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ALEXANDER MEYRICK BROADLEY

Barrister, Historian. Collector, Author, Cartoonist and Freemason
19th July 1847 to 16th April 1916.

Alexander Meyrick Broadley was born on 19th July 1847 elder son of the Rev. Alexander Broadley and his wife Frances Jane, daughter of Thomas Meyrick of Pembroke. The Rev. Alexander was Vicar of Bradpole near Bridport in Dorset where his father, Robert was Rector.

A.M.B. was educated at Warminster, Marlborough and in Switzerland. He went on to become a lawyer and take the examination to enter the Indian Civil Service. He went to India in 1869 and became a Magistrate.

He went to the Mediterranean and settled in Tunis for a number of years, working as a lawyer and as a Times correspondent. During this time he represented the Bay of
Tunis in his disputes with the French government and became an advocate of the French Bar. Another well known case was the defence of Arabi Pasha in Egypt. At this time he became influential in Freemasonry in the Mediterranean an interest which continued throughout his life.

Later he lived in Belgium for a time, editing and English language newspaper.

After his father's death in I893 A.M.B. returned to Bradpole and built a large house, The Knapp, opposite the church and lived there for the rest of his life with his mother. It was here that he did a great deal of writing and collecting. His best known work was the "Grangerizing" of books, particularly concerning the Napoleonic era. The greatest perhaps was the work on Napoleon Bonaparte by Holland hose which ran to 29 volumes and contained a piece of writing from almost everyone who had an influence on Bonaparte's life. It was bought at auction, after Broadley's death in 1916 for £1400 by Lord Curzon who left it to Oxford University. A number of Broadley's grangerized books are in the British Library as well as the City of Westminster Archive Centre, Freemasons Hall and in libraries in Dorset.

In the early years of the 20th century Broadley was a well known figure in the Bridport area, continuing his Freemasonry activities and writing and taking part in historical pageants. It is said that the First World War had a great effect on him, in particular the overrunning of Belgium, and he died in 1916. He left the bulk of his estate, after bequests to his servants, to his nephew who was in the Army at the time.

The obituaries report that he never married.