Seyer, Samuel (DNB00)


SEYER, SAMUEL (1757–1831), historian of Bristol, born in 1757, was the son of Samuel Seyer (1719?–1776), then master of Bristol grammar school. The elder Seyer, son of a gentleman of Bristol of the same names, was educated at Pembroke College, Oxford, whence he graduated B.A. in 1739 and M.A. in 1742. In 1764 he became rector of St. Michael's, Bristol. He published ‘Essays in Scripture Truths’ (1771) and other works.

The younger Seyer matriculated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, on 25 Nov. 1772, and graduated B.A. in 1776 and M.A. in 1780. About 1790 he succeeded John Jones at the Royal Fort school, where for ten years Andrew Crosse [q. v.], the electrician, was among his scholars; Crosse deemed his master narrow-minded and unjust. Other pupils were John Kenyon [q. v.] and William John Broderip [q. v.] In 1813 he became perpetual curate of Horfield, and in 1824 rector of Filton, Gloucestershire.

Following in the footsteps of William Barrett (d. 1789) [q. v.], author of the ‘History and Antiquities of Bristol,’ with whom he was well acquainted, Seyer published in 1812 ‘Charters and Letters Patent granted to the Town and City of Bristol’ (4to). The Latin is printed under an English translation. Seyer was refused access to the originals in the Bristol council-house, and founded his text on a late manuscript in the Bodleian (Rawlinson 247). He used a translation published in 1736 which was not of much value. In 1821–3 appeared Seyer's ‘Memoirs, Historical and Topographical, of Bristol and its Neighbourhood,’ with plates, by Edward Blore [q. v.] and others (2 vols. 4to). The work, which brings the narrative down to 1760, incorporated the archives of the Berkeley family and the Bristol calendars. Painstaking and learned, it remains a valuable specimen of local history. Seyer's collections for a second part, on the topography of Bristol, are preserved in manuscript in the Museum Library, Bristol (cf. Hunt, Bristol, 1887, p. 189; Ricart, Kalendar, Camden Soc., vol. ii.).

Seyer died at Bristol on 25 Aug. 1831. A portrait was engraved by Walker from a painting by Branwhite. Another was painted and engraved by Pether.

Besides his archæological works, Seyer published: 1. ‘The Principles of Christianity,’ 1796, 1806, 12mo. 2. ‘The Syntax of Latin Verbs,’ 1798, 8vo. 3. ‘Observations on the Causes of Clerical Non-residence, and on the Act of Parliament lately passed for its Prevention,’ 1808, 8vo. 4. ‘Latium Redivivum: a Treatise on the Modern Use of the Latin Language and the Prevalence of the French; to which is added a Specimen, accommodated to Modern Use,’ 1808, 8vo. He also translated into English verse the Latin poem of Vida on Chess.

[Annual Register, 1831 (App. to Chron. p. 254); Memorials of Andrew Crosse, ch. i.; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Prefaces to Seyer's Charters and Memorials; Taylor's Book about Bristol, p. 371; Evans's Cat. Engr. Portraits, Nos. 21, 160, and 9404; notes kindly supplied by William George, esq., of Bristol.]

G. Le G. N.