Thomas Twining (scholar)

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Thomas Twining (8 January 1735, Twickenham, London, England – 6 August 1804, Colchester) was an English classical scholar and cleric.

Twickenham suburban area in west London, England

Twickenham is an affluent suburban area of south-west London, England. It lies on the River Thames and is 10 miles (16 km) west-southwest of Charing Cross. Historically part of Middlesex, it has formed part of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames since 1965.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

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.



The son of Daniel Twining, tea merchant of London, he was originally intended for a commercial life, but because of his distaste for it and his fondness for study, his father decided to send him to the university. He entered Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge in 1755, and became a fellow in 1760. [1] He took orders and was married in 1764 to Elizabeth Smythies (1739-1796), daughter of Palmer Smythies, rector of St Michael's, Colchester, who had taught him at Colchester Free Grammar School. Twining spent the remainder of his life as incumbent of All Saints Church, Fordham, Essex, and in plurality as vicar of White Notley (from 1772) and rector of St Mary's, Colchester (from 1788), where he lived from 1790 until his death on 6 August 1804. [2]

Tea drink made from infusing boiling water with the leaves of the tea plant

Tea is an aromatic beverage commonly prepared by pouring hot or boiling water over cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis, an evergreen shrub (bush) native to East Asia. After water, it is the most widely consumed drink in the world. There are many different types of tea; some, like Darjeeling and Chinese greens, have a cooling, slightly bitter, and astringent flavour, while others have vastly different profiles that include sweet, nutty, floral or grassy notes.

Cambridge City and non-metropolitan district in England

Cambridge is a university city and the county town of Cambridgeshire, England, on the River Cam approximately 50 miles (80 km) north of London. At the United Kingdom Census 2011, its population was 123,867 including 24,506 students. Cambridge became an important trading centre during the Roman and Viking ages, and there is archaeological evidence of settlement in the area as early as the Bronze Age. The first town charters were granted in the 12th century, although modern city status was not officially conferred until 1951.

Colchester town in Essex, United Kingdom

Colchester is a historic market town and the largest settlement within the borough of Colchester in the county of Essex. Colchester was the first Roman-founded city in Britain, and Colchester lays claim to be regarded as Britain's oldest recorded town. It was for a time the capital of Roman Britain, and is a member of the Most Ancient European Towns Network.

Twining's reputation as a classical scholar was established by his translation, with notes, of Aristotle's Poetics (1789). [3] His epitaph was composed by a lifelong friend and fellow scholar, Samuel Parr, [4] and another such friend, the musicologist Charles Burney, composed an obituary. [2]

Aristotle philosopher in ancient Greece

Aristotle was an ancient Greek philosopher and scientist born in the city of Stagira, Chalkidiki, Greece. Along with Plato, he is considered the "Father of Western Philosophy". Aristotle provided a complex and harmonious synthesis of the various existing philosophies prior to him, including those of Socrates and Plato, and it was above all from his teachings that the West inherited its fundamental intellectual lexicon, as well as problems and methods of inquiry. As a result, his philosophy has exerted a unique influence on almost every form of knowledge in the West and it continues to be central to the contemporary philosophical discussion.

Samuel Parr English schoolmaster, writer, minister and doctor of law

Samuel Parr, was an English schoolmaster, writer, minister and Doctor of Law. He was known in his time for political writing, and (flatteringly) as "the Whig Johnson", though his reputation has lasted less well than Samuel Johnson's, and the resemblances were at a superficial level; Parr was no prose stylist, even if he was an influential literary figure. A prolific correspondent, he kept up with many of his pupils, and involved himself widely in intellectual and political life.

Charles Burney 18th/19th-century English music historian

Charles Burney FRS was an English music historian, composer and musician. He was the father of the writers Frances Burney and Sarah Burney, the explorer James Burney, and Charles Burney, classicist and book donor to the British Museum.


Twining was also an accomplished musician, and assisted Charles Burney in writing his remarkable History of Music. His calls on the Burney family in London in 1775 were vividly and affectionately described by Charles Burney's daughter Fanny: "He is a man of learning, very fond of music, and a good performer both on the harpsichord and the violin. He commenced a correspondence with my father upon the publication of his German Tour, which they have kept up with great spirit ever since; for Mr. Twining, besides being deep in musical knowledge, is a man of great humour and drollery." [5] Thomas's half-brother Richard Twining, a director of the East India Company and head of the tea company in The Strand, [6] was also intimate with the Burney family and one of seven Twinings, including Thomas, to subscribe to Fanny's novel Camilla in 1795. [7] Thomas later sent a double-folio sheet of corrections of punctuation and usage to Fanny Burney, which she incorporated into a second edition of the novel in 1802. As she put it, "I am proud that HE thinks the work worth flagellating. [8]

Frances Burney English writer

Frances Burney, also known as Fanny Burney and after her marriage as Madame d'Arblay, was an English satirical novelist, diarist and playwright. She was born in Lynn Regis, now King's Lynn, England, on 13 June 1752, to the musician and music historian Dr Charles Burney (1726–1814) and his first wife, Esther Sleepe Burney (1725–1762). The third of her mother's six children, she was self-educated and began writing what she called her "scribblings" at the age of ten.

Richard Twining (tea merchant) British Tea merchant

Richard Twining (1749–1824) was an English merchant, a director of the East India Company, and the head of Twinings the tea merchants in the Strand, London.

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 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.


Selections from Thomas Twining's correspondence can be found in Recreations and Studies of a Country Clergyman of the Eighteenth Century (1882) [9] [10] and Selections from Papers of the Twining Family (1887) edited by his grand-nephew Richard Twining; see also Gentleman's Magazine, lxxiv. 490, and J. E. Sandys, History of Classical Scholarship, vol. iii. (1908). [11]


  1. "Twining, Thomas (TWNN755T)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. 1 2 Chahoud, 2004.
  3. The Journals and Letters of Fanny Burney (Madame D'Arblay), vol. III, 1793-1797, ed. Joyce Hemlow with Patricia Boutilier and Althea Douglas (Oxford: OUP, 1973), p. 37 n.
  4. Field, William (1828). Memoirs of the Life, Writings, and Opinions of the Rev. Samuel Parr, LL.D. H. Colburn. p. 110.
  5. The Early Diary of Frances Burney 1768-1778, ed. Annie Raine Ellis, vol. II (London: G. Bell and Sons, 1913), p. 6.
  6. T. A. B. Corley, ‘Twining, Richard (1749–1824)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.
  7. The Journals and Letters... pp. 147-8 and n.
  8. The Journals and Letters... p. 280.
  9. Recreations and Studies of a Country Clergyman of the Eighteenth Century: being Selections from the Correspondence of the Rev. Thomas Twining. John Murray. 1882.
  10. Robinson, Charles J. (10 March 1883). "Review of Recreations and Studies of a Country Clergyman of the Eighteenth Century: being Selections from the Correspondence of the Rev. Thomas Twining". The Academy. 23 (566): 163–164.
  11. Chisholm 1911.

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