Thomas Pyle

Last updated

The Reverend Thomas Pyle (born at Stody, Norfolk, 1674, died Swaffham, Norfolk, 31 December 1756) was a Church of England clergyman and religious controversialist.

Stody village in the United Kingdom

Stody is a village and a civil parish in the English county of Norfolk. The village is 13.2 miles (21.2 km) west south west of Cromer, 21.8 miles (35.1 km) north north west of Norwich and 125 miles (201 km) north north east of London. The village lies 4.1 miles (6.6 km) south west of the town of Holt. The nearest railway station is at Sheringham for the Bittern Line which runs between Sheringham, Cromer and Norwich. The nearest airport is Norwich International Airport.

Norfolk County of England

Norfolk is a county in East Anglia in England. It borders Lincolnshire to the northwest, Cambridgeshire to the west and southwest, and Suffolk to the south. Its northern and eastern boundaries are the North Sea and to the north-west, The Wash. The county town is Norwich. With an area of 2,074 square miles (5,370 km2) and a population of 859,400, Norfolk is a largely rural county with a population density of 401 per square mile. Of the county's population, 40% live in four major built up areas: Norwich (213,000), Great Yarmouth (63,000), King's Lynn (46,000) and Thetford (25,000).

Swaffham market town and civil parish in the English county of Norfolk

Swaffham is a market town and civil parish in the Breckland District and English county of Norfolk. It is situated 12 miles east of King's Lynn and 31 miles west of Norwich.


Background and education

The son of the Reverend John Pyle (died 1709), Rector of Stody, he was educated at Gresham's School, Holt, and at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he was admitted sizar on 17 May 1692, at the age of seventeen. He was elected a scholar of the College later the same year. He graduated BA in 1696 and MA in 1699. [1]

Greshams School Independent day and boarding school in Holt, Norfolk, England

Gresham’s School is an independent coeducational boarding school in Holt in Norfolk, England. Gresham's School is one of the top 30 International Baccalaureate schools in England.

Holt, Norfolk town in Norfolk, UK

Holt is a market town, civil parish and electoral ward in the English county of Norfolk. The town is 22.8 miles (36.7 km) north of the city of Norwich, 9.5 miles (15.3 km) west of Cromer and 35 miles (56 km) east of King's Lynn. The town is on the route of the A148 King's Lynn to Cromer road. The nearest railway station is in the town of Sheringham where access to the national rail network can be made via the Bittern Line to Norwich. Holt also has a railway station on the preserved North Norfolk Railway, the 'Poppy Line', of which it is the south-western terminus. The nearest airport is Norwich. The town has a population of 3,550, rising and including the ward to 3,810 at the 2011 census. Holt is within the area covered by North Norfolk District Council.

Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge college of the University of Cambridge

Gonville & Caius College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England. The college is the fourth-oldest college at the University of Cambridge and one of the wealthiest. The college has been attended by many students who have gone on to significant accomplishment, including fourteen Nobel Prize winners, the second-most of any Oxbridge college.


Pyle was ordained deacon on 30 May 1697 and priest on 25 September 1698, by Dr John Moore, bishop of Norwich, whose chaplain, William Whiston, commented that Pyle was one of the two best scholars he had ever examined.

Bishop of Norwich Diocesan bishop in the Church of England

The Bishop of Norwich is the ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Norwich in the Province of Canterbury. The diocese covers most of the county of Norfolk and part of Suffolk. The Bishop of Norwich is Graham Usher.

William Whiston theologian, historian, mathematician

William Whiston was an English theologian, historian, and mathematician, a leading figure in the popularisation of the ideas of Isaac Newton. He is now probably best known for helping to instigate the Longitude Act in 1714 and his important translations of the Antiquities of the Jews and other works by Josephus. He was a prominent exponent of Arianism and wrote A New Theory of the Earth.

He was appointed vicar of Thorpe Market in 1698. In 1701, he was appointed minister of St Nicholas's Chapel in King's Lynn. He was lecturer and curate of St Margaret's, King's Lynn, from 1711, and Rector of Bexwell (1708–9), Outwell (1709–18), and Watlington (1710–26).

