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HARDING, THOMAS (d. 1648), historian, was second master of Westminster School in 1610 and rector of Souldern, Oxfordshire, from 1622 to his death, 10 Oct. 1648. Whether he was the Thomas Harding of Cainbrridge, incorporated M.A. at Oxford 9 July 1611 (Oxf. Univ. Reg., Oxf. Hist. Soc.,ii. 358), is uncertain; but after his death he is called B.D., late of Oxford University. He married the widow of William Neile, chapter clerk of the Abbey, and she dying in 1650 was buried at St. Mary's Church, Oxford. Harding was eminent for his scholarship; his epitaph in Souldern Church says he was 'commonly called the Grecian for his eminence in that tongue,' and was remarkable 'for his holy and pious conversation, his hospitality, and charity to the poor.' He died 'in the time of the great revolution and change of church and state ... a true son of the church.' He built a new parsonage at Souldern, but left his family in poverty, for they were unable to publish his life's work, a history of church and state affairs, relating especially to England, for eight hundred years ending in 1626. A committee of the House of Commons licensed and recommended it for publication in 1641, and an effort was made in 1651 to publish it by subscription in a notice signed by Bishops Ussher and Gataker, Dugard of the Merchant Taylors' School offering to print it if the necessary 2,000l. was subscribed. These attempts failed, and in September 1695 the manuscript was advertised for sale in Whitechapel; its ultimate fate is undiscoverable (see Wood MSS. v. 658, p. 799, for Dugard's offer, and printed notice of sale of manuscripts, ib. v. 276, p. 88, in Bodleian Library).

[Welch's Alumni Westmonast. p. 17; Peck's Desiderata Curiosa, b. xii'. No. xvi. 502-6; Chester's Eegisters of Westminster Abbey, p. 123 w.; Hist, of Souldern, Oxford (Archæological Soc.), 1887.]

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