Wilson, Thomas (1747-1813) (DNB00)

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WILSON, THOMAS (1747–1813), master of Clitheroe grammar school, son of William and Isabella Wilson, was born at Priest Hutton, in the parish of Warton, near Lancaster, on 3 Dec. 1747, and educated at the grammar schools of Warton and Sedbergh. At the latter school he was an assistant under Dr. Wynne Bateman from 1768 to 1771. He was ordained deacon at Westminster on 13 Jan. 1771, and priest at Chester on 2 Aug. 1772. In the following June he was licensed as headmaster of Slaidburn grammar school, and in June 1775 became master of the Clitheroe grammar school, Lancashire, and incumbent of the parochial chapel of the town. In 1779 he entered himself of Trinity College, Cambridge, and took the degree of B.D. there in 1794, under a statute now abolished. In 1807 he was appointed rector of Claughton, near Lancaster. Towards the end of the eighteenth century he formed an intimate acquaintance with Thomas Dunham Whitaker [q. v.], and joined a literary club formed by him. He was a successful schoolmaster, a ready versifier, and a social favourite on account of his amiability, genial wit, and copious fund of anecdote. His besetting weakness was punning.

He died on 3 March 1813, and was buried in the chancel of Bolton-by-Bowland church, where a tablet was afterwards erected with a Latin inscription by Whitaker, copied from a monument erected by Wilson's pupils in Clitheroe church. He married, on 29 April 1775, Susannah Tetlow of Skirden, widow of Henry Nowell, rector of Bolton-by-Bowland. She was forty-four, and he only twenty-eight. A portrait of Wilson, painted by J. Allen, is engraved in the Chetham Society's volume. Another portrait by the same artist was engraved by W. Ward in Wilson's lifetime; and a third portrait came out as a lithograph.

His only literary publication, in addition to two assize sermons (1789 and 1804), was an ‘Archæological Dictionary, or Classical Antiquities of Jews, Greeks, and Romans,’ 1783, 8vo, dedicated to Dr. Samuel Johnson; but his ‘Lancashire Bouquet’ and other occasional verses were circulated in manuscript, and were collected and printed, along with his correspondence, by Canon F. R. Raines for the Chetham Society in 1857.

[Raines's Memoir, prefixed to Wilson's Miscellanies; Gent. Mag. 1819, i. 291.]

C. W. S.