Thomas, William

, born in 1670, was grandson to the bishop, and only son of John Thomas and Mary Bagnail, daughter ‘to Mr. Bagnall, mentioned in the preceding article. William inherited but little from his grandfather. He was educated at Westminster-school, from whence he was elected to Trinity-college, Cambridge, June 25, 1688, being then seventeen years old, as appears by the accounts of admissions in that college. Here he took his master’s degree, and soon after went into orders: he had the living ef Exal in Warwickshire, given him by the interest of lord Somers, to whom he was distantly related: at Atherston in the same county, he had a considerable estate, as he had likewise at the Grange near Toddington in Gloucestershire; the former came to him by his wife, the latter by his uncle William Thomas.

Queen Anne was well disposed to him, and made many inquiries after him, his grandfather the bishop having been formerly her preceptor; but he declined preferment or attendance at court. He married Elizabeth Carter, only daughter of George Carter, esq. of Brill, in the county of Bucks, with whom he had a considerable fortune. By her he had a numerous family, nine daughters and five sons; of the latter one only survived him about eight years, and died unmarried. For the education of this numerous family, Dr. Thomas wished to go to Worcester, which he accordingly did in 1721, and in 1723 was presented to the rectory of St. Nicholas in that city by bishop Hough, to whom | he dedicated “Antiquitates Prioratus majoris Malverne,” printed in 1725; his edition of “Dugdale’s Warwickshire in 1730;” and likewise his “Survey of the Cathedral Church of Worcester,” printed in 1736: to Dugdale he made many large and valuable additions, and it is now deservedly a book of great price.

In his younger years, namely in 1700, he travelled to France and Italy, where he contracted a particular intimacy with sir John Pakington; he was well skilled in the Greek and Latin languages, to which he added the French and Italian. He likewise made himself master of the Saxon, a task at that time not so easy as at present, when we have a good dictionary, and ’a good grammar; the former would have saved him great labour, as Dr. Nash saw one he made himself for his own use, which cost him great pains: his industry, indeed, was amazing; as he hardly allowed himself time for sleep, meats, or amusement. He fully intended, if Providence had spared his life, to have published the History of Worcestershire, and with this view had carefully examined and transcribed many of the registers of the bishops, and the church of Worcester. To these labours Dr. Nash owns himself indebted, and says, he should be highly ungrateful if he did not take every opportunity of acknowledging his obligations. He visited likewise every church in the county about fifty years ago, which, together with the church gatherings of old Habingdon, were of great service to Dr. Nash, by explaining defaced arms and obliterated inscriptions: indeed the account of the painted glass is chiefly taken from their Mss. as it is now, by time and other accidents, almost all broken, or rendered unintelligible, by the glaziers. He died July 26, 1788, aged sixty-eight, and is buried in the cloisters of Worcester cathedral, near his grandfather. 1


Nash’s History of Worcestershire.