Thorpe Market village in the United Kingdom

Thorpe Market is a village in the English county of Norfolk. The village is 4.4 miles south of Cromer, and 20.5 miles north of Norwich. The nearest railway station is at Gunton for the Bittern Line which runs between Sheringham, Cromer and Norwich. The nearest airport is Norwich International. The village straddles the A149 road from King’s Lynn to Great Yarmouth.

Kings Lynn market town in the county of Norfolk, England

King's Lynn, known until 1537 as Bishop's Lynn, is an English seaport and market town in Norfolk, about 98 miles (158 km) north of London, 36 miles (58 km) north-east of Peterborough, 44 miles (71 km) north north-east of Cambridge and 44 miles (71 km) west of Norwich. The population is 42,800.

Kings Lynn Minster Church in Kings Lynn, England

King's Lynn Minster is a Grade I listed parish church in the Church of England in King's Lynn.

Pyle was a strong Whig, and the accession of George I, together with the fact that King's Lynn was represented in parliament by the prime minister, Robert Walpole, gave Pyle hope of preferment in the church. His publications on the Bangorian controversy gained him the friendship of Benjamin Hoadly. After Hoadly became bishop of Salisbury, Pyle gained the living of Durnford, in Wiltshire. Pyle preached in London, and his Paraphrase of the Acts and Epistles, in the Manner of Dr Clarke (1725) and another volume of paraphrases gained the support of dissenters and latitudinarians such as Samuel Chandler, Samuel Clarke, and Thomas Herring. But Pyle never received additional preferment, even after Herring became Archbishop of Canterbury.

Robert Walpole British statesman and art collector, 1st Earl of Orford, First Lord of the Treasury

Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford,, known between 1725 and 1742 as Sir Robert Walpole, was a British politician who is generally regarded as the de facto first Prime Minister of Great Britain.

Benjamin Hoadly British bishop

Benjamin Hoadly was an English clergyman, who was successively Bishop of Bangor, of Hereford, of Salisbury, and finally of Winchester. He is best known as the initiator of the Bangorian Controversy.

The Bishop of Salisbury is the ordinary of the Church of England's Diocese of Salisbury in the Province of Canterbury. The diocese covers much of the counties of Wiltshire and Dorset. The see is in the City of Salisbury where the bishop's seat is located at the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The current bishop is Nick Holtam, the 78th Bishop of Salisbury, who was consecrated at St Paul's Cathedral on 22 July 2011 and enthroned in Salisbury Cathedral on 15 October 2011.

Pyle made no secret of his views on the Trinity, in which he adopted an Arian position, revelling in what he called "the glorious prerogative of private judgement, the birth-right of Protestants".

Trinity Christian doctrine that God is one God, but three coeternal consubstantial persons

The Christian doctrine of the Trinity holds that God is one God, but three coeternal consubstantial persons or hypostases—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—as "one God in three Divine persons". The three persons are distinct, yet are one "substance, essence or nature" (homoousios). In this context, a "nature" is what one is, whereas a "person" is who one is. Sometimes differing views are referred to as nontrinitarian. Trinitarianism contrasts with positions such as Binitarianism and Monarchianism, of which Modalistic Monarchianism and Unitarianism are subsets.

Arianism is a nontrinitarian Christological doctrine which asserts the belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who was begotten by God the Father at a point in time, a creature distinct from the Father and is therefore subordinate to him, but also divine. Arian teachings were first attributed to Arius, a Christian presbyter in Alexandria of Egypt. The term "Arian" is derived from the name Arius; it was not a self-chosen designation but bestowed by hostile opponents—and never accepted by those on whom it had been imposed. The nature of Arius's teaching and his supporters were opposed to the theological views held by Homoousian Christians, regarding the nature of the Trinity and the nature of Christ. The Arian concept of Christ is based on the belief that the Son of God did not always exist but was begotten within time by God the Father.

In 1732, he exchanged his old livings for the vicarage of St Margaret's, King's Lynn, which he retained until 1755, when he retired to Swaffham and died on 31 December 1756.



Pyle married Mary Rolfe (1681/2–1748) of King's Lynn, in 1701, and they had three sons, all clergymen. Edmund (1702–1776) was lecturer at St Nicholas's, King's Lynn, archdeacon of York, chaplain to Bishop Benjamin Hoadly and chaplain to the King. Thomas (1713–1807), became a canon of Salisbury and of Winchester. Philip (1724–1799), was Rector of North Lynn.

