MC:F15 Papers of Francis Drake (Fellow 1746-65)
Francis Drake matriculated from Lincoln 1739. He was elected a Fellow of Magdalen in 1746 and resigned in 1765. He achieved his D.D. 1773. He was appointed vicar of Womersley, Yorkshire, and later, St. Mary, Beverley. In 1775, he became rector of Winestead in Holderness. He died at Doncaster 1795. More detail can be found in Macray, Register, v. 83. His son, also called Francis, was a Fellow of Magdalen College in 1789-1802.
In addition to the journey to Italy described below, it seems that Drake had made an earlier visit to Italy as part of a trip to Europe starting 1742 and finishing 1745, and made in the company of Thomas Townson (Demy 1735), Edward Holdsworth (Demy 1705).
It is not known when the papers were given to the college, or by whom. Macray also does not know. This indicates that the papers came to Magdalen in the nineteenth century.
Catalogued in November 2005.
Two volumes of a journal kept by Drake. Volume I is titled: Mr. Drake’s Tour in Italy. 1750. I. Volume II is titled: Mr. Drake’s Tour in Italy. 1750. II. III. Drake travelled extensively in Italy; the following place names are listed on the first page, with spellings recorded as found: Antibes; Monaco; St. Remo; Savona; Genoa; Lerici; Porto Fino; Sargana; Massa; Pisa; Siena; Viterbo; Rome; Tivoli; Licenza; Palestrina; Frescati; Tusculum; Albano; Gensano; Velletri, Sezza; Piperno; Terracina; Naples; Fondi; Itri; Mola; Gaieta; Capua; Aversa; Herculaneum; Resina; Vesuvius; the islands of Capreae, Procita, and Ischia; Campi Elysii, Baia, Cuma, Solfaterra; Perzzuolo, Livourne; Florence; Fesole; Prato; Pistoia; Lucca; Florence; Bologna; Ferrara; Rovigo; Padua; Fusino; Venice; Vicenza; Verona; Peschiera; Brescia; Milan; Piacenza; Parma; Reggio; Modena; Mantua; Tortona; Alessandria; Asti; Turin; Susa. He started his tour of Italy 6 November 1750. The journal is written in the form of a letter to a travelling companion and was completed while Drake resided in Beverley. Drake expresses opinions concerning the Italian way of life, describing the sights and artefacts he sees as he travels through the country. He also gives information on local customs and history, and describes the religious conventions he comes across. Quotations from classical authors relating to the places he is describing are included in the journal. When he visits art galleries, he includes sketches to show where pictures are hung. Volumes I and II were completed 1755, and Volume III 1756.
The handwriting is not typical of the eighteenth century. Macray (Register, Volume 5, page 83) says that it was probably a nineteenth century copy, written 1825-30. Macray quotes a former Magdalen Librarian, W. A. B. Coolidge, who describes the journal as being a typical ‘Classical Tour’ write-up, but showing ‘considerable evidence that the author had taken the trouble to verify his descriptions, and some anecdotes are new.’
Drake’s diary was fairly widely known; at least two other copies of it exist, which include copies of the same diagrams and quotations, but it has never been published.