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

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WAKEFELD, THOMAS (d. 1575), first regius professor of Hebrew at Cambridge, was born at Pontefract in Yorkshire. Robert Wakefeld [q. v.] was a brother, and so probably was John Wakefeld, gentleman, controller of the household of Archbishop Cranmer (Maitland, Early Printed Books, 354; Remains of Thomas Cranmer, ed. Jenkyns, i. 233). He was educated at Cambridge, but in what hall or college is not known (Cooper, Athenae Cantabr. i. 337). On 9 Nov. 1540, being then master of arts, he was appointed by Henry VIII to the newly established professorship of Hebrew at Cambridge (Lansdowne MS. 980, f. 1; Ascham, Epist. 1590, p. 106). This carried with it membership of Trinity College. Between 1549 and 1553, and again between 1569 and 1575, the office of reading the Hebrew lecture was discharged by others (Lamb, History of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, p. 233; cf. arts. Fagius, Paul, and Tremellius, John Immanuel); whence it has been inferred that Wakefeld was disqualified by his adherence to the old religion, his learning and capacity being unquestioned (Mullinger, University of Cambridge, ii. 416-17).

Wakefeld was twice married: first at the age of forty. He had nine children, three sons and six daughters. These particulars he has himself recorded in a marginal note on a passage of 'Philo' (Maitland, Early Printed Books, p. 357). He died in 1575, and was buried on 24 April at Chesterton, near Cambridge, where one wife was buried on 26 Dec. 1570 (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1547-80, p. 255). A Thomas Wakefeld of Cambridge, possibly a son, was admitted of Brasenose College, Oxford, and matriculated on 20 July 1578, at the age of sixteen (Foster, Alumni Oxon. iv. 1553). A Thomas Wakefeld was also servant to Archbishop Cranmer in 1537 (Remains of Cranmer, ed. Jenkyns, i. 205).

Wakefeld wrote 'Locutiones seu Phrases in Novo Testamento, quae videntur secundum proprietates linguae Hebraeae;' but the work, so far as can be ascertained, has never been printed. Many rare books bearing annotations by him are now in the library of Lambeth Palace.

[Authorities quoted in text. Most of them are referred to by Cooper.]

J. H. L.