Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Tyrwhitt, Robert (1735-1817)

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TYRWHITT, ROBERT (1735–1817), unitarian, born in London in 1735, was younger son of Robert Tyrwhitt (1698–1742), residentiary canon of St. Paul's, by his wife Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Edmund Gibson [q. v.], bishop of London. Thomas Tyrwhitt [q. v.] was his eldest brother. He entered as a pensioner at Jesus College, Cambridge, on 9 March 1753, and graduated B.A. in 1757, M.A. in 1760. On 3 Nov. 1759 he was admitted fellow of his college. His mind was early influenced by the theological writings of Samuel Clarke (1675–1729) [q. v.], but he went much further, renounced the doctrine of the Anglican articles, and took part with John Jebb [q. v.] in the movement (1771–2) for abolishing subscription at graduation. In 1777 he resigned his fellowship, and ceased to attend the college chapel, though still residing in college. On 5 Jan. 1784 he became a member of a unitarian ‘Society for promoting the Knowledge of the Scriptures,’ and contributed papers to the society's ‘Commentaries and Essays,’ vol. ii. No. vi. (1788). His income was narrow till, on the death (1786) of his brother Thomas, he came into considerable property, which he administered generously. He was one of the founders of the London ‘Unitarian Society’ (1791), but on the introduction into its preamble of the term ‘idolatrous,’ as applied to the worship of our Lord, he withdrew his name and cancelled his donation. From about 1808 he was confined to his rooms by gout. He died unmarried at Jesus College on 25 April 1817. He published two sermons preached before the university, and a reprint (1787) of his two papers in ‘Commentaries and Essays.’

[R. P. Tyrwhitt's Notices and Remains of the Family of Tyrwhitt, 1872, p. 73; Lindsey's Historical View, 1783, pp. 492 seq.; Monthly Repository, 1817 p. 316, 1819 p. 658, 1836 p. 474; Graduati Cantabr. 1823, p. 483; information from the records of Jesus College, kindly furnished by the master.]

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