Comber, Thomas (1575-1654) (DNB00)


COMBER, THOMAS, D.D. (1575–1654), master of Trinity College, Cambridge, and dean of Carlisle, was born at Shermanbury, Sussex, on 1 Jan. 1575, being the twelfth son of his father, who was a barrister-at-law. From a public school at Horsham he was sent to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was elected to a scholarship in 1593, and to a fellowship in 1597. He graduated M.A. in 1598. For three years he lived in France, in the house of the learned protestant, Du Moulin. On his return from that country he was appointed chaplain to James I, by whose command he disputed publicly at St. Andrews with some Scotch divines. On 26 June 1615 he was instituted to the rectory of Worplesdon, Surrey; on 28 Aug. 1629 he was presented to the deanery of Carlisle; and on 12 Oct. 1631 admitted master of Trinity College, Cambridge. In the latter part of 1631, and again in 1636, he was vice-chancellor of the university. He was ejected from all his preferments and imprisoned for assisting in sending the university plate to the king, and for refusing the covenant. He died on 28 Feb. 1653-4, and was buried, on 3 March, in St. Botolph's Church, Cambridge, without any sepulchral monument. His funeral sermon was preached in Trinity College Chapel by Robert Boreman, B.D., and published under the title of 'The Triumph of Faith over Death, or the Just Man's Memoriall,' London, 1654, 4to.

Comber was skilled in the Hebrew, Arabic, Coptic, Samaritan, Syriac, Chaldee, Persian, Greek, and Latin languages, and he had besides a colloquial knowledge of French, Spanish, and Italian. He was the author of:

  1. Greek and Latin verses on the death of Dr. William Whitaker, printed with that divine's 'Opera Theologica' (1610), i. 711.
  2. 'Epistola reverendo admodum doctissimoque viro D. J. Morino, Congregationis Oratorii presbytero, de Exemplari quodam MS. Pentateuch Samaritani quod erat in Anglia,' dated from Trinity College, Cambridge, 25 April 1633. In 'Antiquitates Ecclesige Orientals (London, 1682), 193.

[Funeral Sermon by Boreman; Addit. MSS. 5826 f. 120 b, 5865 f. 32; Carter's Cambridge, 331; Cole's MSS. xlv. 238, 239, 257; Comber's Memoirs of Dr. T. Comber, Dean of Durham, 7, 12, 13, 393, 395; Cooper's Annals of Cambridge, iii. 378; Lansdowne MS. 985, f. 98; Le Neve's Fasti (Hardy), iii. 247, 606, 699; Lloyd's Memoirs (1677), 447; Manning and Bray's Surrey, iii. 101; Nicolson and Burn's Westmoreland and Cumberland, ii. 304; Plume's Life of Bishop Hacket (1865), 13; Querela Cantabrigiensis (1647), 29; Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy, ii. 9, 10; Welch's Alumni Westmon. (Phillimore), 20; Willis's Survey of the Cathedrals, i. 304; Wood's Fasti (Bliss), i. 408.]

T. C.