Bedford, Thomas (d.1773) (DNB00)


BEDFORD, THOMAS (d. 1773), nonjuror and church historian, was the second son of Hilkiah Bedford [q. v.], the nonjuror. He was educated at Westminster School, and proceeded to St. John's College, Cambridge, as sizar to Dr. Jenkin the master, matriculating in December 1730. In consequence of nonjuring principles he did not take a degree, nor did he enter the established church. He was admitted into orders by the nonjurors, and became chaplain in the family of Sir John Cotton, with whom he afterwards resided at Angers. His next home was in the county of Durham, where his sister was married to George Smith, son of Dr. John Smith, the learned editor of Bede. Here Bedford prepared an edition of Symeon of Durham's 'De Exordio atque Procursu Dunhelmensis Ecclesiæ libellus,' from what he supposed to be an original or contemporary manuscript in the cathedral library; from the same manuscript he added 'a continuation to the year 1164, and an account of the hard usage Bishop William received from Rufus,' and he prefaced the work with a dissertation by Thomas Rudd (Gough, Brit. Topography, i. 329). This book was published by subscription in 1732.

From Durham Bedford went to live in Derbyshire, at Compton,near Ashbourne, and officiated as minister to the nonjurors in the neighbourhood. He wrote an historical catechism in 1742. The first edition was taken from the Abbé Fleury's 'Catéchisme Historique,' but the second was so much altered that he omitted the abbé's name from the title-page. Bedford was a friend of Ellis Farneworth, the translator, and is said (Nichols, Anecdotes, ii. 392) to have translated for him Fleury's 'Short History of the Israelites,' published in Farneworth's name, in order to raise a few pounds for his friend when in pecuniary distress. Bedford lived at Compton till his death in February 1773.

[Nichols's Anecdotes; i. 169, ii. 392, vii. 698; Gough's British Topography (under Durham); Cole's Athenæ; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

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