William Mitford was born in London and died at Exbury, Hampshire. He matriculated at Queen's College, Oxford, in 1761, but did not take a degree. His father had been a barrister, and Mitford himself studied law but never practised it, turning instead to writing on history and language. He knew Jeremy Bentham and served in the Hampshire militia with Gibbon, who encouraged him to write his History of Greece. The first volume of this work appeared in 1784 but it was not finally completed until 1810. Mitford also wrote on the history of the Arabs, and on architecture.
From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.