Gale, Roger (DNB00)

GALE, ROGER (1672–1744), antiquary, eldest son of Thomas Gale, dean of York [q. v.], by his wife Barbara, daughter of Thomas Pepys, esq., was born in 1672, and was educated at St. Paul's School, London, where his father was at the time high-master. He proceeded, with a Campden exhibition from the school, to Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1691, obtaining a scholarship there in 1693 and a fellowship in 1697. He graduated B.A. in 1694, and M.A. in 1698. The family estate of Scruton, Yorkshire, came into his possession on his father's death in 1702. Mrs. Alice Rogers bequeathed him the manor of Cottenham, Cambridgeshire, and Gale erected a monument in the church to the memory of his benefactress, but he soon sold the estate and chiefly divided his time between London and Scruton. He represented Northallerton in the parliaments of 1705, 1707, 1708, and 1710. He became a commissioner of stamp duties 20 Dec. 1714, and was reappointed 4 May 1715. From 24 Dec. 1715 he was a commissioner of excise, and was displaced in 1735 by Sir Robert Walpole, who wanted the post for one of his friends. Indignant letters on the subject from Gale to his friend Dr. Stukeley appear in Stukeley's ‘Memoirs,’ i. 281, 321–4.

Gale was an enthusiastic antiquary. From his father he inherited a valuable collection of printed books and manuscripts, to which he made many additions. British archæology was his chief study, but he was also a skilled numismatist. He was liberal in assisting fellow-antiquaries. Browne Willis, a lifelong acquaintance, received from him a manuscript history of Northallerton, intended for, but never included in, Willis's ‘Notitia Parliamentaria.’ The manuscript passed to William Cole, and its substance was given by Gale in his work on Richmond. He helped Francis Drake in his ‘History of York,’ and prepared a discourse on the four Roman ways from his father's notes for Hearne's edition of Leland's ‘Itinerary,’ vol. vi. (Hearne, Coll., Oxford Hist. Soc., iii. 220). Hearne, writing to Rawlinson on 8 Oct. 1712, describes Gale as ‘my good and kind friend’ (ib. p. 457). In August 1738 he presented some manuscripts to Trinity College, Cambridge. Dr. Stukeley was a friend as early as 1707 (Stukeley, Memoirs, i. 33), and from 1717 onwards they were constantly in each other's society. In 1725 they made an antiquarian tour together. In 1739 Gale's sister Elizabeth became Dr. Stukeley's second wife. Sir John Clerk of Pennicuik [q. v.] was another intimate friend and fellow-student. Gale was the first vice-president of the Society of Antiquaries, and was treasurer of the Royal Society. He was a member of the Spalding and Brazennose Societies.

Gale published, with notes of his own, his father's edition of ‘Antonini Iter Britanniarum,’ London, 1709, and in the preface distinguishes between his own and his father's contributions. Gough had a copy of the book, with manuscript annotations by Gale and others. Hearne notes (30 May 1709) that the inscriptions ‘are very faultily printed, and that the book is full of errors’ (Hearne, Coll., Oxf. Hist. Soc., ii. 203). In 1697 Gale translated for anonymous publication, from the French of F. Jobert, ‘The Knowledge of Medals: or Instructions for those who apply themselves to the study of Medals both Antient and Modern.’ A second edition appeared in 1715. In 1722 he issued by subscription, under the auspices of the Society of Antiquaries, ‘Registrum Honoris de Richmond,’ with valuable appendices. Gale contributed several papers to the ‘Philosophical Transactions,’ one, in 1744, being a letter to Peter Collinson [q. v.] on a fossil skeleton of a man found near Bakewell, Derbyshire. A paper on a Roman altar found at Castle Steeds, Cumberland, is in the ‘Gentleman's Magazine,’ 1742, p. 135, and another on a Roman inscription at Chichester is in Horsley's ‘Britannia Romania,’ pp. 332 et seq. The ‘Bibliotheca Topographica Britannica’ for 1781 (ii.) contains, besides many letters to antiquarian friends and papers by his brother Samuel, Gale's accounts of Northallerton, of Scruton, of the Rollerich Stones, Warwickshire, of the Earls of Richmond, and a tour in Scotland. These papers, entitled ‘Reliquiæ Galeanæ,’ were edited by George Allan of Darlington, to whom they had been presented by Gale's grandson. Pennant, William Norris, and other fellows of the Society of Antiquaries took a keen interest in the publication, the expense of which was borne by Nichols (Nichols, Lit. Anecd. vi. 126, &c. viii. passim).

Gale married Henrietta, daughter of Henry Roper, esq., of Cowling, Kent. She died in 1720, and by her Gale had one son, Roger Henry. The antiquary died at Scruton on 25 June 1744, aged 72, and was buried there. He had some foreboding of his death, and a fortnight before selected oak planks to be employed in making his grave. He left directions that a flat stone should be placed above the vault containing the coffin, and should be so covered with earth ‘that no one should know where the grave was’ (Stukeley, ii. 352, 356).

Gale gave many of his manuscripts to Trinity College, Cambridge, and his collection of coins to the Cambridge University Library, together with a catalogue prepared by himself. The chief papers remaining at Scruton appear in the ‘Reliquiæ Galeanæ.’ His library was purchased by Osborn the bookseller and dispersed in 1756 and 1758. A portrait by Vanderbanck, painted in 1722, was at Scruton.

[Nichols's Lit. Anecd. iv. 543–50 (for life), and passim for various references to his intercourse with antiquaries of the time; Hearne's Collections (Oxf. Hist. Soc.), vols. ii. and iii.; Dr. Stukeley's Memoirs (Surtees Soc.); Gough's British Topography; Reliquiæ Galeanæ in Bibl. Top. Brit. vol. ii.]

S. L. L.