Willis, Browne (1682 -1760)
Browne Willis, the antiquary, of Whaddon Hall in Buckinghamshire, was the eldest son of Thomas Willis of Bletchley in Buckinghamshire, and Alice, eldest daughter and heir of Robert Browne of Frampton and Blandford in Dorset. He was educated at the Endowed School of Beachampton in Buckinghamshire, at Westminster School, and Christ Church, Oxford, which he entered as a Gentleman Commoner, matriculating 23 March 1700. He became a Student of the Inner Temple in 1700. Both his parents died in his last year at Westminster School. From December 1705 1708 he sat in Parliament for the town of Buckingham. In 1707 he married Katherine Eliot, daughter of Daniel Eliot of Port Eliot, and seems to have quartered her arms, against all heraldic rules. Of their ten children, only his twin daughters Catherine and Gertrude survived him. He was elected F.S.A. in 1718, and created an M.A. of Oxford University by diploma in 1720, and a D.C.L. in 1749. As an antiquary he believed in seeing for himself the objects he wrote about, and visited all the cathedrals in England except Carlisle. He also pioneered the use of original documents, but was very careless and inaccurate in detail. His parents who died while he was at Westminster, left him well off and his wife brought him a further fortune. Casual about money, he ruined his not inconsiderable estates, and towards the end of his life was often taken for a beggar from his reduced and slovenly way of life. He left his books and pictures to his eldest grandson, who had taken the name Fleming and lived at Stoneham, with the exception of his copy of Rymer's Fœdera, which he left to Trinity College, Oxford. The Library of Robert Fleming of Stoneham Park was sold at auction by Christie & Manson on 20 July 1849. His manuscripts he left to the Bodleian Library, Oxford.