Thomas Rennell (scholar)

Last updated

Thomas Rennell (1787–1824) was an English theologian and author.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine and, more broadly, of religious belief. It is taught as an academic discipline, typically in universities and seminaries. It occupies itself with the unique content of analyzing the supernatural, but also deals with religious epistemology, asks and seeks to answer the question of revelation. Revelation pertains to the acceptance of God, gods, or deities, as not only transcendent or above the natural world, but also willing and able to interact with the natural world and, in particular, to reveal themselves to humankind. While theology has turned into a secular field, religious adherents still consider theology to be a discipline that helps them live and understand concepts such as life and love and that helps them lead lives of obedience to the deities they follow or worship.



The only son of Thomas Rennell, Dean of Winchester Cathedral, he was born at Winchester in 1787. Like his father, he was educated at Eton, where he had a brilliant reputation as a scholar. He won one of Dr. Claudius Buchanan's prizes for a Greek Sapphic ode on the propagation of the gospel in India, and a prize for Latin verses on 'Pallentes Morbi' (pale diseases, personified beings in the works of Virgil). He also conducted, in conjunction with three of his contemporaries, a periodical called the Miniature, a successor of the 'Microcosm'. In 1806 he was elected from Eton to King's College, Cambridge. There in 1806 he won Sir William Browne's medal for the best Greek ode on the subject 'Veris Comites'; in 1810 he published, in conjunction with Charles James Blomfield, afterwards bishop of London, Musae Cantabrigienses, and he contributed to the Museum Criticum, a journal established in 1813 by Blomfield and Monk. He graduated B.A. in 1810, M.A. in 1813, and S.T.B. in 1822. [1]

The Very Reverend Thomas Rennell FRS (1754–1840) was an English churchman, dean of Winchester Cathedral and Master of the Temple.

Winchester city in Hampshire, England

Winchester is a city and the county town of Hampshire, England. The city lies at the heart of the wider City of Winchester, a local government district, at the western end of the South Downs National Park, on the River Itchen. It is 60 miles (97 km) south-west of London and 14 miles (23 km) from Southampton, the closest other city. At the 2011 Census, Winchester had a population of 45,184. The wider City of Winchester district, which includes towns such as Alresford and Bishop's Waltham, has a population of 116,800.

Eton College Independent boarding school in Windsor and Maidenhead, UK

Eton College is a 13–18 independent boarding school and sixth form for boys in the parish of Eton, near Windsor in Berkshire, England. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as Kynge's College of Our Ladye of Eton besyde Windesore , as a sister institution to King's College, Cambridge, making it the 18th-oldest Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference school. Eton's history and influence have made Eton one of the most prestigious schools in the world.

Having received Holy Orders, he was at once appointed assistant preacher at the Temple Church by his father, who was the Master. Father and son were regarded as equally effective and popular preachers there. He also delivered the Warburtonian lectures at Lincoln's Inn. His interests were wide, and he attended a regular course of anatomical lectures in London.

Temple Church Church in London

The Temple Church is a Royal peculiar church in the City of London located between Fleet Street and the River Thames, built by the Knights Templar as their English headquarters. It was consecrated on 10 February 1185 by Patriarch Heraclius of Jerusalem. During the reign of King John (1199–1216) it served as the royal treasury, supported by the role of the Knights Templars as proto-international bankers. It is jointly owned by the Inner Temple and Middle Temple Inns of Court, bases of the English legal profession. It is famous for being a round church, a common design feature for Knights Templar churches, and for its 13th- and 14th-century stone effigies. It was heavily damaged by German bombing during World War II and has since been greatly restored and rebuilt.

Lincolns Inn one of the four Inns of Court in London, England

The Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn is one of the four Inns of Court in London to which barristers of England and Wales belong and where they are called to the Bar. Lincoln's Inn is recognised to be one of the world's most prestigious professional bodies of judges and lawyers.

He was a friend of the members of a group of high-churchmen of whom Joshua Watson was the lay and Henry Handley Norris the clerical leader; and in 1811 he became editor of the British Critic which was the organ of his friends, and to which he was a frequent contributor. In 1816 he was appointed by the bishop of London, Dr. Howley, as vicar of Kensington, and proved himself an active and conscientious parish priest. In the same year he was elected Christian advocate at Cambridge. In that capacity he published in 1819 Remarks on Scepticism, especially as connected with the subject of Organisation and Life; being an Answer to the Views of M. Bichat, Sir T. C. Morgan, and Mr. Lawrence upon these points. His knowledge of anatomy and medicine enabled him to write on such a subject, and, despite criticism, the book passed through a sixth edition in 1824.

Joshua Watson British philanthropist

Joshua Watson (1771–1855) was an English wine merchant, philanthropist, a prominent member of the high church party and of several charitable organisations, who became known as "the best layman in England".

Henry Handley Norris (1771–1850) was an English clergyman and theologian. He was the clerical leader of the High Church grouping later known as the Hackney Phalanx, that grew up around him and his friend Joshua Watson.

The British Critic: A New Review was a quarterly publication, established in 1793 as a conservative and high-church review journal riding the tide of British reaction against the French Revolution. The headquarters was in London. The journal ended publication in 1826.

He was for several years examining chaplain to the Bishop of Salisbury, John Fisher who in 1823 gave him the mastership of St. Nicholas's Hospital and the prebend of South Grantham in Salisbury Cathedral. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society, in spite of an attempt to exclude him in consequence of his Remarks on Scepticism.

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.

