Thomas Rundle

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Thomas Rundle (c.1688–1743) was an English cleric suspected of unorthodox views. He became Anglican bishop of Derry not long after a high-profile controversy had prevented his becoming bishop of Gloucester in 1733.

The Bishop of Derry is an episcopal title which takes its name after the city of Derry in Northern Ireland. In the Roman Catholic Church it remains a separate title, but in the Church of Ireland it has been united with another bishopric.

Bishop of Gloucester Diocesan bishop in the Church of England

The Bishop of Gloucester is the ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Gloucester in the Province of Canterbury.


Early life

He was born at Milton Abbot, Devon, about 1688, son of Thomas Rundle, an Exeter clergyman. After Exeter grammar school under John Reynolds, he matriculated as a commoner at Exeter College, Oxford, on 5 April 1704, at the age of 16. He took the degree of B.C.L. in 1710. [1]

Milton Abbot village and civil parish in West Devon, Devon, England

Milton Abbot is a village, parish, and former manor in Devon, 6 miles (9.7 km) north-west of Tavistock, Devon, and 6 miles (9.7 km) south-east of Launceston, Cornwall.

Devon County of England

Devon, also known as Devonshire, which was formerly its common and official name, is a county of England, reaching from the Bristol Channel in the north to the English Channel in the south. It is part of South West England, bounded by Cornwall to the west, Somerset to the north east, and Dorset to the east. The city of Exeter is the county town. The county includes the districts of East Devon, Mid Devon, North Devon, South Hams, Teignbridge, Torridge, and West Devon. Plymouth and Torbay are each geographically part of Devon, but are administered as unitary authorities. Combined as a ceremonial county, Devon's area is 6,707 km2 and its population is about 1.1 million.

Exeter City in the south west of England

Exeter is a cathedral city in Devon, England, with a population of 129,800. The city is located on the River Exe approximately 36 miles (58 km) northeast of Plymouth and 65 miles (105 km) southwest of Bristol. It is the county town of Devon, and the base of Devon County Council. Also situated in Exeter, are two campuses of the University of Exeter, Streatham Campus and St Luke's Campus.

In 1712 Rundle made the acquaintance of William Whiston, in Oxford for patristic study and to find support for his Society for Promoting Primitive Christianity. Rundle and his tutor Thomas Rennel were sympathetic, but thought Whiston would find no other local recruits. Rundle in the same year became tutor to the only son of John Cater of Kempston, near Bedford. Here Whiston visited him, and suggested a critical examination of the Sibylline oracles, which he didn't complete. Going to London, he attended of Whiston's society, which held meetings from 3 July 1715 to 28 June 1717; but Thomas Emlyn found Rundle worldly. Rundle informed Whiston that he intended to take holy orders, which Whiston took badly; and became more a follower of Samuel Clarke. [1]

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.

Kempston town and civil parish located in Bedfordshire, England

Kempston is a town and civil parish located in Bedfordshire, England. Once known as the largest village in England, Kempston is now a town with its own town council. It has a population of about 20,000, and together with Bedford, it forms an urban area with around 100,000 inhabitants, which is the sole significant urban area in the Borough of Bedford. Kempston serves principally as a dormitory town for Bedford.

Thomas Emlyn English minister

Thomas Emlyn (1663–1741) was an English nonconformist divine.


Rundle was ordained deacon on 29 July, and priest on 5 August 1716, by William Talbot as bishop of Salisbury; his younger son Edward had been Rundle's close friend since Oxford days. Talbot made Rundle his domestic chaplain, and gave him a prebend of Salisbury Cathedral. Rundle became vicar of Inglesham, Wiltshire, in 1719, and rector of Poulshot, Wiltshire, in 1720, both livings being in the bishop's gift. Talbot appointed him archdeacon of Wilts (1720), and treasurer of Sarum (1721). [1]

William Talbot (bishop) British bishop

William Talbot was an English Anglican bishop. He was Bishop of Oxford from 1699 to 1715, Bishop of Salisbury from 1715 to 1722 and Bishop of Durham from 1722 to 1730.

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.

Edward Talbot was Archdeacon of Berkshire from 13 May 1717 until 9 December 1720.

