Printed for the author by W. Jackson, Oxford: 1758.Folio,full tan calf gilt, xix, 326, (2) pp.with 28 engraved plates, large folding map; leaf of errata and directions to the binder.
William Borlase (1696 – 1772), Cornish antiquary, geologist and naturalist, was born at Pendeen in Cornwall, of an ancient family (originating at St Wenn). From 1722 he was Rector of Ludgvan and died there in 1772.
He was educated at Exeter College, Oxford from 1713 and in 1719 he was ordained. In 1722 he was presented to the rectory of Ludgvan, and in 1732 he obtained in addition the vicarage of St Just, his native parish. In the parish of Ludgvan were rich copper works, abounding with mineral and metallic fossils, of which he made a collection, and thus was led to study somewhat minutely the natural history of the county. He married Anne Smith in 1724: she died in 1769. Between 1744 and 1746 Borlase was active against the Methodist preachers in his capacity of magistrate. Various Methodist preachers were seized on warrants issued by him and press-ganged to serve on ships abroad. In John Wesley’s Diary there is an account of how he personally laid hands on Wesley, “to serve his majesty”, but withdrew when he realised that Wesley was a gentleman.
In 1750 he was admitted a fellow of the Royal Society; and, in 1754, he published, at Oxford, his Antiquities of Cornwall (2nd ed., London, 1769). His next publication was Observations on the Ancient and Present State of the Islands of Scilly, and their Importance to the Trade of Great Britain (Oxford, 1756). In 1758 appeared his Natural History of Cornwall. The Natural History includes a chapter on the inhabitants and their native language (about one ninth of the whole).He presented to the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, a variety of fossils and antiquities, which he had described in his works, and received the thanks of the university and the degree of Doctor of Civil Law. Borlase was well acquainted with most of the leading literary men of the time, particularly with Alexander Pope, with whom he kept up a long correspondence, and for whose grotto at Twickenham he furnished the greater part of the fossils and minerals. He also sent collections of mineral and fossil specimens to Dr William Oliver and to a number of natural historians in Europe.