Burgess, Thomas

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Epithet: ironmonger, of Nottingham

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000001030.0x000008

Epithet: RC Bishop of Clifton

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000001030.0x00000a

Thomas Burgess was born at Odiham, Hampshire, on November 18th 1756. In 1763, he was sent to the local Grammar School, and in 1768 began attending Winchester School. He went on to study at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Whilst a student, he re-edited Burton's 'Pentalogia'. In 1778 he received his BA, and was awarded his MA in 1782. Burgess then became a tutor at his college, and was made a fellow in 1783.

Burgess was ordained a deacon and priest in 1784. The following year he was appointed Examining Chaplain to Bishop Barrington of Salisbury. He remained at Oxford during this period, and published works on various points of scholarship. His attention was gradually drawn more and more to theology, and he went on to learn Hebrew. He also assisted with the promotion of Sunday Schools in the diocese of Salisbury, and wrote a pamphlet advocating the abolition of slavery in 1788.

In 1791, Bishop Barrington was transferred to Durham. Burgess left Oxford and followed him northwards. He was appointed prebendary of Durham Cathedral, and in 1795 was given the living of Wiston, County Durham.

In 1803, Burgess was made Bishop of St. David's, and he immediately recognised the need for improved educational standards in his impoverished diocese. He established four grammar schools, and insisted pupils studied there for seven years prior to ordination. He also founded the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge and Church Union in the Diocese of St. David's. As a result, he started collecting subscriptions for the establishment of a college to educate the diocesan clergy. By 1820, he had received over eleven thousand pounds. Grants from the king and Oxford and Cambridge Universities were added to this, and the foundation stone of the college was laid in 1822. Five years later, St. David's College, Lampeter received its first students. Although Burgess had by this time left the diocese for a less strenuous position as Bishop of Salisbury, he remained dedicated to the institution for the remainder of his life.

In 1804, Burgess helped found the Bible Society. In 1823, he drew up a plan for the establishment of the Royal Society of Literature, and later became its first president. Burgess published a great number of tracts during his lifetime on a variety of subjects, including a series on Unitarianism (1804-20). He also dedicated himself to disproving the theory that Milton was the author of the treatise 'De Doctrina Christiana'. In total, he published over 100 works. By the time he was transferred to the Bishopric of Salisbury, his health had begun to fail him. He died on February 19th, 1837.

From the guide to the Bishop Thomas Burgess Papers, 1792-[ca. 1828], (University of Wales, Trinity St David)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Sidney Bartlett correspondence, 1824-1855 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Century Company records, 1870-1924 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Houghton Library printed book provenance file, A-D. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Papers, 1796-1845 Harvard Law School Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn (VI. ff. 191). 25 Oct. 1740-25 June, 1741.includes:f. 2 John Spicer: Suit v. Edwards: 1740. f. 2 Bank of England: Notes of suits: 1728-1751. f. 2 Mary Bertie, 2nd wife of Montagu, 2nd Earl of Abingdon: Suits v. Edwards, etc.: 1740. f.2 Thomas Osbo... British Library
referencedIn (VII. ff. 189). 27 June, 1741-10 Mar. 1742.includes:f. 3 b John Fortescue: Suit v. Holwell: 1741. f. 4 b Richard Shilton: Suit v. Elsdale: 1741. f. 7 Thomas Plumptre: Suit v. Humble: 1741. f. 7 Sir William Humble, 5th Baronet: Suit v. Plumptre: 17... British Library
referencedIn Wills of individuals, before A.D. 1700: T. Burgess, 1677, with probate, 1678: 1677, 1678.Thomas Burgess, ironmonger, of Nottingham: Will, 1677, with probate 1678: 1677, 1678. British Library
creatorOf Bishop Thomas Burgess Papers, 1792-[ca. 1828] University of Wales, Trinity St David
referencedIn Papers, 1785-1828 (inclusive), 1800-1828 (bulk). Houghton Library.
referencedIn ABERDEEN PAPERS. Vol. CCXVIII (ff. 102). Correspondence and papers too large for inclusion in the preceding twenty-seven volumes (Add MS 43229-43255); 1 June 1803-9 Oct. 1854-Extra large folio.includes:f. 1 Callinicus V, Patriarch of Constantinopl... British Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Bartlett, Sidney, 1799-1889 person
associatedWith Burgess Thomas 1756-1837 person
correspondedWith Century Company corporateBody
correspondedWith Dellenbaugh, Frederick Samuel, 1853-1935 person
associatedWith Houghton Library. corporateBody
associatedWith Milton John 1608-1674 person
associatedWith More, Hannah, 1745-1833 person
correspondedWith Story, Joseph person
associatedWith Sumner Charles Richard 1790-1874 person
associatedWith Wyttenbach Daniel 1746-1820 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
London, England
Mount Athos, Greece
Prince Edward Island, North America
Shrewsbury, Shropshire
Sheffield, West Riding of Yorkshire
Buckland-Monachorum, Devon
Stroud, Gloucestershire
Palestine, Asia Minor
Ashbourne, Derbyshire
London, England
Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire
Coventry, Warwickshire
North Erpingham, Hundred of, Norfolk
Glasgow, Scotland
India, Asia
Hoxne, Suffolk
Strathbogie, Aberdeenshire
Guildford, Surrey
Falkland Islands, South America
Devynnock, Brecknockshire
Stanley, the Falkland Islands
Marnoch, Aberdeenshire
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