At Salisbury, Rundle came to know Thomas Chubb well; they had perhaps met through Whiston. He praised the common sense of Chubb's publications, to 1730. Edward Talbot had died in December 1720, but his family continued to support Rundle. Talbot became bishop of Durham, and collated him to a stall in the cathedral (23 January 1722), giving him also the vicarage (1722) and rectory (1724) of Sedgefield, and appointing him (1728) to the mastership of Sherburn Hospital. He lived at the bishop's palace as resident chaplain from September 1722 till Bishop Talbot's death on 10 October 1730, Thomas Secker being his fellow-chaplain from 1722 to 1724. On 5 July 1723 he proceeded D.C.L. at Oxford. [1]

Thomas Chubb British philosopher

Thomas Chubb was an English lay Deist writer, born near Salisbury. He saw Christ as a divine teacher, but held reason to be sovereign in matters of religion. Although he questioned the morality of religions, he defended Christianity on rational grounds. Despite little formal schooling, Chubb was well up in the religious controversies of the day. His The True Gospel of Jesus Christ, Asserted argues for distinguishing the teaching of Jesus from that of the Evangelists. Chubb's views on free will and determinism, expressed in A Collection of Tracts on Various Subjects (1730), were extensively criticised by Jonathan Edwards in Freedom of the Will (1754).

Bishop of Durham Diocesan bishop in the Church of England

The Bishop of Durham is the Anglican bishop responsible for the Diocese of Durham in the Province of York. The diocese is one of the oldest in England and its bishop is a member of the House of Lords. Paul Butler has been the Bishop of Durham since his election was confirmed at York Minster on 20 January 2014. The previous bishop was Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury. The bishop is one of two who escort the sovereign at the coronation.

Sedgefield town in England

Sedgefield is a town and civil parish in County Durham, England. It had a population of 5,211 as at the 2011 census.

Bishopric controversy

In December 1733 the see of Gloucester became vacant by the death of Elias Sydall. Rundle was nominated as his successor by Charles Talbot, 1st Baron Talbot as Lord Chancellor (Bishop Talbot's eldest son) who had made him his chaplain. The appointment was announced, but Edmund Gibson, bishop of London, intervened. [1]

Elias Sydall (1672–1733) was an English bishop of St David's and bishop of Gloucester.

Charles Talbot, 1st Baron Talbot British politician

Charles Talbot, 1st Baron Talbot of Hensol was a British lawyer and politician. He was Lord Chancellor of Great Britain from 1733 to 1737.

Lord Chancellor senior and important functionary in the government of the United Kingdom

The Lord Chancellor, formally the Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, is the highest ranking among those Great Officers of State which are appointed regularly in the United Kingdom, nominally outranking even the Prime Minister. The Lord Chancellor is outranked only by the Lord High Steward, another Great Officer of State, who is appointed only for the day of coronations. The Lord Chancellor is appointed by the Sovereign on the advice of the Prime Minister. Prior to the Union there were separate Lord Chancellors for England and Wales, for Scotland and for Ireland.

Rundle was attacked for his good relations with Chubb, and was called a deist; but less openly the real objection was to Rundle's church politics. Gibson's ally Richard Venn, rector of St. Antholin's, London, reported a conversation between Rundle and Robert Cannon, who was noted for light-hearted sceptical remarks. Rundle was defended by Arthur Ashley Sykes and John Conybeare, and was known to have preached against deists, and debated against Matthew Tindal and Anthony Collins in the Grecian coffee-house. [1]

Bishop of Derry

The issue was eventually compromised: the see of Gloucester went to Martin Benson, a friend of Rundle, while Rundle himself was unpopularly appointed to Derry, more of a rich sinecure. On 3 August 1735 he was consecrated by Hugh Boulter, Arthur Price and Josiah Hort. He lived mainly in Dublin. [1]


Rundle died unmarried at Dublin on 14 April 1743, leaving most of his fortune of £20,000 to John Talbot. [1]


Rundle published four single sermons (1718–36). His Letters … with Introductory Memoirs, Gloucester, 1789, 2 vols. (reprinted, Dublin, same year), were edited by James Dallaway. Most of them are addressed to Barbara (1685–1746), daughter of Sir Richard Kyrle, governor of South Carolina, and widow of William Sandys (1677–1712) of Miserden, Gloucestershire. [1]



  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Wikisource-logo.svg  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1897). "Rundle, Thomas". Dictionary of National Biography . 49. London: Smith, Elder & Co.


Wikisource-logo.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain :  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1897). "Rundle, Thomas". Dictionary of National Biography . 49. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 

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