About the Lives & Travels of
Bishop Richard Pococke & Dean Jeremiah Milles
Dr. Richard Pococke (later Bishop of Ossory & Meath) and his cousin Jeremiah Milles (later Dean of Exeter) began their clerical careers in the Diocese of Waterford & Lismore under the patronage of their uncle, Bishop Thomas Milles.
Both were educated at Corpus Christi College Oxford and completed their education in 1733 by undertaking a traditional Grand Tour of France & Italy. Though Pococke was thirty when embarking on this voyage, and was already well established in his uncle’s diocese, Milles was only nineteen and had not yet decided on a church career. It was while he was in Italy that his mind was finally made up, when he received an invitation from his uncle to take up the not inconsiderable position of Treasurer of Lismore Cathedral. This required him and Pococke to hasten back to Ireland in 1734 and thus their first Grand Tour came to an untimely end. The story of this journey is told in the letters reproduced in Volume 1 of this series, sent from Pococke to his mother, Elizabeth Milles in Hampshire, England, and from Milles to his uncle, the bishop, in Waterford.
By the time they set out, in 1736, on their second Grand Tour (this time to the Low Countries, Germany, Austria, Poland, Hungary & the Balkans) Milles was fully established in his uncle’s diocese. However, their travels were once again curtailed when he decided to return to Ireland to tend to the ailing bishop. The story of this journey is told in the letters reproduced in Volume 2 of this series: the entire collection of correspondence from Pococke to his mother together with selected letters from both him and Milles to the bishop.
While Milles returned to his uncle, Pococke took the opportunity to visit places he had always wished to see. Much to his mother's dismay, he obtained a Firman or Ottoman Passport and embarked upon an intrepid voyage to the Eastern Mediterranean where he was to spend four years travelling throughout the Sultan’s dominions. This part of his travels was to become the subject of his pioneering book A Description of the East (1743 & 1745), copies of which are rare and extremely valuable on account of their many beautiful illustrations. The story of this journey is told in the letters reproduced in Volume 3 of this series: a large collection of letters from Pococke to his mother over the period 1737-41 and a smaller collection of correspondence to his uncle.
Both Milles & Pococke become notable antiquaries, Pococke sealing his fame (and notoriety) with his book on the East and Milles becoming President of the Society of Antiquaries of London from 1769 until his death in 1784.
Pococke is also famous for his travels around Ireland, Scotland and England which were published long after his death. However, this is the first time that his Grand Tour letters have been published. It is clear from the various additions and amendments to all the Grand Tour manuscripts, which are housed in the British Library, that he and his cousin had at some time intended to print their travel memoirs, and it is possible that Milles, who out-lived his cousin by more than two decades, actually planned to print those of his cousin as well.