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

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TURSWELL, THOMAS (1548–1585), canon of St. Paul's, born in 1548 at Bishop's Norton, Lincolnshire, was educated at Eton College (Harwood, p. 181). Thence he was elected in 1566 to a scholarship at King's College, Cambridge, being admitted on 23 Aug. On 24 Aug. 1569 he was elected fellow, and he graduated B.A. in 1570 and M.A. in 1574. In 1572–3 he was licensed to practise surgery by the university, and in 1578 to practise physic. He was incorporated at Oxford on 14 July 1579, and is said by Foster to have been licensed to practise medicine in 1578 and to have graduated M.D. in 1584. On 26 Jan. 1575–6 he vainly solicited from Burghley the post of keeper of the library at King's College, Cambridge. He is said to have been steward to John Whitgift [q. v.] while bishop of Worcester, and on 7 Nov. 1580 he was collated to the prebend of Portpoole in St. Paul's Cathedral. He died early in 1584–5, his successor being appointed on 1 March (Hennessy, Novum Repertorium Londin. p. 45, s.v. ‘Thurswell’).

Cooper (Athenæ Cantabr. ii. 101) attributes to Turswell the authorship of: 1. ‘The Schoolemaster or Teacher of Table Philosophy …,’ London, 1576, 4to; 2nd ed. 1583, 4to. 2. ‘A View of certain wonderfull Effects of late Dayes come to Passe … written by T. T. this 28 Nov. 1578,’ London, 1578, 4to. 3. ‘A Myrrour for Martinists … published by T. T.,’ London, 1590, 4to. The first of these works is usually assigned to Thomas Twyne [q. v.]; its dedication to Alexander Nowell [q. v.], dean of St. Paul's while Turswell was canon, is some presumption in Turswell's favour, but the ‘merry jests and delectable devises’ of which the fourth book consists are scarcely such as would be dedicated by a canon to his dean (cf. manuscript notes in British Museum copy of the 1583 edit.; Halkett and Laing, col. 2271). The second work is possibly by Turswell, though Thomas Tymme [q. v.], another of the numerous contemporary T. T.'s, is an equally probable candidate. The third is manifestly not by Turswell, because he died before the Martin Mar-Prelate controversy broke out.

[Works in Brit. Mus. Libr.; Hazlitt's Handbook and Collections; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1547–80, p. 515; Brydges's Censura Lit. v. 279; Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr. ii. 101; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Le Neve's Fasti, ii. 428; Newcourt's Repertorium, i. 200.]

A. F. P.