Thomas Smoult

Last updated

Thomas Smoult (1631 or 1632 9 July 1707) was the first Professor of Moral Theology or Casuistical Divinity in 1683 at the University of Cambridge to the post now known as the Knightbridge Professor of Philosophy. The professorship was founded in 1677 by John Knightbridge, a vicar of Spofforth in Yorkshire and Fellow of Peterhouse, Cambridge. He left a stipend of 50 pounds per annum. This was augmented by Smoult, who gave 300 pounds to purchase land. [1]

University of Cambridge university in Cambridge, United Kingdom

The University of Cambridge is a collegiate public research university in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Founded in 1209 and granted a royal charter by King Henry III in 1231, Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's fourth-oldest surviving university. The university grew out of an association of scholars who left the University of Oxford after a dispute with the townspeople. The two 'ancient universities' share many common features and are often referred to jointly as 'Oxbridge'. The academic standards, history, influence and wealth of the University of Cambridge has made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

The Knightbridge Professorship of Philosophy is the senior professorship in philosophy at the University of Cambridge. There have been 22 Knightbridge professors, the incumbent being Rae Langton.

Peterhouse, Cambridge college of the University of Cambridge

Peterhouse is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. It is the oldest college of the university, having been founded in 1284 by Hugo de Balsham, Bishop of Ely, and granted its charter by King Edward I. Today, Peterhouse has 254 undergraduates, 116 full-time graduate students and 54 fellows. The official name of Peterhouse does not include "college", although "Peterhouse College" is often seen in public.

Plaque for Thomas Smoult in Barkway, Hertfordshire Smoult thomas-plaque.jpg
Plaque for Thomas Smoult in Barkway, Hertfordshire


Thomas Smoult was born in Lathom, Lancashire, the son of Edward (Edmund) a gentleman.

Lathom village and civil parish in Lancashire, England

Lathom is a village and civil parish in Lancashire, England, about 3 miles (5 km) northeast of Ormskirk. It is in the district of West Lancashire, and with the parish of Newburgh forms part of Newburgh ward. The population of the civil parish at the 2011 census was 914. The Leeds and Liverpool Canal passes through Lathom.

Smoult matriculated from St John's in 1651 at the age of 19 and graduated BA in 1654. He became a Fellow there in 1664. He proceeded to a Bachelor of Divinity in 1666 followed by a Doctor of Divinity in 1684 in preparation for a career in the church. He held various church livings in Hertfordshire and Kent including Northchurch, Hertfordshire; Bexley, Kent, 1659–65; Barkway, Hertfordshire, 1666–94; and Berkhampstead, 1693. From 1697 until his death he was Royal Chaplain. [2]

St Johns College, Cambridge college of the University of Cambridge

St John's College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge founded by the Tudor matriarch Lady Margaret Beaufort. In constitutional terms, the college is a charitable corporation established by a charter dated 9 April 1511. The aims of the college, as specified by its statutes, are the promotion of education, religion, learning and research. It is one of the larger Oxbridge colleges in terms of student numbers. For 2018, St. John’s was ranked 9th of 29 colleges in the Tompkins Table with over 30% of its students earning First-class honours.

Hertfordshire County of England

Hertfordshire is one of the home counties in southern England. It is bordered by Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire to the north, Essex to the east, Greater London to the south, and Buckinghamshire to the west. For government statistical purposes, it is placed in the East of England region.

Kent County of England

Kent is a county in South East England and one of the home counties. It borders Greater London to the north-west, Surrey to the west and East Sussex to the south-west. The county also shares borders with Essex along the estuary of the River Thames, and with the French department of Pas-de-Calais through the Channel Tunnel. The county town is Maidstone.

