Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser 25 March 1931
Notes and Queries
JOHN OLDMIXON To decide an argument would you kindly tell me whether John Oldmixon, the historian, was or was not buried at Bridgwater. E. WARD.
JOHN OLDMIXON It is not surprising that Mr. Ward and his friends find a difficulty in deciding whether John Oldmixon was or was not buried in St. Mary’s Churchyard at Bridgwater. Mr. S. G. Jarman, in his History of Bridgwater, says: ‘The principal monument of any consequence in the churchyard is that under which members of the Oldmixon family rest, including the somewhat celebrated John Oldmixon, who was descended from an ancient Somerset family.’ Mr. Edward Hutton in his Highways and Byways in Somerset, says: ‘The scurrilous pamphleteer, John Oldmixon, born in 1673 . . . is buried in the churchyard.’ Wade’s Rambles in Somerset says: ‘In the churchyard is the tomb of John Oldmixon. the ‘Mr. Omicron, the unborn poet,’ of the Tatler, who was so mercilessly satirized by Pope in the ‘Dunciad.’ He set up for an historian and a poet, and his strong Whig partisanship obtained for him the post of collector of customs at the port. Murray’s Handbook on Somerset, Bell’s Pocket Guide to Somerset (published as recently as 1929), and a number of other guide and handbooks all say that John Oldmixon was buried in this churchyard. On the other hand Dr. Powell, in his Ancient Borough of Bridgwater, writes: ‘It has been frequently stated that the body of John Oldmixon, the historian, lies in Bridgwater Churchyard. This appears to be an error . . . it its practically certain that the historian is buried elsewhere.’ There are many others besides Mr. Ward who would be glad if this question could he definitely settled. BRIDGWATER READER.
JOHN OLDMIXON In the following books it is stated explicitly that John Oldmixon is buried in Bridgwater Churchyard: Bell’s Pocket Guide, Hutton’s Highways and Byways, and Wade’s Rambles in Somerset. Going to other sources, which I should imagine are more authoritative, I find a note in Dr. Powell’s Ancient Borough of Bridgwater, to the following effect: ‘It has been frequently stated that the body of John Oldmixon lies in Bridgwater Churchyard. This appears to be an error. There is an Oldmixon vault containing ‘ye body of Elinor Oldmixon, daughter of Jno Bawdon, who departed this life ye 3 of. August, 1689’ also ye body of Hannah ye daughter of John and Elinor Oldmixon, who departed this life ye 13 of November, 1689.’ Jno. Bawdon was buried here in 1643, and Elinor, his wife, in 1645. But it is practically certain that the historian John Oldmixon is buried elsewhere.’ In the Dictionary of National Biography, which gives a fairly full life of the historian, it is stated that he died on 9th July 1742, aged 69, and was buried on thy 12th of that month, at Ealing, near his son and daughter. As Dr. Powell would appear to have had access to every source of information I should imagine his opinion, backed by the express statement of the D.N.B., would outweigh the statements of the guide books mentioned, correct as they are in most particulars. I was shown this Oldmixon grave last September by use courteous verger of the church, who was well informed as to the doubts about whether it was really the grave of the man who won fame, not perhaps, for what he did, but because he was trounced so unmercifully by a greater man than he – Pope. F.F.
MKP 30 May 2020