Sir William Burrell, 2nd Baronet

Sir William Burrell, engraving by Robert Laurie

Sir William Burrell FRS FSA (10 October 1732 – 20 January 1796) was an English antiquarian.


He was the third son of Peter Burrell of Beckenham, Kent, and was born in Leadenhall Street on 10 October 1732. He was educated at St. John's College, Cambridge, whence he graduated as LL.B in 1755, and LL.D in 1760, and in the latter year (3 November) was admitted as an advocate at Doctors' Commons.[1] He practised chiefly in the admiralty court, and there were in the possession of his grandson, Sir Walter Burrell, two volumes of his own manuscript reports of cases decided in that court between the years 1766 and 1774. They were edited by Mr. R. G. Marsden in 1885.

Burrell was made chancellor of Worcester in 1764, and held the same office in the diocese of Rochester, continuing in both posts till his death. He was elected M.P. for Haslemere in 1768, and became a commissioner of excise in 1774, being re-elected for Haslemere in that year. He was also FRS and FSA, and a director of the South Sea Company. By his marriage in 1773 with his cousin Sophia Raymond,[2] a noted poet and dramatist and daughter of Sir Charles Raymond, he acquired considerable wealth.

From an early period in life he was interested in antiquarian pursuits and ultimately concentrated his attention upon the history of the county of Sussex. Nearly every parish of Sussex was personally visited by him and its records inspected and partly copied. Drawings were made for him of churches, houses and sepulchral monuments, and he spared no labour in tracing the descent of the county families. He did not print any portion of his work, but bequeathed the entire collection to the British Museum, where it is now deposited among the Add. MSS.

Burrell was seized with paralysis in August 1787, and, though he partially recovered, found it necessary to resign his public appointments. He retired to Deepdene in Surrey with his wife Sophia, and there died on 20 January 1796. He was buried at West Grinstead, Sussex, where a simple monument to his memory by Flaxman has been placed in the church. Lady Burrell married secondly the clergyman William Clay. She died on the Isle of Wight 20 June 1802.[3]


  1. ^ "Burrel, William (BRL749W)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. ^ Gray, Imogen P. Clues in Fiction: An Essex Couple's Secret Ties. The Alderton Press 2017 ISBN 9781905269211 p.148
  3. ^ accessed 30/1/2017

  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainRobinson, Charles John (1886). "Burrell, William". In Stephen, Leslie (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 07. London: Smith, Elder & Co.