Thomas Twining (merchant)

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Portrait of Thomas Twining Thomas Twining.jpg
Portrait of Thomas Twining
The Twining shop entrance on the Strand, London The Twining shop entrance on the Strand, London.JPG
The Twining shop entrance on the Strand, London

Thomas Twining (1675, Painswick, Gloucestershire, England – 19 May 1741, Twickenham, Greater London) was an English merchant, and the founder of the tea merchant Twinings of London.

Painswick civil parish in Gloucestershire, England

Painswick is a town and civil parish in Gloucestershire, England. Originally the town grew on the wool trade, but it is now best known for its parish church's yew trees and the local Rococo Garden. The village is mainly constructed of locally quarried Cotswold stone. Many of the buildings feature south-facing attic rooms once used as weavers' workshops.

Gloucestershire County of England

Gloucestershire is a county in South West England. The county comprises part of the Cotswold Hills, part of the flat fertile valley of the River Severn, and the entire Forest of Dean.

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.



Thomas Twining was son of a fuller who moved to London when Thomas was nine years old. Thomas was first apprenticed to a weaver. He changed careers, however, and worked for a merchant and importer. He became a Freeman of the City of London in 1701, when he worked for the East India Company under Thomas D'Aeth, from whom he bought Tom's Coffee House at No. 216 Strand, London in 1706. In addition to coffee, Twining sold tea, and acquired a reputation for having the finest blends in London. Shortly after opening on the Strand, Twining was selling more dry tea than brewed tea.

Fulling textile finishing process for woollen or worsted cloth that uses controlled shrinkage to produce a thicker, more compact fabric

Fulling, also known as tucking or walking, was a step in woollen clothmaking which involves the cleansing of cloth to eliminate oils, dirt, and other impurities, and to make it thicker. The worker who does the job is a fuller, tucker, or walker, all of which have become common surnames. The Welsh word for a fulling mill is pandy, which appears in many place-names, for example Tonypandy.

East India Company 16th through 19th-century British trading company

The East India Company (EIC), also known as the Honourable East India Company (HEIC) or the British East India Company, and informally known as John Company, Company Bahadur, or simply The Company, was an English and later British joint-stock company. It was formed to trade in the Indian Ocean region, initially with Mughal India and the East Indies, and later with Qing China. The company ended up seizing control over large parts of the Indian subcontinent, colonised parts of Southeast Asia, and colonised Hong Kong after a war with Qing China.

Strand, London major thoroughfare in the City of Westminster, London, England

Strand is a major thoroughfare in the City of Westminster, Central London. It runs just over 34 mile (1,200 m) from Trafalgar Square eastwards to Temple Bar, where the road becomes Fleet Street inside the City of London, and is part of the A4, a main road running west from inner London.

He expanded his store in 1717 to into three adjacent houses. By 1734, Twining sold tea almost exclusively, with few coffee sales. In about 1722, Twining bought a property later known as Dial House, next door to St Mary's Church, Twickenham, where he either rebuilt or converted and extended the buildings already there. The sundial on the façade is dated 1726, which is possibly the year in which the new building was finished.

Sundial Device that tells the time of day by the apparent position of the Sun in the sky

A sundial is a device that tells the time of day when there is sunlight by the apparent position of the Sun in the sky. In the narrowest sense of the word, it consists of a flat plate and a gnomon, which casts a shadow onto the dial. As the Sun appears to move across the sky, the shadow aligns with different hour-lines, which are marked on the dial to indicate the time of day. The style is the time-telling edge of the gnomon, though a single point or nodus may be used. The gnomon casts a broad shadow; the shadow of the style shows the time. The gnomon may be a rod, wire, or elaborately decorated metal casting. The style must be parallel to the axis of the Earth's rotation for the sundial to be accurate throughout the year. The style's angle from horizontal is equal to the sundial's geographical latitude.

Thomas Twining died in 1741. He was buried at St Mary's Church, where there is a memorial to him, at the north-east corner. [1]


Twining's son Daniel Twining inherited the business. Dial House remained in the Twining family for many years after Thomas's death: the last member of the family to live there was the botanical illustrator Elizabeth Twining, who resided there from 1866, after the death of her mother, until her death in 1889. Subsequent to Elizabeth's death the house was donated the parish of Twickenham by her brother, Richard Twining, as a replacement for the existing vicarage, because the latter was in a condition of disrepair. Dial House has continued to belong to the Church of England: it is now used as the official residence and office of the Bishop of Kensington. [2]

Botanical illustrator person who paints, sketches or otherwise illustrates botanical subjects

A botanical illustrator is a person who paints, sketches or otherwise illustrates botanical subjects. Typical illustrations are in watercolour, but may also be in oils, ink or pencil, or a combination of these. The image may be life size or not, the scale is often shown, and may show the habit and habitat of the plant, the upper and reverse sides of leaves, and details of flowers, bud, seed and root system.

Elizabeth Twining English botanical illustrator

Elizabeth Twining (1805–1889) was an English painter, author, and botanical illustrator. She is best known for her detailed botanical illustrations, especially the two-volume Illustrations of the Natural Order of Plants, which was published between 1849 and 1855. She was an heiress of the Twinings family of tea merchants and was a philanthropist.

Church of England Anglican state church of England

The Church of England is the established church of England. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the most senior cleric, although the monarch is the supreme governor. The Church of England is also the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church recorded as existing in the Roman province of Britain by the third century, and to the 6th-century Gregorian mission to Kent led by Augustine of Canterbury.

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  1. Lynn F. Pearson, Discovering Famous Graves (2008, ISBN   0747806195), p. 82
  2. James Phillips-Evans, The Longcrofts: 500 Years of a British Family (2012), Amazon, pp. 248-249