Robertson, Thomas (fl.1520-1561) (DNB00)

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ROBERTSON or ROBINSON, THOMAS (fl. 1520–1561), schoolmaster and dean of Durham, was born at or near Wakefield in Yorkshire early in the sixteenth century. He entered at Queen's College, Oxford, but migrated to Magdalen, where at some uncertain date he was elected demy. He graduated B.A. on 18 March 1520–1, and M.A. on 5 July 1525. He was by this time, according to Wood, ‘a great vilifier of the Questionists in the university,’ that is to say, he opposed the scholastic teachers of theology. In 1526 he became master of Magdalen College school, succeeding not John Stanbridge [q. v.], as Mr. Sommer says, but the less celebrated Thomas Byshoppe. About this time also he was elected fellow of Magdalen. He continued at the school till 1534, and established his reputation as a teacher; Henry Knowles and Bishop Parkhurst bore testimony to his merits (Parkhurst, Epigrammata Juvenilia, 1573, p. 28). John Longland [q. v.], bishop of Lincoln, spoke in his favour to Cromwell in 1537, saying he had long been his chaplain. He was one of the divines who signed the preface to the ‘Institution of a Christian Man’ in 1537, and on 3 July 1539 he became B.D. He was then said by Wood to be ‘Flos et decus Oxoniæ.’ On 30 Oct. 1540 he was collated treasurer of Salisbury Cathedral; he held this office till May 1548. He took part in the discussions as to Anne of Cleves' divorce. On 19 Feb. 1540–1 he was collated archdeacon of Leicester, then in the diocese of Lincoln; he continued archdeacon till his resignation in December 1560. He became vicar of Wakefield in 1546. At one time and another he held various prebends in Lincoln Cathedral, and he took part in many ecclesiastical commissions during the reign of Edward VI (Dixon, Church Hist. vol. ii. passim). Robertson took part in the drawing up of the prayer-book of 1548, but was dissatisfied with the result. Accordingly he welcomed the advent of Queen Mary, and was on 23 July 1557 made dean of Durham. After Elizabeth's accession he refused the oath of supremacy and resigned his deanery. In 1561 he was described as ‘one thought to do much harm in Yorkshire.’

Robertson took part in the composition of Lily's ‘Latin Grammar.’ He also published ‘Annotationes in librum Gulielmi Lilii de Latinorum nominum generibus,’ &c., Basle, 1532, 4to, a collection of four grammatical tracts. Printed among Burnet's ‘Records,’ at the end of his ‘History of the Reformation,’ are ‘Resolutions of some Questions relating to Bishops and Priests,’ &c., and ‘Resolutions of some Questions concerning the Sacraments,’ both by Robertson.

[Bloxam's Mag. Coll. Reg. vol. ii. p. xli, iii. 80 n., 81–7, 108, iv. 21, 51; Reg. Oxf. Univ. (Oxf. Hist. Soc.) i. 118; Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, xi. 60, vol. xiii. pt. ii. p. 662; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1547–80 p. 104, 1581–90 pp. 92, 296; Add. 1547–65 p. 524, 1566–79 p. 233; Le Neve's Fasti, ed. Hardy; Tanner's Bibl. Brit.-Hib.; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; Bale, xi. 91; Pits, De Angliæ Scriptt. p. 732; Wood's Athenæ, ed. Bliss, i. 320–1.]

W. A. J. A.