Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Skinner, Thomas (1629?-1679)

SKINNER or SKYNNER, THOMAS (1629?–1679), historian, probably son of Nicholas Skinner, gent., who was educated at Bishops Stortford and was admitted sizar of St. John's College, Cambridge, on 29 May 1646, at the age of sixteen (Mayor, Admissions to the College of St. John the Evangelist, Cambridge, i. 78). He proceeded doctor of medicine from St. John's College, Oxford, on 17 July 1672, and is described as sometime of Cambridge University (Wood, Fasti, ii. 333; Foster, Alumni Oxonienses, 1500–1714, p. 1362). Skinner practised at Colchester, and is stated to have been ‘physician to the Duke of Albemarle, when residing at New Hall in Essex’ (Preface to Skinner's Life of Monck, p. xcii; cf. Wortley's translation of Guizot's Life of Monck, p. xiv). He was buried at St. Mary's, Colchester, on 8 Aug. 1679 (Morant, History of Colchester, p. 118).

Skinner was the author of: 1. ‘Elenchi Motuum Nuperorum in Anglia pars tertia, sive Motus Compositi,’ 8vo, 1676. This was a continuation of Bates's ‘Elenchus;’ an English translation of all three parts was published in 1685. 2. ‘The Life of General Monk, Duke of Albemarle,’ 8vo; this was published in 1723 by William Webster, curate of St. Dunstan's-in-the-West, with a preface vindicating Monck's character, and attributing the manuscript to Skinner. A letter from Skinner to the secretary of state in January 1677 states that he was solicited by the second Duke of Albemarle to write a life of his father in Latin, but only this English version of the life has survived. Skinner applied to Dr. Samuel Barrow and others for assistance in his task, and claims to have had access to a collection of Monck's papers (Notes and Queries, 1st ser. i. 377, 8th ser. iv. 421). But his book is of little value, and contains no information respecting Monck's career of any special value.

[Authorities mentioned in the article.]

C. H. F.