Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Palmer, Charles John

PALMER, CHARLES JOHN (1805–1882), historian of Great Yarmouth, only son of John Danby Palmer, esq., by Anne, daughter of Charles Beart, esq., of Gorleston, Suffolk, was born at Yarmouth on 1 Jan. 1805. The family had been settled in that town since the beginning of the sixteenth century. Charles was educated at a private school at Yarmouth, and in 1822 was articled to Robert Cory, F.S.A., an attorney, under whom he had previously served for two years, in order to qualify himself to become a notary public. He was admitted an attorney in June 1827, and practised at Yarmouth until physical infirmities necessitated his retirement. For many years he resided at No. 4 South Quay, in a house which his father had purchased in 1809, and which is a fine specimen of Elizabethan architecture. He became an alderman of the old corporation, and in August 1835 was elected mayor; but the passing of the Municipal Corporations Act prevented his taking the oath in the following September, and the new corporation elected Barth as chief magistrate. Palmer occupied a seat in the reformed corporation as a representative of the south ward. In 1854 he was elected mayor, and was re-elected in the following year. He also served as deputy-lieutenant for the county of Suffolk. He was the chief promoter of the Victoria Building Company; the erection of the Wellington pier was in great measure due to his energy; and he took a prominent part in the establishment of the assembly and reading rooms. In 1830 he was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He died at his residence, Villa Graham, Great Yarmouth, on 24 Sept. 1882.

He married Amelia Graham, daughter of John Mortlock Lacon, esq., but had no issue by her.

Palmer edited ‘The History of Great Yarmouth, by Henry Manship [q. v.],’ Great Yarmouth, 1854, and wrote ‘The History of Great Yarmouth, designed as a Continuation of Manship's History of that Town,’ Great Yarmouth, 1856, 4to.

His other works are: 1. ‘The History and Illustrations of a House in the Elizabethan Style of Architecture, the property of John Danby Palmer, Esq., and situated in the borough-town of Great Yarmouth,’ privately printed, London, 1838, fol., with numerous drawings and engravings by H. Shaw, F.S.A. A copy in the British Museum is entitled ‘Illustrations of Domestic Architecture in England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth,’ and prefixed to it is a portrait of the author (private plate), engraved by W. Holl. 2. ‘A Booke of the Foundacion and Antiquitye of the Towne of Greate Yermouthe: from the original manuscript written in the time of Queen Elizabeth: with notes and an appendix. Edited by C. J. Palmer,’ Great Yarmouth, 1847, 4to. Dedicated to Dawson Turner. The reputed author of the manuscript is Henry Manship the elder. 3. ‘Remarks on the Monastery of the Dominican Friars at Great Yarmouth,’ Yarmouth, 1852, 8vo, reprinted from vol. iii. of the ‘Norfolk Archæology.’ 4. ‘The Perlustration of Great Yarmouth, with Gorleston and Southtown,’ 3 vols. Great Yarmouth, 1872–4–5, 4to. 5. ‘Memorials of the Family of Hurry, of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, and of New York, United States,’ Norwich, privately printed, 1873, 4to, with plates.

Palmer also edited, with Stephen Tucker, Rouge Croix pursuivant, ‘Palgrave Family Memorials,’ privately printed, Norwich, 1878, 4to, with illustrations. After his death appeared ‘Leaves from the Journal of the late Chas. J. Palmer, F.S.A. Edited, with notes, by Frederick Danby Palmer,’ Great Yarmouth, 1892, 4to, with portrait prefixed.

[Information from Frederick Danby Palmer, esq.; Yarmouth Mercury, 30 Sept. 1882, p. 5; Times, 28 Sept. 1882, p. 9, col. 5; Gent. Mag. 1856, pt. ii. p. 687; Solicitors' Journal, 7 Oct. 1882, p. 731; Law Times, lxxiii. 388; Guardian, 1882, pt. ii. p. 1341; Notes and Queries, 1 Oct. 1892, p. 280; Martin's Privately Printed Books (1854), p. 473.]

T. C.