Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Kilburne, Richard

KILBURNE, RICHARD (1605–1678), Kentish topographer, born in 1605, was the fifth and youngest son of Isack Kilburne of London, by Mary, daughter of Thomas Clarke of Saffron Walden, Essex (Visitation of London, 1633–5, Harl. Soc. ii. 31; Kilbourne, Family of Kilbourn, pedigrees facing p. 8). He was baptised, 6 Oct. 1605, at St. Mary Woolchurch Haw (Registers, ed. Brooke and Hallen, p. 314). He entered Staple Inn, became an eminent solicitor in chancery, and was five times principal of his inn. By 1631 he had entered into possession of Fowlers, an estate in the parish of Hawkhurst, Kent, which he greatly improved. As a J.P. for the county he was deputed for three or four years during the commonwealth to celebrate weddings at Hawkhurst without sacred rites, but married only two couples (Archæologia Cantiana, ix. 263). In 1650 he appears as steward of the manors of Brede and Bodiam, Sussex. In 1657 he published as an epitome of a larger work ‘A Brief Survey of the County of Kent, viz. the names of the parishes in the same; in what bailiwick … and division … every of the said Parishes is …; the day on which any Market or Faire is kept therein; the ancient names of the Parish Churches, &c.’ (oblong quarto); it is exceedingly rare. Two years later Kilburne issued his promised ‘larger survey’ entitled ‘A Topographie, or Survey of the County of Kent, with … historicall, and other matters touching the same, &c.,’ 4 to, London, 1659, to which his portrait by T. Cross is affixed. Although mostly a meagre gazetteer, the book contains much curious information about Kilburne's own parish of Hawkhurst (cf. ib. v. 59). Kilburne was also author of ‘Choice Presidents upon all Acts of Parliament relating to the office and duty of a Justice of Peace … as also a more usefull method of making up Court-Rolls than hath been hitherto known or published in print,’ of which a third edition, ‘very much enlarged,’ was ‘made publick by G. F. of Gray's Inn, Esq.,’ in 1685, 12mo, London. An eighth edition appeared in 1715.

Kilburne died on 15 Nov. 1678, aged 73, and was buried in the north chancel of Hawkhurst Church, where there is a flat stone to his memory (Hasted, Kent, fol. ed. iii. 71). He married, first, Elizabeth, daughter of William Davy of Beckley, Sussex, by whom he had six sons and three daughters, and secondly, in 1656, Sarah, daughter of James Short, and apparently widow of one Birchett, who brought him no issue (cf. Kilburne's will registered in P. C. C. 6, King). A portrait of Kilburne was engraved by Cook (Evans, Cat. of Engraved Portraits, i. 195). A few of Kilburne's letters, preserved among the Frewen MSS. at Brickwall, Northiam, Sussex, have been printed in ‘Sussex Archæological Collections’ (xvi. 302–4).

[J. R. Smith's Bibl. Cantiana, p. 4; Sussex Arch. Coll. ii. 167, ix. 295; Granger's Biog. Hist. of England, 2nd edit. iii. 118; Marvin's Legal Bibliography.]

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