Thomas Rackett

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Thomas Rackett (1757–1840) was an English clergyman, known as an antiquary.


Thomas Rackett, 1768 portrait as a boy by George Romney in a declamatory pose. At the age of 14 he recited to David Garrick the latter's ode for the Shakespearean jubilee and Garrick presented him with a gilt copy of it. Next year (1771) Garrick gave him a folio copy of Shakespeare with a laudatory inscription. Thomas Rackett Romney.jpg
Thomas Rackett, 1768 portrait as a boy by George Romney in a declamatory pose. At the age of 14 he recited to David Garrick the latter's ode for the Shakespearean jubilee and Garrick presented him with a gilt copy of it. Next year (1771) Garrick gave him a folio copy of Shakespeare with a laudatory inscription.


He was son of Thomas Rackett of Wandsworth, Surrey. Theodosius Forrest and Paul Sandby taught Rackett drawing. John Hunter interested him in natural history. He matriculated at University College, Oxford, on 16 November 1773, and graduated B.A. in 1777 and M.A. in 1780. [1]

Wandsworth district of south-west London, England

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Surrey County of England

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Theodosius Forrest British musician

Theodosius Forrest was an English author, balladeer, playwright and lawyer.

In 1780, also, Rackett became rector of Spetisbury with Charlton-Marshall, in Dorset, and held the living for more than 60 years. He had multiple interests besides his parish, and was a musician. He concentrated on antiquarian researches, and spent time on scientific study in London. He came to know Richard Gough, Edward King, Richard Colt Hoare and William Lisle Bowles. He helped John Hutchins in the second edition of his History of Dorset, and rambled on his pony over the whole of the county. Late in life he collected and took casts of ancient seals and coins. In 1794 and 1796 he accompanied Charles Hatchett and William George Maton in a tour through the western counties and collected minerals. When an octogenarian he was studying conchology, and, with Tiberius Cavallo, to whom he offered a home at Spetisbury, pursued astronomy. [1]

Spetisbury village in United Kingdom

Spetisbury is a village and civil parish in north Dorset, England, situated on the River Stour and the A350 road, 4 miles (6.4 km) south-east of Blandford Forum. In the 2011 census the civil parish had 224 households and a population of 555.

Dorset County of England

Dorset is a county in South West England on the English Channel coast. The ceremonial county comprises the unitary authority areas of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole and Dorset. Covering an area of 2,653 square kilometres (1,024 sq mi), Dorset borders Devon to the west, Somerset to the north-west, Wiltshire to the north-east, and Hampshire to the east. The county town is Dorchester which is in the south. After the reorganisation of local government in 1974 the county's border was extended eastward to incorporate the Hampshire towns of Bournemouth and Christchurch. Around half of the population lives in the South East Dorset conurbation, while the rest of the county is largely rural with a low population density.

Richard Gough was a prominent and influential English antiquarian. He served as director of the Society of Antiquaries of London from 1771 to 1791; published a major work on English church monuments; and translated and edited a new edition of William Camden's Britannia.

Rackett was a fellow of the Royal Society, of the Society of Antiquaries of London, and of the Linnean Society. He died at Spetisbury on 29 November 1840. [2]

Royal Society National academy of science in the United Kingdom

The Royal Society, formally The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, is a learned society and the United Kingdom's national Academy of Sciences. Founded on 28 November 1660, it was granted a royal charter by King Charles II as "The Royal Society". It is the oldest national scientific institution in the world. The society fulfils a number of roles: promoting science and its benefits, recognising excellence in science, supporting outstanding science, providing scientific advice for policy, fostering international and global co-operation, education and public engagement. It also performs these roles for the smaller countries of the Commonwealth.

Society of Antiquaries of London British learned society for archaeologists

The Society of Antiquaries of London (SAL) is a learned society "charged by its Royal Charter of 1751 with 'the encouragement, advancement and furtherance of the study and knowledge of the antiquities and history of this and other countries'." It is based at Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, and is a registered charity.


Rackett wrote: [1]


Rackett monument, Spetisbury, commemorating Thomas and Dorothea Rackett Rackett monument, Spetisbury - - 1063338.jpg
Rackett monument, Spetisbury, commemorating Thomas and Dorothea Rackett

Rackett married, in 1781, Dorothea, daughter of James Tattersall, rector of St. Paul's, Covent Garden, and of Streatham. All his children predeceased him except Dorothea, wife of S. Solly of Heathside, near Poole, Dorset. [1]

Poole Town in England

Poole is a large coastal town and seaport in Dorset, on the south coast of England. The town is 33 kilometres (21 mi) east of Dorchester, and adjoins Bournemouth to the east. Since 1 April 2019 the local authority is Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council which is a unitary authority. Poole had an estimated population of 151,500 making it the second largest town in ceremonial county of Dorset. Together with Bournemouth and Christchurch, Poole has a total population of over 465,000.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Lee, Sidney, ed. (1896). "Rackett, Thomas"  . Dictionary of National Biography . 47. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  2. 1 2 Davies, Glanville J. "Rackett, Thomas". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/22972.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)

Wikisource-logo.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain :  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1896). "Rackett, Thomas". Dictionary of National Biography . 47. London: Smith, Elder & Co.

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Sidney Lee 19th/20th-century English biographer and critic

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