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Benjamin Stillingfleet

(1702—1771) botanist and writer


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Benjamin Stillingfleet was born in Norfolk and died in London on 15 December 1771. He was the grandson of Edward Stillingfleet, Bishop of Worcester. His father, also Edward, was a physician, sometime Fellow of St John's College, Cambridge, and Gresham Professor of Medicine. He married, resigned his academ-ic positions and, after practising medicine unsuccessfully for a short period, took holy orders and became rector of Wood Norton and Swanton, Norfolk. He died in 1708. Benjamin was educated at Norwich School and at Trinity College, Cambridge, which he entered as a sub-sizar in 1720. In 1723 he was made a Scholar, took his BA and immediately left the University. In 1726, he tried for a Fellowship at Trinity, but failing this he settled at Felbrig in Norfolk as tutor and companion to the son of his cousin and benefactor, William Windham, who also granted him a life pension of £100. Between 1737 and 1743 he travelled on the Continent with his pupil. On his return to England he lived mainly in London. He never married, and, although he was involved in a long courtship that ended when the object of his affections prudently decided to marry another, his poetry suggests that he preferred male attachments. He ‘was of no profession, passed much of his time in studious retirement, and for the principal part of his life held little personal intercourse with the world beyond his particular friends and his literary circle’ (Literary Life, p. 1).

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From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.


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