Thomas Wakefeld

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Thomas Wakefeld (or Wakefield) (died 1575) was an English academic, the first Regius Professor of Hebrew at Cambridge University.

The Regius Professorship of Hebrew in the University of Cambridge is an ancient academic chair at the University of Cambridge founded by King Henry VIII in 1540.



He was born at Pontefract, Yorkshire. He was educated at the University of Cambridge, graduating B.A. in 1523. [1] On 9 November 1540, by then M.A., he was appointed by King Henry VIII to the newly established professorship of Hebrew at Cambridge. This carried with it membership of Trinity College.

Pontefract market town in West Yorkshire, England

Pontefract is a historic market town in West Yorkshire, England, near the A1 and the M62 motorway. Historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, it is one of the five towns in the metropolitan borough of the City of Wakefield and has a population of 28,250, increasing to 30,881 at the 2011 Census. Pontefract's motto is Post mortem patris pro filio, Latin for "After the death of the father, support the son", a reference to the English Civil War Royalist sympathies.

Yorkshire Historic county of Northern England

Yorkshire, formally known as the County of York, is a historic county of Northern England and the largest in the United Kingdom. Due to its great size in comparison to other English counties, functions have been undertaken over time by its subdivisions, which have also been subject to periodic reform. Throughout these changes, Yorkshire has continued to be recognised as a geographical territory and cultural region. The name is familiar and well understood across the United Kingdom and is in common use in the media and the military, and also features in the titles of current areas of civil administration such as North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and East Riding of Yorkshire.

Henry VIII of England 16th-century King of England

Henry VIII was King of England from 1509 until his death in 1547. He was the second Tudor monarch, succeeding his father Henry VII. Henry is best known for his six marriages, in particular his efforts to have his first marriage annulled. His disagreement with the Pope on the question of such an annulment led Henry to initiate the English Reformation, separating the Church of England from papal authority. He appointed himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England and dissolved convents and monasteries, for which he was excommunicated. Henry is also known as "the father of the Royal Navy"; he invested heavily in the Navy, increasing its size greatly from a few to more than 50 ships.

Between 1549 and 1553, and again between 1569 and 1575, the office of reading the Hebrew lecture was discharged by others. It is likely that Wakefeld was disqualified due to alleged Roman Catholic sympathies.

He died in 1575, and was buried on 24 April at Chesterton, near Cambridge.

Chesterton, Cambridge human settlement in the United Kingdom

Chesterton is a suburb in the northeast corner of Cambridge, England, 2.4 kilometres (1.5 mi) north of Cambridge station, on the north bank of the River Cam.


His Locutiones seu Phrases in Novo Testamento, quae videntur secundum proprietates linguae Hebraeae remained in manuscript.


Wakefield's brother Robert Wakefeld was also a scholar of language, and it has been suggested that John Wakefeld, gentleman, controller of the household of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer was his brother as well. Another 'Thomas Wakefeld' was servant to Cranmer in 1537. Wakefeld was twice married: first at the age of forty. He had nine children, three sons and six daughters.

Thomas Cranmer 16th-century English Archbishop of Canterbury and Protestant reformer

Thomas Cranmer was a leader of the English Reformation and Archbishop of Canterbury during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI and, for a short time, Mary I. He helped build the case for the annulment of Henry's marriage to Catherine of Aragon, which was one of the causes of the separation of the English Church from union with the Holy See. Along with Thomas Cromwell, he supported the principle of Royal Supremacy, in which the king was considered sovereign over the Church within his realm.


  1. "Wakefield, Thomas (WKFT522T)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.

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