Billingsley, a parish in Bridgnorth district, Salop; on a small affluent of the Severn, 3½ miles WSW of Hampton-Loade r. station, and 5½ S of Bridgnorth. It has a post-office under Bridgnorth. Acres, 1,285. Real property, £1,951. Pop., 144. Houses, 26. The property is all in one estate. Coal and ironstone have been worked. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Hereford. Value, £195. Patron, the Duke of Cleveland. The church s good. Dr. Thomas Hyde, who co-operated in Walton’s Polygott, was a native.
Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A Fullerton & Co. N.d.c. [1870-72].
Billingsley, a parish in the Chelmarsh division of the hundred of Stottesden, a rectory discharged, in the diocese of Hereford, the deanery of Stottesden, and archdeaconry of Salop. 34 houses, 176 inhabitants. 5 ½ miles south of Bridgnorth.
Billingsley is distinguished by the birth of that accomplished oriental scholar, Thomas Hyde. From his father, who held the rectory, he received the rudiments of a learned education, and entered King’s College, Cambridge, at the early age of sixteen. Two years afterwards he went to London, having been recommended to the learned Walton, subsequently bishop of Chester, as a person eminently qualified to assists in preparation for publication the Polyglott Bible, * in which Walton was at that time engaged. Mr. Hyde rendered the most important services to this undertaking. He transcribed the Persian Pentateuch out of the Hebrew characters, in which it was first printed, into the proper Persian characters, adding a Latin translation. He assisted also in correcting different parts of the work in the Arabica, Syriack, and Samaritan languages. In 1658, Mr. Hyde was appointed Hebrew reader at Queen’s College, Oxford; and after the restoration of the King, was made underkeeper of the Bodleian library; an appointment which gave him full scope for prosecuting with advantage his favourite studies. In 1665, he was elected to the office of head keeper, and in the same year published “Versio Latina e Lingua Persica et Commentarii in observation. Ulug Beigi de tabulis longitudinis et latitudinis stellarum fixarum.” Mr. Hyde, about this time, formed an acquaintance with the celebrated Robert Boyle, and communicated to that eminent philosopher many remarkable passages which he had collected in the course of reading, from Oriental waters – on the subject of chemistry, physicks and natural history. In 1666, he was raised to a prebend in the cathedral church of Sarum, and in the following year he printed, at the expense, of Mr. Boyle, who was anxious for the diffusion of Christianity among the Eastern nations, “Quatuor Evangelia et Acta Apostolorum, Lingua Malaica, Characteribus Europaeis.” In 1674, he gave he the world “Catalogus impressorum Librorum Bibliothecae Bodleianae in Academia Oxon.” And in 1678 became an archdeacon of Gloucester. He was admitted to the degree of doctor in divinity, two years afterwards; and, from that time, frequently gave proofs of his assiduous study and extraordinary skill in every species of Oriental literature. In 1697, Dr. Hyde was appointed Regius professor of Hebrew and Canon of Christ Church. Shortly after, he published “The Religion of the ancient Persians.”
The Doctors profound skill in the languages of the East, and his ardent desire to promote the knowledge of them, and of every subject connected with Oriental literature, would have induced him to print more learned works, could he have obtained sufficient encouragement from the publick. The want of this led him to decline running the risk of publishing anything more; and, for the same reason, the works he left behind him lay neglected, till it was too late to recover them; though the loss has since been deeply regretted by the learned, and those who knew how to estimate their value. On account of his advanced age and increasing infirmities, Dr. Hyde resigned the office of head helper of the Bodleian library, in 1701, having occupied during the reigns of Charles the second, James the second, and William the third, the post of interpreter and secretary in the Oriental languages, Anthe course of which employment he had made himself intimately acquainted with the policy, ceremonies, and customs of the Oriental nations. This great man, who confers so distinguished honour on his native county, died at his apartments in Christ Church, in the sixty-seventh year of his age. The following is the character given of him by Granger. “Dr. Thomas Hyde is a great character, but is much less known than he deserves to be, because the studies in which he was occupied are but little cultivated. Those that are acquainted with the Orbital languages are astonished at the progress which was made in them by one man, though aided by genius, supported and strengthened by incessant industry. There never was an Englishman, in his situation in life, who made so great a progress in the Chinese. Bochart, Pococke, and Hyde, are allowed to be the greatest Orientalists that any age or nation has produced. I am informed that Dr. Hyde’s mind had been so much engrossed by his beloved studies that he was but ill qualified to appear to advantage in conversation.” Dr. Gregory Sharpe, musher of the Temple, Collected and republished some of his papers which had been formerly printed. These made their appearance in two volumes quarto, under the title of “Syntagma Dissertationum et Opuscula.” Anthony Wood has preserved a catalogue of MSS. Which Dr. Hyde had either completed or prepared for the press. Dr. Hyde was born in 1636, and Died February 18th, 1703.
In this Polyglott the Vulgate is printed according to the revised and corrected edition of Clement VIII. It likewise contains an interlineary Latin version of the Hebrew text, and the Septuagint is the Greek text of the edition of Rome, to which are added the various readings of another very ancient Greek copy, called the Alexandrian, because brought from Alexandria. The Latin version of the Greek of the Septuagint is that published by Flaminius Nobilius, by the authority of Pope Sixtus V. In this Polyglott are also found some parts of the Bible in the Ethiopick and Persian, which are not found in any of the rest. It is somewhat curious in the history of literature, that in the first preface to this work, Dr. Walton acknowledged his obligations to the protector for his patronage; but that after the restoration, several attentions were made in this preface, and the paragraph in which he acknowledges his obligations to the protector is suppressed, and another, transferring his respect to Charles, is introduced in its room. Vid. Hollis Vol. I. p. 125. these alterations have occasioned a distinction among those who are curious in the editions of the books, between republican, and royal or loyal copies of the Polyglott.
Source: The Shropshire Gazetteer, with an Appendix, including a Survey of the County and Valuable Miscellaneous Information, with Plates. Printed and Published by T. Gregory, Wem, 1824