In his will [3] Smoult bequeathed £100 for the purchase of books for the Library at St John's. [4] Bexley National School, London was built from an earlier endowment by him to the parish in 1703. This school is dated 1834. [5]

Related Research Articles

Crayford town located in south-east London, England within the London Borough of Bexley

Crayford is a town and electoral ward located in south-east London, England within the London Borough of Bexley. It lies east of Bexleyheath and north west of Dartford. Crayford is in the historic county of Kent. The settlement developed around a ford over the river Cray, that is no longer used.

Thomas Cartwright (theologian) English theologian

Thomas Cartwright was an English Puritan churchman.

Bexley area of southeast London, England

Bexley is an area of south-east London, England and part of the London Borough of Bexley. It is sometimes known as Bexley Village to differentiate the area from the wider borough. It is located 13 miles (21 km) east-southeast of Charing Cross and south of Bexleyheath.

The Regius Professorships of Divinity are amongst the oldest professorships at the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. A third chair existed for a period at Trinity College, Dublin.

Sir Richard Fanshawe, 1st Baronet 17th-century English diplomat, politician, poet, and translator

Sir Richard Fanshawe, 1st Baronet PC was an English poet and translator. He was a diplomat and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1661 to 1666. During the English Civil War he supported the Royalist cause and served King Charles II in battle and in exile.

John Randolph (bishop of London) Bishop of Oxford; Bishop of Bangor; Bishop of London

John Randolph was a British scholar, teacher, and cleric who rose to become Bishop of London.

Seabury-Western Theological Seminary

Seabury-Western Theological Seminary (SWTS) was a seminary of the Episcopal Church, located in Evanston, Illinois. It ceased operations as a residential seminary granting the Master of Divinity degree in May 2010, and in January 2012 it moved from Evanston to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America headquarters near O'Hare Airport. In 2013, it federated with Bexley Hall seminary to form the Bexley Hall Seabury Western Theological Seminary Federation, the federation then moved to the second floor of Chicago Theological Seminary in July 2016 to continue to offer its academic degrees including its Master of Divinity degree. The Federation is commonly known as Bexley Seabury.

Thomas Plume was an English churchman and philanthropist, and founder of a library which still exists today. The Plume School in Maldon, Essex, is named after him.

John Mills (British sculptor) British artist

John William MillsPPRBS ARCA FRSA is an English sculptor.

Sir Henry Cheere, 1st Baronet was a renowned English sculptor and monumental mason of the eighteenth century, and older brother of John Cheere, also a notable sculptor.

Thomas Rawson Birks British priest and academic

Thomas Rawson Birks was an English theologian and controversialist, who figured in the debate to try to resolve theology and science. He rose to be Knightbridge Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Cambridge. His discussions led to much controversy: in one book he proposed that stars cannot have planets as this would reduce the importance of Christ's appearance on this planet.

Thomas Playfere was an English churchman and theologian, Lady Margaret's Professor of Divinity at Cambridge from 1596.

Samuel Winter DD (1603–1666) was an English clergyman and academic, who became Provost of Trinity College Dublin.

Paul Wright is a British Anglican priest who has been the Archdeacon of Bromley & Bexley since 2003.

Robert Pory or Porey (c.1608?–1669) was an English churchman, archdeacon of Middlesex from 1660.

Francis Barnes (philosopher)

Francis Barnes was an English philosopher and a Knightbridge Professor of Philosophy.

Robert Towerson Cory was an English churchman and Professor of moral philosophy at the University of Cambridge.

Thomas Braddock or Bradock (c1556–1607) was an Anglican clergyman of the 16th century, Headmaster of Reading School from 1588 to 1589 and a translator into Latin.

Thomas Cosyn was a priest and academic in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries.


  1. Metcalf, W., (1808). A Guide Through the University of Cambridge. Cambridge. p. 13.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link) CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. "ACAD" . Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  3. "Will of Thomas Smoult, Rector, Doctor of Divinity and Fellow of Saint Johns College in Cambridge of North Church, Hertfordshire". National Archives. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  4. "Thomas Smoult" . Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  5. Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1188284)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 15 March 2016.