Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Kent, Thomas

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KENT, THOMAS (d. 1489), mathematician, was elected fellow of Merton College, Oxford, in 1480. According to Tanner and Pits, he had no small reputation as an astronomer and mathematician, and issued predictions as to the severe winter and famine of 1490. He died, however, of the plague 7 Sept. 1489, and was buried in the Merton burying-ground. He is said to have written a treatise on astronomy, but if he did so it has perished.

Another Thomas Kent (fl. 1460) was clerk to the privy council. He graduated as a doctor of civil and canon law, probably at Cambridge, and was clerk to the privy council as early as 1444. His name consequently appears at the foot of many acts of the privy council (cf. Nicolas, Proceedings of the Privy Council, vi. 31, 37, 38, &c.; Stevenson, Letters and Papers illustrative of the Wars of the English in France during the Reign of Henry VI, i. 490, 493, &c.; for his signature see Brit. Mus. Cotton. MS. Galba, B. I. 151). Kent was frequently employed as an ambassador to various countries. On 4 July 1444 he was appointed, with Sir Humfrey Stafford, William Pyrton, and William Cotesbroke, to treat for commercial intercourse with Holland and Zealand (Rymer, Fœdera, xi. 67). On 20 July 1459 he was one of several commissioners, among whom was the Bishop of Durham, to treat with the king of Scotland about a truce (ib. xi. 424); his last embassy seems to have been entered upon 20 Sept. 1467, when he made arrangements for the marriage of Charles the Bold with Margaret, sister of Edward IV (ib. p. 390). His salary when on an embassy seems to have been 20s. a day (ib. p. 504). Meanwhile, on 7 Jan. 1444–5, he had been appointed sub-constable of England, at a salary of one hundred marks a year from the customs of Southampton (ib. p. 75). A Thomas Kent, who may have been the same as the ambassador, resigned the rectory of St. Dunstan-in-the-East, London, in 1443, and was presented to the rectory of Woodford, Essex, 22 Aug. 1458.

[Tanner's Biog. Brit.; Pits, Rel. Hist. de Reb. Angl. p. 914; Wood's Hist. and Antiq. of Univ. of Oxf. ed. Gutch, App. p. 203; Brodrick's Memorials of Merton (Oxf. Hist. Soc.), pp. 37, 64, 241. For the ambassador see authorities quoted; Newcourt's Repert. i. 333, ii. 662; and for his other embassies see Rymer's Fœdera, pp. 138, 186, 187, 189, 229, 233, 241, 269, 272, 274, 304, 415, 424, 504, 524, 541, 542, 563, 565, 576, 578, 590.]

W. A. J. A.