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Bentley, Richard, 1662-1742 (classical scholar)



  • Existence: 1662 - 1742


Richard Bentley (1662-1742), classical scholar, was born on 27 January 1662, in Oulton, Yorkshire, the son of Thomas Bentley, by his second wife, Sarah Willie. He attended Wakefield Grammar School, before entering St John's College, Cambridge, in 1676 (B.A., 1680; M.A., 1683). He was made headmaster of Spalding School, Lincolnshire, in 1682, but resigned at the end of the year to become the domestic tutor of James, son of Dr Edward Stillingfleet, dean of St Paul's. He took deacon's orders in 1690, and served as chaplain to the Bishop of Worcester until 1699. He corresponded with Isaac Newton, and expounded Newton's ideas in his Boyle Lectures of 1692. He was Keeper of the Royal Library, 1694-1742, and Master of Trinity College 1700-1742, and was made Fellow of the Royal Society in 1695. Bentley died on 14 July 1742 at Cambridge. John Evelyn (1620-1706) was born on 31 October 1620 at Wotton, Surrey, the son of Richard Evelyn and Eleanor, daughter of John Standsfield. He was admitted a student at Middle Temple in 1637, and that year became a fellow of Balliol College, Oxford. He was a royalist, and travelled through France and Italy between 1643 and 1647 in order to avoid the disturbances in England. During this time he engaged in a lengthy period of study, developing a great knowledge of classical literature and science. On returning to England he settled at Sayes Court, Deptford, where he pursued gardening. After the Restoration he was a founding member of the Royal Society. In 1692 he appointed Richard Bentley to the Boyle lectureship, and later corresponded with him about Evelyn's Numismata: A discourse of medals (1697). He died on 27 February 1706.

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:


Letter from Roger Cotes to Richard Bentley, 10 March 1712-15 March 1712

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.3983.36
Scope and Contents From the Fonds:

The Portsmouth Collection is the principal collection of Isaac Newton's scientific and mathematical papers, including early drafts of the Principia, and his correspondence with Oldenburg, Halley Flamsteed and many of the other most prominent scientists of his day.

Dates: 10 March 1712-15 March 1712
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: Due to the fragile nature of the material access to the collection is restricted. It is available to view in the Cambridge University Digital Library at with the exception of MS.Add.4007, which is open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Richard Bentley: Letter to John Evelyn

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.5952
Scope and Contents

Includes a draft of a letter from Evelyn to Bentley, 29 October 1697.

Dates: 23 Oct. 1697-29 Oct. 1697
Conditions Governing Access: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (

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