Maundrell, Henry (DNB00)


MAUNDRELL, HENRY (1665–1701), oriental traveller, son of Robert Maundrell of Compton Bassett, near Calne, Wiltshire, was baptised there 23 Dec. 1665. His family had been of good position in the county, but his father is described in the Oxford University books as ‘pleb.’ He matriculated 4 April 1682, and entered Exeter College as batler on 27 Sept., graduating B.A. 1685, M.A. 1688, and B.D., by decree, 1697. On 30 June 1686 he was elected Sarum fellow of his college, and became full fellow on 28 June 1697. He was ordained in the English church and probably remained for some time at Oxford, as in November 1689 he was summoned to London by Bishop Trelawny to answer his questions on the recent scandals in his college. These quarrels may have induced him to accept the curacy of Bromley in Kent, which he served from 1689 to 1695. On 20 Dec. 1695 Maundrell was elected, by plurality of votes, by the Company of Levant Merchants as chaplain to their factory at Aleppo, and on 15 Jan. 1695–6 the sum of 20l. was granted to him to buy books for its library. He is said to have left England at once and to have passed through Germany, making a short stay at Frankfort, where he conversed with Job Ludolphus, who suggested to him several points of topography in the Holy Land which required elucidation. His friends at Richmond, where his uncle, Sir Charles Hedges [q. v.], had a house on the Green, were left with regret, but he found at Aleppo an English colony, about forty in number, whom he highly praises, and he performed daily service every morning to a devout and large congregation. His celebrated journey to Jerusalem was begun, with fourteen other residents from the settlement, on 26 Feb. 1696–7. They arrived in the holy city on 25 March, the day before Good Friday in the Latin style, and left on Easter Monday (29 March) for Jordan and Bethlehem, but returned again on 2 April. Their second departure from Jerusalem was on 15 April, and the day of their return to the factory was about 20 May. He died, presumably of fever, at Aleppo early in 1701. The date of the vacancy at the chaplaincy by his death is entered on the company's minutes on 15 May 1701. A tombstone in the Richmond burial-ground to Henry Maundrell, gent., who died in 1847, calls him ‘a descendant of the Rev. Henry Maundrell, formerly curate of this parish,’ the traveller.

His narrative of the expedition, entitled ‘A Journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem at Easter A.D. 1697,’ was printed at Oxford in 1703, with dedications to Sprat, bishop of Rochester, whom he had probably met at Bromley, and to Hedges. It consisted of sixteen pages unpaged, partly of corrections and additions which had come too late for incorporation in the text, then 142 pages of narrative, and lastly, seven pages with two letters from him to Osborn, also a fellow of Exeter College. A second edition came out in 1707, and a third issue, with ‘An Account of the Author's Journey [April 1699] to the Banks of Euphrates at Beer and to Mesopotamia,’ appeared in 1714. Hedges had given the manuscript to the university without any restrictions, and when the third impression was required he was asked for Maundrell's ‘inscriptions and some other improvements’ in his possession, but he declined, as the authorities had ‘not sent him so much as one copy for his former present,’ an omission, says Hearne, not to be imputed to Aldrich, who had supervised the impressions (Collections, ed. Doble, iii. 117). Numerous impressions came out in later years, and it was issued in 1810 in a volume with Bishop Robert Clayton's ‘Journal from Grand Cairo to Mount Sinai,’ and with the remarks of Joseph Pitts on the Mahometans, to which was prefixed Maundrell's print, ‘from an original drawing’ belonging to Richard Dagley. It was also included in the collections of Harris, Pinkerton, and Moore, in the ‘World Displayed,’ vol. xi., and in H. G. Bohn's ‘Early Travels in Palestine,’ edited by Thomas Wright in 1848. A French translation appeared at Utrecht in 1705 and at Paris in 1706. A Dutch translation was inserted in ‘Kanaan en d'omleggende Landen,’ Leeuwarden, 1717, pp. 455–520; a rendering from French into German, by Louis Fr. Vischer, was published at Hamburg in 1737, and it formed part of volume i. of Paulus's ‘Collection,’ issued at Jena in 1792. The journals of his companion, Richard Chiswell (1673–1751) [q. v.], and a copy of Maundrell's ‘Journey,’ with a few manuscript notes, are in British Museum Addit. MSS. 10623–4.

Maundrell is entitled to considerable praise as a judicious and careful traveller, but it is insinuated in the Rawlinson MSS. ii. 81, that he had taken one of his views from the ‘Histoire et Voyage de la Terre Sainte par Père Jaques Goujon’ (Lyon, 1671), and Alexander Drummond in his ‘Travels’ (1754) censures some of his suggestions. He was also the author of ‘A Sermon preach'd before the Company of Levant Merchants at St. Peter Poor, Dec. 15, 1695,’ and an inscription from Syria, sent by him to Bishop Lloyd of Worcester, is illustrated with critical observations in Samuel Jebb's ‘Bibliotheca Literaria’ (1722), pp. 2–6.

[Boase's Exeter Coll. pp. 82–7, 213, 229; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Dunkin's Bromley, p. 27; Pearson's Levant Chaplains, pp. 18, 24–5, 58; Addit. MS. 24107, Brit. Mus. (with many letters from Hedges to Maundrell); Biog. Univ.; information from the Rev. Vincent F. Ransome of Compton Bassett.]

W. P. C.