Thomas Tanner (bishop)

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Bishop Tanner, 1731 Bp Thomas Tanner.jpg
Bishop Tanner, 1731

Thomas Tanner (24 January 1674 14 December 1735) was an English antiquary and prelate. He was Bishop of St Asaph from 1732 to 1735.

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-northwest. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies 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.

Antiquarian Specialist or aficionado of antiquities or things of the past

An antiquarian or antiquary is an aficionado or student of antiquities or things of the past. More specifically, the term is used for those who study history with particular attention to ancient artifacts, archaeological and historic sites, or historic archives and manuscripts. The essence of antiquarianism is a focus on the empirical evidence of the past, and is perhaps best encapsulated in the motto adopted by the 18th-century antiquary Sir Richard Colt Hoare, "We speak from facts, not theory."

Prelate high-ranking member of the clergy

A prelate is a high-ranking member of the clergy who is an ordinary or who ranks in precedence with ordinaries. The word derives from the Latin prælatus, the past participle of præferre, which means "carry before", "be set above or over" or "prefer"; hence, a prelate is one set over others.



Tanner was born at Market Lavington in Wiltshire, and was educated at The Queen's College, Oxford, taking holy orders in 1694. The following year, he became chaplain and then fellow of All Souls', Oxford, and a few years later private chaplain to John Moore, bishop of Norwich, and afterwards bishop of Ely, who appointed him chancellor of the diocese of Norwich. He lived in Norfolk from 1701 until 1731. In 1706 he became rector of Thorpe, near Norwich, in 1713 a canon of Ely Cathedral, and in 1724 a canon of Christ Church, Oxford. [1]

Market Lavington village in the United Kingdom

Market Lavington is a civil parish and large village with a population of about 2,200 on the northern edge of Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England, 5 miles (8.0 km) south of the market town of Devizes. The village lies on the B3098 Westbury–Urchfont road which skirts the edge of the Plain. The parish includes the hamlets of Northbrook, Lavington Sands and Fiddington Sands.

The Queens College, Oxford college of the University of Oxford

The Queen's College is a constituent college of the University of Oxford, England. The college was founded in 1341 by Robert de Eglesfield (d'Eglesfield) in honour of Queen Philippa of Hainault. It is distinguished by its predominantly neoclassical architecture, which includes buildings designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor.

All Souls College, Oxford college of the University of Oxford

All Souls College is a constituent college of the University of Oxford in England.

On 23 January 1732 he was appointed Bishop of St Asaph and thereafter divided his time between London, Oxford and North Wales. He died in Oxford.

Bishop of St Asaph Wikimedia list article

The Bishop of St Asaph heads the Church in Wales diocese of St Asaph.


Tanner's chief work published during his lifetime is the Notitia Monastica, a short account of all the religious houses in England and Wales. This was published at Oxford in 1695; it was reprinted with additions by the author's brother, John Tanner, in 1744; and was reprinted again with further additions by James Nasmith in 1787. He also wrote Bibliotheca Britannico-Hibernica, a dictionary of all the authors who flourished in England, Scotland and Ireland before the opening of the 17th century, at which he laboured for forty years. This was eventually completed by David Wilkins and published in 1748, thirteen years after the author's death. Tanner also collected materials for a history of Wiltshire and worked for some time on a new edition of the works of John Leland. His valuable collection of books and manuscripts is in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. [1] When he moved from Norwich to Oxford, his books were conveyed by water but the barge sank at Benson Lock, near Wallingford on 11 December 1731 and they were submerged for twenty hours with lasting effects. [2]

Wales Country in northwest Europe, part of the United Kingdom

Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It had a population in 2011 of 3,063,456 and has a total area of 20,779 km2 (8,023 sq mi). Wales has over 1,680 miles (2,700 km) of coastline and is largely mountainous, with its higher peaks in the north and central areas, including Snowdon, its highest summit. The country lies within the north temperate zone and has a changeable, maritime climate.

James Nasmith (1740–1808) was an English clergyman, academic and antiquary.

Scotland Country in Europe, part of the United Kingdom

Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, by the North Sea to the northeast and by the Irish Sea to the south. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.


Tanner married three times. His first wife, whom he married in 1701, was Rose Moore, eldest daughter of Bishop Moore. She died on 15 March 1706, aged 25 (having had issue Dorothy, died 17 February 1704, aged 14 months), and was buried on the south side of the bishop's chapel in Norwich Cathedral, under a white marble tablet with an inscription to her memory. According to Hearne, she was ‘a short squabb dame,’ and ‘remarkable for drinking of brandy,’ and Tanner after marrying her was obliged to abandon for a time his studies, and was involved in lawsuits about his chancellorship. His second wife was Frances Preston, daughter of Jacob Preston, citizen of London, but of a gentleman's family in Norfolk. She died on 11 June 1718, aged 40, and was buried in the same chapel, with an inscription on white marble over her grave. The iron palisade door to this chapel was given by Tanner, and his arms, with those of his first two wives, are on it. Her issue consisted of two daughters, both of whom died young, and one son, Thomas Tanner, canon of Canterbury and rector of Hadleigh and Monk's Eleigh, Suffolk, who married in January 1743 Mary Potter, third daughter of Archbishop Potter, and died on 11 March 1786 (Gent. Mag. 1786, i. 269). When John Loveday visited the bishop of St. Asaph in July 1732, his house was kept by his sister, ‘a widow lady’ (Tour, Roxburghe Club, pp. 65–8), but he married in May 1733 as his third wife Elizabeth Scottowe of Thorpe by Norwich. She was an heiress, and married as her second husband Robert Britiffe, recorder of Norwich and M.P. for that city. She died on 1 May 1771, aged 77. [2]


  1. 1 2 Chisholm 1911.
  2. 1 2 Courtney, William Prideaux (1898). "Tanner, Thomas (1674-1735)"  . In Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography . 55. London: Smith, Elder & Co.

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Church of England titles
Preceded by
Robert Cannon
Archdeacon of Norfolk
Succeeded by
John Baron
Preceded by
Francis Hare
Bishop of St Asaph
Succeeded by
Isaac Maddox