Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Manning, Owen

MANNING, OWEN (1721–1801), the historian of Surrey, son of Owen Manning of Orlingbury, Northamptonshire, was born thereon 11 Aug. (O.S.) 1721, and received his education at Queens' College, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. in 1740, M.A. in 1744, and B.D. in 1758. While an under-graduate he nearly succumbed to small-pox, and was at one period of the attack actually laid out for interment. He was elected in 1741 to a fellowship which carried with it the living of St. Botolph, Cambridge. He retained both these preferments until he married in 1755. He was chaplain to Dr. Thomas, bishop of Lincoln, who collated him to the prebend of South Scarle in the church of Lincoln, 5 Aug. 1757, and on 15 March 1760 to that of Milton Ecclesia, in the same church, consisting of the impropriation and advowson of the church of Milton, Oxfordshire (Le Neve, Fasti, ed. Hardy, ii. 188, 207). In 1763 he was presented by Dr. Green, dean of Salisbury, to the vicarage of Godalming, Surrey, where he resided till his death. In 1769 he was presented by Viscount Midleton to the rectory of Pepper Harrow, an adjoining parish. He was elected F.R.S. 10 Dec. 1767, and F.S.A. in 1770. He died at Godalming on 9 Sept. 1801. His parishioners placed a handsome marble tablet to his memory in the church, and some private friends put an inscription on a headstone in the churchyard (Hist. of Surrey, i. 640).

By Catherine, his wife, daughter of Mr. Reade Peacock, a quaker, mercer, of Huntingdon, he had three sons and five daughters, all of whom survived him except George Owen Manning, his eldest son (B.A. of Queens' College, Cambridge, 1778), and one of the daughters, who died young.

From his first settlement in Surrey he employed himself in amassing materials for a history of that county, but he did not regard his collections as sufficiently complete for publication, and a total loss of sight prevented him from having them printed under his own inspection. The manuscripts were eventually entrusted to the care of William Bray [q. v.] the antiquary, who published them, with large additions and a continuation by himself, for the benefit of Manning's widow, under the title of 'The History and Antiquities of the County of Surrey, with a facsimile Copy of Domesday, engraved on thirteen Plates,' three magnificent volumes, London, 1804–9–14, fol. It is one of the best of our county histories. In the British Museum there is a sumptuous copy, 'illustrated by upwards of six thousand drawings, prints, maps, and plans; portraits, architectural and other delineations of the churches, monastic edifices, and old manor-houses, pedigrees, and heraldic insignia of families,' &c., 30 vols. London, 1847, fol. (a collection formed by Richard Percival) . There appeared at London in 1819, fol., 'The Ecclesiastical Topography of the County of Surrey, containing Views of Churches in that County (to illustrate Manning and Bray's History of Surrey), drawn by Hill and engraved by Peak.'

Manning completed the Saxon dictionary of his friend the Rev. Edward Lye, and published it under the title of 'Dictionarium Saxonico et Gothico-Latinum. Accedunt Fragmenta Versionis Ulphilanaa, necnon Opuscula qusedam Anglo-Saxonica. Edidit, nonnullis Vocabulis auxit, plurimis Exemplis illustravit, et Grammaticam utri usque Linguæ praamisit Owen Manning,' 2 vols. London, 1772, fol. He also translated and annotated 'The Will of King Alfred,' from the original in Thomas Astle's library; this was printed in 1788, under the editorship of Sir Herbert Croft [see Astle, Thomas].

[Memoir prefixed to vol. i. of the History of Surrey; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. vii. 248, ix. 445, x. 622; Nichols's Illustr. Lit (index); Lowndes's Bibl. Man. (Bonn), pp. 29, 1420, 1465; Gent. Mag. 1801, pp. 865, 958; Addit. MSS. 5808 f. 226, 5849 ff. 279, 280, 5876 f. 57.]

T. C.