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Tate, James (DNB00)

TATE, JAMES (1771–1843), schoolmaster and author, born at Richmond in Yorkshire on 11 June 1771, was only son of James Tate, a native of Berwick, by his wife, Mary Compton, of Swaledale in Yorkshire. James was educated at Richmond school from 1780 to 1789, and on 2 Nov. 1789 was admitted sizar of Sidney-Sussex College, Cambridge; he matriculated 11 Nov. 1790, graduated B.A. 1794 and M.A. 1797. He was elected a fellow of his college in March 1795, and was engaged in tutorial work until his appointment as master of Richmond school, 11 Feb. 1796. The attainment of that position is said to have been his main ambition when a child. On 8 Oct. 1808 he was also appointed rector of Marske in Yorkshire. He remained at Richmond till January 1833, and during this period proved a remarkably successful schoolmaster. He was an admirable classical scholar. Surtees and Tate on the occasion of their first meeting (Taylor, Memoir of Surtees, 1852, p. 128) spent the night in quoting the ‘Iliad,’ and Sydney Smith, who by accident travelled in the same coach as the master of Richmond, declared to a friend that he had fallen in with ‘a man dripping with Greek.’

The most important of Tate's works, which were mainly of a scholastic order, was ‘Horatius Restitutus,’ published in 1832, an attempt to arrange the books of Horace in chronological order. The work is preceded by a life of Horace, and the chronological method adopted is based on Bentley's theory. It was well received (Quart. Rev. lxii. 287; Edinb. Rev. October 1850), and went through three editions.

In January 1833 Tate was appointed by Lord Grey canon of St. Paul's, and by virtue of his canonry became incumbent of the parish church of Edmonton. He died 2 Sept. 1843, and was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral. He married, 29 Sept. 1796, Margaret, daughter of Fielding Wallis, from the north of Ireland; by her he had a son James, who succeeded him as master of Richmond.

Half of the present grammar school at Richmond was built as a Tate memorial, and opened in 1850. There is a bust of Tate in plaster in the scientific library at Richmond, and his portrait by Pickersgill, which was engraved by Cousins, is in the possession of the Rev. James Tate, rector of Bletsoe, Bedford.

Besides the work mentioned he wrote or edited:

  1. Andrew Dalzel's ‘Ἀνάλεκτα Ἑλληνικὰ μείςονα sive Collectanea Græca Majora,’ in conjunction with George Dunbar, 1805–20.
  2. James Moor's ‘Elementa Linguæ Græcæ,’ 1824; another edit., with further additions, appeared in 1844.
  3. ‘An Introduction to the Principal Greek Tragic and Comic Metres,’ 8vo, 1827; the 4th edit., appearing in 1834, contained a treatise on the Sapphic stanza and the elegiac distich.
  4. ‘Tracts on the Cases, Prepositions, and Syntax of the Greek Language,’ in conjunction with James Moor, 1830.
  5. ‘Richmond Rules to form the Ovidian Distich, with some Hints on the Transition to the Virgilian Hexameter,’ 1835.
  6. ‘A Continuous History of St. Paul, with Paley's Horæ Paulinæ subjoined,’ 1840.

[Times, 8 Sept. 1843; Hailstone's Yorkshire Worthies, p. clxxxviii; Nichols's Illustrations of Literature, viii. 617; information afforded by the Rev. James Tate, rector of Bletsoe, Bedford, and the Rev. G. A. Weekes of Sidney-Sussex College.]

W. C.-r.