Thomas Henry Louth (Lowth)

Thomas Henry Lowth was born in Chilbolton, Hampshire, on 18 December 1753. He was the son of Robert Lowth, a cleric, Oxford professor of poetry and the author of one of the most influential textbooks on English Grammar, and his wife Mary, daughter of Lawrence Jackson of Christchurch, Hampshire. At the time of Thomas's birth, Robert was Rector of East Woodhay in Hampshire.

In 1762 Robert published a Short Introduction to English Grammar. Originally written for the benefit of Thomas, it was printed following a request from Robert's patron, Henry Bilson Legge, a statesman who was Chancellor of the Exchequer three times in the 1750s and 1760s, for a copy for his own son.

Robert was consecrated Bishop of St Davids in May 1766, translated to Oxford in July of that year and to London in 1777. On the death of Frederick Cornwallis in 1783, he was offered the Archbishopric of Canterbury, but declined for reasons of ill-health.

Thomas was educated at Winchester, where he was a gold medalist for Latin verse. He was admitted to Christ Church, Oxford, in 1772 and subsequently became a Fellow of New College. In 1776 he was awarded the Chancellor's English Essay Prize for his submission On Architecture.

Thomas was ordained Deacon on 15 June 1777, and Priest on 21 December of that year. He was instituted as Rector of Thorley on 5 January 1778 and a few weeks' later, on 4 February, collated to a Prebendary stall at Chichester.

Thomas died on 7 June 1778, aged 24, having served for only five months as Rector of Thorley. He is buried in the family tomb at All Saints', Fulham.

Philip Hargrave
November 2011


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