Thomas Warton, the elder (c. 1688 –10 September 1745), was an English clergyman and schoolmaster, known as the second professor of poetry at Oxford, a position he owed to Jacobite sympathies.
He was born about 1688, son of Antony Warton (1650–1715), vicar of Godalming. He matriculated at Hart Hall, Oxford, on 3 April 1706, but soon migrated to Magdalen College, where he held a demyship from 1706 to 1717, and a fellowship from 1717 to 1724. He graduated B.A. on 17 February 1710, M.A. in 1712, and B.D. in 1725.
In 1717-18 Warton circulated both in manuscript and in print a satire in verse on George I, which he entitled The Turnip Hoer, and wrote lines for the "Old Pretender" James III's picture. No copy of either composition is now known. His Jacobite sympathies made him popular in the university, and he was elected professor of poetry, in succession to Joseph Trapp, on 17 July 1718. He was re-elected, in spite of the opposition of the Constitution Club, for a second term of five years in 1723. He retired from the professorship in 1728. He possessed small literary qualifications for the office, and his election provoked the sarcasm of Nicholas Amhurst, who satirized Warton across three numbers of his Terrae Filius; "Squeaking Tom of Maudlin" is the sobriquet Amhurst conferred on him.
After 1723 Warton ceased to reside regularly in Oxford. In that year he became vicar of Basingstoke, Hampshire, and master of the grammar school there. Among his pupils was the naturalist Gilbert White.He remained at Basingstoke till his death, but with the living he held successively the vicarages of Framfield, Sussex (1726), of Woking, Surrey, from 1727, and of Cobham, Surrey. He died at Basingstoke on 10 September 1745, and was buried in the church there.
He married Elizabeth, second daughter of Joseph Richardson, rector of Dunsfold, Surrey, and left two sons, Joseph Warton and the better-known Thomas Warton, and a daughter, Jane Warton.
Warton was a writer of occasional verse, but published none collectively in his lifetime. After his death his son Joseph issued, by subscription, Poems on several Occasions by the Rev. Thomas Warton, London, 1748. Some 'runic' odes are included, and are said to have drawn the attention of the poet Thomas Gray to those topics.The chronology of his work has been discussed.
Thomas Warton was an English literary historian, critic, and poet. He was appointed Poet Laureate in 1785, following the death of William Whitehead (poet). He is sometimes called Thomas Warton the younger to distinguish him from his father Thomas Warton the elder. His most famous poem is The Pleasures of Melancholy, a representative work of the Graveyard poets.
Joseph Warton was an English academic and literary critic.
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William Herbert, 2nd Marquess of Powis was a Welsh aristocrat and Jacobite supporter.
James Merrick (1720–1769) was an English poet and scholar; M.A. Trinity College, Oxford, 1742: fellow, 1745: ordained, but lived in college. It is said that "[h]e entered into holy orders, but never could engage in parochial duty, from being subject to excessive pains in his head". He published poems, including The Chameleon; translated from the Greek and advocated the compilation and amalgamation of indexes to the principal Greek authors; versified the Psalms, several editions of which were set to music. His work was featured in Oxford religious poetry anthologies.
Thomas Turner was an English churchman and academic, Archdeacon of Essex and President of Corpus Christi College, Oxford.
John Towneley (1697–1782) was an English gentleman from a Roman Catholic family, who served in the French Army and supported the Jacobite Rising of 1745. Living in Paris for around 30 years, he also translated Hudibras into French.
Thomas Newcomb (1682?–1765) was an English clergyman and teacher, known as a poet. He was pro-government writer of the ascendance of Robert Walpole, associated to Walpole through the interest of his patron Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle.
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Joseph Smith (1670–1756) was an English churchman and academic, Provost of The Queen's College, Oxford, from 1730.
The History of English Poetry, from the Close of the Eleventh to the Commencement of the Eighteenth Century (1774-1781) by Thomas Warton was a pioneering and influential literary history. Only three full volumes were ever published, going as far as Queen Elizabeth's reign, but their account of English poetry in the late Middle Ages and Renaissance was unrivalled for many years, and played a part in steering British literary taste towards Romanticism. It is generally acknowledged to be the first narrative English literary history.
Thomas Newlin (1688–1743) was an English cleric, known as a preacher.
Jane Warton published poetry, essays, conduct literature, and a novel, and was a member of a prominent literary family.