Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Homer, Henry (1719-1791)

HOMER, HENRY, the elder (1719–1791), miscellaneous writer, son of Edward Homer, gentleman, of Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire, was born in 1719, and educated at Oxford, where he matriculated on 26 June 1736 as a member of University College. He became a demy of Magdalen College in 1737, and graduated B.A. in 1740, M.A. in 1743. He was appointed rector of Birdingbury, Warwickshire, and vicar of Willoughby in 1764; and chaplain to Edward, lord Leigh, lord high steward of the university of Oxford. From 1774 to 1779 he also held the vicarage of Anstey, Warwickshire. He died on 24 July 1791, and was buried at Birdingbury. Of his seventeen children Arthur (see below), Henry, and Philip Bracebridge are separately noticed.

His works are: 1. ‘An Essay on the Nature and Method of ascertaining the specific Shares of Proprietors upon the Inclosure of Common Fields; with Observations on the Inconveniences of Open Fields, and upon the objections to this Inclosure, particularly as far as they relate to the Public and the Poor,’ Oxford, 1766, 8vo. 2. ‘An Enquiry into the means of Preserving and Improving the Publick Roads of this Kingdom. With Observations on the probable consequences of the present plan,’ Oxford, 1767, 8vo. Macadam, in his ‘Remarks on the present System of Roadmaking,’ pp. 11 and 12, quotes this work with approval. Homer's opinions on highways, the enclosure of waste lands, and the value of inland navigation were far in advance of his time.

Arthur Homer (1758–1806), the fourth son of Henry Homer the elder, was educated at Rugby and Magdalen College, Oxford. He graduated B.A. 1778, proceeded M.A. 1781, B.D. 1790, and D.D. 1797; from 1782 to 1802 he was a probationary fellow of Magdalen. In 1802 the college presented him to the rectory of Standlake, Oxfordshire, where he died 2 July 1806. There is a monument to his memory, with an inscription supposed to have been written by Dr. Parr, on the south wall of the chancel of Standlake Church. He published one volume of his ‘Bibliographia Americana, or a Chronological Catalogue of the most Curious and Interesting Books, Pamphlets, State Papers, &c., upon the subjects of North and South America,’ London, 1789, 4to.

[Colvile's Warwickshire Worthies, p. 430; Foster's Alumni Oxon. ii. 683; Bloxam's Reg. of Magdalen College, vols. i. vi. and vii.; Gent. Mag. 1791 pt. ii. p. 685, 1806 pt. ii. p. 1209; MacCulloch's Lit. of Political Economy, p. 199; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. iii. 660; Cat. of Oxf. Graduates, 1851, p. 332.]

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