Related Research Articles

John Potter (bishop) Archbishop of Canterbury

John Potter was Archbishop of Canterbury (1737-1747).

George Hickes (divine) English priest

George Hickes was an English divine and scholar.

Samuel Chandler was a British Nonconformist minister, dissenter and polemicist pamphleteer. He energetically engaged with the religious disputes and published many sermons, pamphlets and letters. He translated and expanded the Historia Inquisitionis, of Philipp van Limborch, from Latin into English.

Richard Smalbroke Anglican Bishop

Richard Smalbroke was an English churchman, Bishop of St David's and then of Lichfield and Coventry.

George Stanhope was a clergyman of the Church of England, rising to be Dean of Canterbury and a Royal Chaplain. He was also amongst the commissioners responsible for the building of fifty new churches in London, and a leading figure in church politics of the early 18th century. Stanhope also founded the Stanhope School in 1715.

Joseph Trapp English poet

Joseph Trapp (1679–1747) was an English clergyman, academic, poet and pamphleteer. His production as a younger man of occasional verse and dramas led to his appointment as the first Oxford Professor of Poetry in 1708. Later his High Church opinions established him in preferment and position. As a poet, he was not well thought of by contemporaries, with Jonathan Swift refusing a dinner in an unavailing attempt to avoid revising one of Trapp’s poems, and Abel Evans making an epigram on his blank verse translation of the Aeneid with a reminder of the commandment against murder.

Samuel Bradford English bishop

Samuel Bradford was an English churchman and whig, bishop successively of Carlisle and Rochester.

Robert Jenkin Master of St Johns College

Robert Jenkin was an English clergyman, a nonjuror of 1698, later Master of St. John's College, Cambridge, Lady Margaret's Professor of Divinity, and opponent of John Locke.

Francis Hare (1671–1740) was an English churchman and classical scholar, bishop of St Asaph from 1727 and bishop of Chichester from 1731.

Arthur Ashley Sykes (1684–1756) was an Anglican religious writer, known as an inveterate controversialist. Sykes was a latitudinarian of the school of Benjamin Hoadly, and a friend and student of Isaac Newton.

Thomas Brett (1667–1743) was an English nonjuring clergyman known as an author.

James Peirce English Congregationalist minister

James Peirce (1674?–1726) was an English dissenting minister, the catalyst for the Salter's Hall controversy.

Edward Tenison Irish bishop

Edward Tenison (1673–1735) was an English bishop of Ossory. An example of the workings of the system of patronage in the Church of England, Tenison also was a significant Whig and controversialist.

John Jackson (controversialist) English clergyman, born 1686

John Jackson (1686–1763) was an English clergyman, known as a controversial theological writer.

Andrew Snape Head Master of Eton

Andrew Snape (1675–1742) was an English cleric, academic and headmaster, provost of King's College, Cambridge from 1719.

William Richardson (antiquary) English academic and antiquarian, Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge

William Richardson (1698–1775) was an English academic and antiquary, Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge from 1736.

John Davies (Queens) English cleric and academic, born 1679

John Davies (1679–1732) was an English cleric and academic, known as a classical scholar, and President of Queens' College, Cambridge from 1717.

Joseph Smith (academic) English academic, 1670–1756

Joseph Smith (1670–1756) was an English churchman and academic, Provost of The Queen's College, Oxford from 1730.

Edward Clarke (1636-7-1723) was an English politician, christened on the 5 February 1636-7 at East Raynham was the son of Rev Samuel Clarke (d.1692) rector of Raynham, Norfolk and Katherine Symonds (d.1686) of Stody, Norfolk, a member of the Norfolk gentry and a descendant of Member of Parliament and English courtier, Sir Anthony Lee by his first wife, Margaret Wyatt.


  1. "Pyle, Thomas (PL692T)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. Charles Spurgeon's verdict on this work, in Commenting and Commentaries, "A pile of paper, valuable to housemaids for lighting fires" is Thomas Pyle's only claim to fame in Evangelical circles.

Wikisource-logo.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : "Pyle, Thomas". Dictionary of National Biography . London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.