Thomas, Thomas (DNB00)

THOMAS, THOMAS (1553–1588), printer and lexicographer, born in the city of London on 25 Dec. 1553, was educated at Eton school. He was admitted a scholar of King's College, Cambridge, on 24 Aug. 1571, and a fellow on 24 Aug. 1574. He proceeded B.A. in 1575, commenced M.A. in 1579, and on 20 Jan. 1580–1581 was enjoined to divert to the study of theology. On 3 May 1582 he was constituted the first printer to the university of Cambridge, but nothing from his press appeared before 1584, when he issued the edition of Ramus's ‘Dialectics’ by (Sir) William Temple (1555–1627) [q. v.] About 1583 he had begun to print a book by William Whitaker [q. v.], and had other works in readiness for the press, when the Stationers' Company of London, regarding the proceedings as an infringement of their privileges, seized his press and materials. The vice-chancellor and heads of colleges applied to their chancellor, Lord Burghley, requesting his interposition on behalf of their ancient privilege. Eventually Burghley wrote in reply, stating that he had consulted Sir Gilbert Gerrard, master of the rolls, to whom he had submitted their charter, and who concurred with him in opinion that it was valid.

Thomas, who was called by Martin Mar-Prelate the puritan Cambridge printer, laboured with such assiduity at the compilation of his Latin dictionary as to bring on a fatal disease. He was buried in the church of St. Mary the Great, Cambridge, on 9 Aug. 1588.

Ames enumerates seventeen works which came from his press. He was the author of: ‘Thomæ Thomasii Dictionarium summa fide ac diligentia accuratissime emendatum, magnaque insuper Rerum Scitu Dignarum, et Vocabulorum accessione, longè auctius locupletiusque redditum. Hinc etiam (præter Dictionarium Historicum & Poeticum, ad profanas historias, poëtarumque fabulas intelligendas valdè necessarium) novissimè accessit utilissimus de Ponderum, Mensurarum, & Monetarum veterum reductione ad ea, quæ sunt Anglis iam in usu, Tractatus,’ Cambridge, 1587, 8vo; 3rd ed. Cambridge, 1592, 4to; 4th ed. Cambridge, 1594, 4to; ‘quinta editio superioribus cum Græcarum dictionum, tum earundem primitivorum adiectione multo auctior,’ Cambridge, 1596, 4to; 6th edit. Cambridge, 1600, 8vo; 7th ed. Cambridge, 1606, 4to; 10th ed. Cambridge, 1610, 4to; ‘cum Supplemento Philemonis Hollandi,’ London, 1615, 4to, 1619, 8vo; 12th ed. London, 1620, 4to; 13th ed. 1631, 4to; 14th ed. London, 1644, 4to. The dictionary is dedicated to Lord Burghley. It was largely used by John Rider (1562–1632) [q. v.] in his ‘Dictionary’ published in 1589. In the subsequent editions Rider was obliged to make numerous additions and alterations in consequence of an action brought against him by Thomas's executors. Francis Gouldman of Christ's College, Cambridge, afterwards brought out a new edition of Thomas's dictionary.

The following work is also ascribed to Thomas: ‘Fabularum Ovidii interpretatio ethica, physica, et historica, tradita in academia Regiomontana a Georgio Sabino; in unum collecta et edita studio et industria T. T.,’ Cambridge, 1584, 12mo.

[Ames's Typogr. Antiq. (Herbert); Bowes's Cat. of Cambridge Books; Cooper's Annals of Cambridge, ii. 393; Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr. ii. 29, 543; Hartshorne's Book Rarities of Cambridge, p. 211; Harwood's Alumni Eton. p. 185; Mullinger's Hist. of Cambridge Univ. vol. ii.; Patent Roll, 4 James I, pt. vi.; Strype's Annals, iii. 195, 442, Appendix p. 65, iv. 75 fol.; Tanner's Bibl. Brit.; Worthington's Diary, ii. 46.]

T. C.