Writer on music. Studied architecture under Edward Hoppins, law and literature with John Scott; began a practice as an attorney in 1742. He was involved in a number of music clubs, including the Academy of Ancient Music (1743) and the Madrigal Society (1748), supplied texts for vocal works by Boyce and John Stanley, and was acquainted with Handel He left his law practice upon receipt of a sizable inheritance in 1759 and built a large collection of music in print and manuscript. His General History of Music, issued in 1776, was the result of years of research; though the initial response to it was positive, it soon became the target of attacks by the associates of Burney, who had published his history a few months before. He was knighted in 1772.