Pointer, John (DNB00)


POINTER, JOHN (1668–1754), antiquary, born at Alkerton, Oxfordshire, on 19 May 1668, claimed to be descended from Sir William Pointer of Whitchurch, Hampshire. His father, also called John, was rector of Alkerton from 1663 till his death in 1710, and his mother was Elizabeth (d. 1709), daughter of John Hobel, a London merchant. He was educated first at Banbury grammar school, and then at Preston school, Northamptonshire, and matriculated from Merton College, Oxford, on 24 Jan. 1686–7. He graduated B.A. 1691, and M.A. 1694.

Pointer took holy orders, being ordained deacon on 24 Dec. 1693, and priest on 23 Sept. 1694, and from 1693 until he resigned the office in 1722 he was chaplain to his college. He was instituted in September 1694 to the rectory of Slapton, Northamptonshire, which he retained for his life. He was lord of the manor of Keresley in Warwickshire, and in December 1722 he came into other property in the parish. He died on 16 Jan. 1754 in the house of his niece, Mrs. Bradborne of Chesterton in Worfield, Shropshire, and was buried in the chancel of Worfield parish church on 19 Jan. A tablet, now in the north aisle, was erected to his memory.

Pointer was author of:

  1. ‘An Account of a Roman pavement lately found at Stunsfield, Oxfordshire,’ 1713; dedicated to Dr. Holland, warden of Merton College. When it was censured as ‘a mean performance,’ Pointer vindicated it in an advertisement containing laudatory references to it from Bishop White Kennett, Dr. Musgrave, and others.
  2. ‘Chronological History of England,’ 1714, 2 vols. Very complete in description of events occurring after 1660. It was intended that the narrative should end with the peace of Utrecht, and it was all printed, but the second volume was not published until after the death of Queen Anne, when the history was brought down to her death, although the index only ran to the earlier date. Six supplements, each containing the incidents of a year, and the last two with the name of ‘Mr. Brockwel’ on the title-page, carried it on to the close of July 1720. For his share in this compilation Pointer received from Lintot, on 24 Dec. 1713, the sum of 10l. 15s. (Nichols, Lit. Anecdotes, viii. 299).
  3. ‘Miscellanea in usum juventutis Academicæ,’ 1718. It contained the characters, chronology, and a catalogue of the classic authors with instructions for reading them, pagan mythology, Latin exercises, and the corrections of palpable mistakes by English historians.
  4. ‘A Rational Account of the Weather,’ 1723; 2nd ed. corrected and much enlarged, 1738. It was pointed out in the ‘Gentleman's Magazine,’ 1748 (pp. 255–6), that this volume supplied the groundwork of ‘The Shepherd of Banbury's Rules to judge of the Weather, by John Claridge, shepherd.’
  5. ‘Britannia Romana, or Roman antiquities in Britain, viz., coins, camps, and public roads,’ 1724.
  6. ‘Britannia Triumphans, or an Historical Account of some of the most signal Naval Victories obtained by the English over the Spaniards,’ 1743.
  7. ‘Oxoniensis Academia, or the Antiquities and Curiosities of the University of Oxford,’ 1749; the manuscript is in Rawlinson MS. B. No. 405, at the Bodleian Library. It contains much curious detail on the history of the several colleges. Two gifts by him to the Bodleian Library are set out on page 143 (cf. Macray, Annals of Bodl. Libr. 2nd edit. pp. 222–3) [see Buckler, Benjamin].

[Some manuscripts by Pointer belonged to Mr. J. E. T. Loveday, who communicated portions from them to Notes and Queries, 6th ser. vii. 326, 366. An extract from an old manuscript history of his family and connections, taken by himself from wills and other documents, was inserted in that periodical (6th ser. x. 522) by Mr. John Hamerton Crump of Malvern Wells, and was subsequently printed in extenso in the Genealogist (iii. 101–7, 232–40). Particulars of his life were given by Pointer to Dr. Richard Rawlinson, and are now at the Bodleian Library, Rawlinson MSS. J. 4to, 1, fol. 274, and J. fol. 4, fol. 224. See also Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Baker's Northamptonshire, ii. 102; Coxe's Catalogus MSS. in Collegiis Oxon.; information from the Rev. E. P. Nicholas of Worfield.]

W. P. C.