7 Dec. 1677, but left the university without taking a degree. He was called to the bar from the Middle Temple in 1688. Lawton became acquainted with Penn at a chance meeting on a coach in the summer of 1686, and the two remained friends for life. He acted in 1700 as Penn's agent in London. He did not practise at the bar, but was intimate with many notable people of the time, including Somers, John Trenchard, whose pardon he procured by Penn's agency in 1686, and Lord-chief-justice Treby. For a long time he lived near Windsor, but at the time of his death he was described as 'of Northampton.' He died on 18 June 1721; he was married, and left a son Henry. Lawton designed to publish a volume of memoirs, and was said to have left a large mass of papers relating to the affairs of the time. One such document, dealing with the life of Penn for a short period after Lawton knew him, was printed in 1834, in vol. iii. of the 'Memoirs of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.' He also wrote various pamphlets, including, 'A Letter concerning Civil Comprehension,' 1705; a second 'Letter ' on the same subject 1706; a letter formerly sent to Dr. Tillotson, and 'The Jacobite Principles Vindicated.' All of these were republished in the 'Somers Tracts.' Two letters addressed by Lawton to Bishop Kennett are in Lansdowne MS. 990, ff. 15, 83.
[Gardiner's Reg. of Wadham, p. 319; Notes and Queries, 1st ser. v. 596, 3rd ser. ix. 511; Hepworth Dixon's Life of Penn.]
LAWTON, GEORGE (1779–1869), antiquary, was born at York on 6 May 1779. He was educated in his native city, was articled to a proctor there, and was admitted a proctor on 3 Nov. 1808. He was also a solicitor, notary-public, and was appointed registrar of the archdeaconry of the East Riding of Yorkshire by Archdeacon Wilberforce. He served in the ecclesiastical courts under five archbishops of York. He ceased practice as a solicitor in 1863, and died a widower at his residence, Nunthorpe, on 2 Dec. 1869, leaving issue. Lawton wrote: 1. 'The Marriage Act' (4 Geo. IV, c. 76), London, 1823, 8vo. 2. 'A Brief Treatise of Bona Notabilia,' London, 1826, 8vo. 8. 'Collectio Rerum Ecclesiasticarum,' London, 2 vols. 1840, 8vo; 2nd edit. 1842. 4. 'The Religious Houses of Yorkshire.' York, 1863, 8vo. Lawton*8 books were suggested by his work as a proctor; the 'Collectio Rerum Ecclesiasticarum' is still an authority.
[Yorkshire Gazette, 11 Dec. 1869; information kindly supplied by William Lawton, esq.]
LAX, WILLIAM (1761–1836), astronomer, was born in 1761, graduated in 1786 from Trinity College, Cambridge, as senior wrangler and first Smith's prizeman, was elected a fellow of his college, and proceeded M.A. in 1788. He succeeded Dr. Smith in 1795 as Lowndes's professor of astronomy and geometry in the university of Cambridge, and after some years spent in tuition was presented by Trinity College to the livings of Marsworth, Buckinghamshire, and of St. Ippolyts in Hertfordshire, where he built a small observatory. He died at the vicarage of St. Ippolvts on 29 Oct. 1836, aged 75. He published in 1807 'Remarks on a supposed Error in the Elements of Euclid;' and his 'Tables to be used with the Nautical Almanac ' were printed by the board of longitude in 1821, and in a new edition in 1834. To the Royal Society, of which he was elected a fellow in 1796, he communicated, in 1799 and 1808 respectively, papers on 'A Method of finding the Latitude of 4 Place by means of two Altitudes of the Sun,' and 'On a Method of examining the Divisions of Astro- mical Instruments' (Phil. Trans, lxxxix. 74, xcix. 232).
[Ann. Reg. 1836, p. 218; Proc. of the Royal Society, iii. 438; Le Neve's Fasti Ecclesiæ Anglicanæ; Watt's Bibl. Brit.]
LAXTON, Sir WILLIAM (d. 1556), lord mayor of London, son of John Laxton, born at Oundle, Northamptonshire, was 'bred a grocer in London' (Fuller, Worthies, 'Northamptonshire'). He rapidly formed a prosperous connection, and became a prominent member of the Grocers' Company. He was elected alderman of Limehouse ward, and sheriff in 1540, when he presided with his colleague, Martin Bowes, at Robert Barnes's [q. v.] execution. In 1544 he became lord mayor, and during his mayoralty a heavy benevolence was exacted by Henry VIII from the city. An alderman who refused to con- tribute was forced to enlist in the army and sent to serve in Scotland. Laxton died on 29 July 1556, at his house in Aldermary parish, and was buried in St. Mary's Church there on 9 Aug. Machyn's 'Diary' (p. 111, Camden Soc.) describes the sumptuous funeral. At the mass next day Dr. John Harpsfield [q. v.] archdeacon of London, preached, and a great dinner was given afterwards, probably by the Company of Grocers. His wife, Joan, daughter of William Kyrby, and widow of Harry Lodlington (Harl. MS. 897, f. 24), was alive in 1557, when she was present at the funeral of Lady White, wife of the founder of St. John's, Cambridge, but the rhyming epitaph on Laxton's monument, quoted by Stow