Salisbury Cathedral Church in Wiltshire, England

Salisbury Cathedral, formally known as the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is an Anglican cathedral in Salisbury, England. The cathedral is regarded as one of the leading examples of Early English architecture: its main body was completed in 38 years, from 1220 to 1258.

Fellow of the Royal Society Elected Fellow of the Royal Society, including Honorary, Foreign and Royal Fellows

Fellowship of the Royal Society is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of London judges to have made a 'substantial contribution to the improvement of natural knowledge, including mathematics, engineering science, and medical science'.

In 1823 he married the eldest daughter of John Delafield of Kensington; but within a few weeks he was struck down with a fever, and died at Winchester on 30 June 1824. He was buried in Winchester Cathedral, and a funeral sermon was preached on him at Kensington by his successor, Archdeacon Joseph Holden Pott.

Winchester Cathedral Church in Hampshire, United Kingdom

Winchester Cathedral is a cathedral of the Church of England in Winchester, Hampshire, England. It is one of the largest cathedrals in Europe, with the greatest overall length of any Gothic cathedral.


Samuel Parr, in his Letter to Dr. John Milner (1819), described him as standing 'by profound erudition, and by various and extensive knowledge ... among the brightest luminaries of our national literature or national church'. Besides his classical writings, sermons, and contributions to the British Critic and other periodicals, he published:

  1. Animadversions on the Unitarian Translation or Improved Version of the New Testament. By a Student of Divinity, 1811.
  2. Proofs of Inspiration on the grounds of distinction between the New Testament and the Apocryphal Volume ... occasioned by the recent publication of the Apocryphal New Testament by Hone, 1822.
  3. A Letter to Henry Brougham, Esq., on his Durham Speech, and three Articles in the "Edinburgh Review", (anon. 1823), in which he defended the church and the clergy against a series of attacks upon their property and character.
  4. A Narrative of the Conversion and Death of Count Struensee by Dr. Munter, first translated into English by Dr. Wendeborn in 1774, with original notes, 1824.

Related Research Articles

Charles James Blomfield Bishop of Chester; Bishop of London

Charles James Blomfield was a British divine and classicist, and a Church of England bishop for 32 years.

Thomas Gaisford English classical scholar

Thomas Gaisford was an English classical scholar and clergyman. He served as Dean of Christ Church from 1831 until his death.

Charles Sumner (bishop) Bishop of Winchester; Bishop of Llandaff

Charles Richard Sumner KG was a Church of England bishop.

Nicholas Shaxton was an English Reformer and Bishop of Salisbury.

Walter Kerr Hamilton British bishop

Walter Kerr Hamilton was a Church of England priest, Bishop of Salisbury from 1854 until his death.

Edward Maltby British bishop

Edward Maltby was an English clergyman of the Church of England. He became Bishop of Durham, controversial for his liberal politics, for his slightly naive ecumenism, and for the great personal wealth that he amassed.

George Pretyman Tomline British bishop

Sir George Pretyman Tomline, 5th Baronet was an English clergyman, theologian, Bishop of Lincoln and then Bishop of Winchester, and confidant of William Pitt the Younger. He was an opponent of Catholic emancipation.

Charles James Hoare was an evangelical Church of England clergyman, archdeacon of Surrey.

St Pauls Cross medieval preaching cross and pulpit in London

St Paul's Cross was a preaching cross and open-air pulpit in the grounds of Old St Paul's Cathedral, City of London. It was the most important public pulpit in Tudor and early Stuart England, and many of the most important statements on the political and religious changes brought by the Reformation were made public from here. The pulpit stood in 'the Cross yard', the open space on the north-east side of St. Paul's Churchyard, adjacent to the row of buildings that would become the home of London's publishing and book-selling trade. A monument stands in this area of the Cathedral precinct now, but it is not on the exact spot where Paul's Cross stood. A stone carved with the words 'Here stood Paul's Cross' marks the actual location of the pulpit as it stood from 1449 until 1635, when it was taken down during Inigo Jones' renovation work.

George Waddington was an English priest, traveller and church historian.

Richard Willis (bishop) English bishop

Richard Willis (1664–1734) was an English bishop.

John Thomas (bishop of Winchester) Bishop of Winchester

John Thomas was an English bishop.

John Butler (bishop) English bishop and controversialist

John Butler (1717–1802) was an English bishop and controversialist.

The Very Reverend Robert Holmes was an English churchman and academic, Dean of Winchester and a biblical scholar known for textual studies of the Septuagint.

Edward Denison (bishop) British bishop

Edward Denison the elder (1801–1854) was an English bishop of Salisbury.

William Hale (priest) Archdeacon of London and Master of Charterhouse School (1795-1870)

William Hale Hale was an English churchman and author, Archdeacon of London in the Church of England, and Master of Charterhouse School.

Thomas Elrington (1760–1835) was Provost of Trinity College Dublin from 1811 to 1820, Bishop of Limerick, Ardfert and Aghadoe from 1820 to 1822, and Bishop of Ferns and Leighlin from then until his death in Liverpool on 12 July 1835.

Henry Vincent Bayley (1777–1844) was an English clergyman. Of the High Church party and a reformer, he became Archdeacon of Stow.

Joseph Pott British archdeacon

Joseph Holden Pott (1759–1847) was an English churchman, archdeacon of London from 1813.


  1. "Rennell, Thomas (RNL806T)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.

Wikisource-logo.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : "Rennell, Thomas (1787-1824)". Dictionary of National Biography . London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.