, according to Hearne (Collections, Oxf. Hist. Soc. i. 213), furnished the preface to Wood's 'Historia;' he also gave Wood his notes and corrections for the same work, which are now preserved in the Ashmolean Museum, No. 8540 (Huddesford, Cat. of A. à Wood's MSS. 1761, p. 64), and a copy in the Bodleian Library, Rawlinson MS. C. 866. 2. 'Appendix to the Life of Edmund Stanton, D.D., wherein some Passages are further cleared which were not fully held forth by the former Authors,' s. sh. 8vo, London, 1673, a satirical attack on a very partial biography by the nonconformist Richard Mayow. He collected for publication the so-called 'Works' of Charles I, to which he intended prefixing a life of the king, but, being seized with the small-pox, the bookseller, R. Royston, engaged Richard Perrinchief for the task. It was printed in folio in 1662, when Perrinchief, though he used Fulman's work, assumed the whole credit to himself. He had carefully studied the history of the reformation in England, and at the suggestion of Bishop Fell sent to Burnet some corrections and additions for the first part of the latter's 'History.' He also read vol. ii. of the 'History' before it went to press, and 'with great judgment did correct such errors that he found in it,' assistance warmly acknowledged by Burnet (preface to pt. ii. of the History, ed. Pocock, ii. 2). Burnet, however, offended him by printing only an abstract of his notes in the 'Appendix,' 1681, though he asserts that he did so with Fulman's approval. Wood reiterated Fulman's complaints in his 'Athenae.' Burnet alludes to the ill-bred pair at pages 10-12 of his 'Letter writ to the Lord Bishop of Cov. and Litchfield [Lloyd],' 1693, where he says 'that I might make as much advantage from Mr. Fulman as was possible, I bore with an odd strain of sourness that run through all his letters. Bishop Fell had prepared me for that; and I took everything well at his hands' (cf. his introduction to pt. iii. of the History, ed. Pocock, iii. 21-2). Fulman edited 'Rerum Anglicarum Scriptorum Veterum tom. i.,' fol. Oxford, 1684, with greater accuracy than Thomas Gale, who was responsible for two other volumes of British historians issued in 1687 and 1691. The same year saw completed his edition of 'The Works of Henry Hammond,' 4 vols. fol. London, 1684, the life having been written by Bishop Fell. He also collected large materials for the life of John Hales of Eton (cf. Walker, Sufferings of the Clergy, 1714, pt. ii. p. 94), and for that of Richard Foxe [q. v.], bishop of Winchester, with an account of the distinguished members of Corpus Christi College. These and many other imperfect collections, contained in twenty quarto and two octavo volumes, he bequeathed to his college. Wood was refused access to them, at which he was very indignant; but his editor, Bliss, laid them under constant contribution in his edition of the 'Athenae.' Bliss, in appending a 'general catalogue ' of these collections, praises Fulman for his accuracy and judgment; they are more fully described in H. O. Coxe's ' Catalogue of Oxford MSS.,' pt. ii. There are also a few of his manuscripts in the Rawlinson collection in the Bodleian Library (Coxe, Catalogus Cod. MSS. Bibl. Bodl. pars v. fasc. ii.)

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), vol. i. ‘Life,’ p. cxiii, ‘Vindication,’ p. clxix, iii. 499, 838, 932, iv. 239–44, and passim; Reliquiæ Hearnianæ (2nd edit.), ii. 196–7; Gough's British Topography, ii. 104; Chalmers's Biog. Dict.; Nicolson's Historical Libraries, 1776, pt. ii. p. 127; Cambridge Univ. Lib. MSS. Catal. v. 443; Notes and Queries, 6th ser. x. 395.]

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