Bishop Thomas Tanner
Thomas Tanner was born on 24th January 1674 in Market Lavington where his father, also Thomas, was the vicar.
He was educated at Queen’s College, Oxford. He took Holy Orders in 1794 and had a varied clerical career from then on. In 1732 he was appointed Bishop of St Asaph in North Wales. Thomas died in 1735. He is buried at Oxford.
Apart from being a cleric in Holy Orders, Thomas Tanner was also a noted antiquary. He produced books which are still seen as valuable reference works with his best known being a survey of the religious houses of England.
Bishop Tanner may have left Market Lavington, but he did not forget his roots. In his will, of 1735 Bishop Tanner left money for an annual sermon on St. Paul’s Day, 25 January. The preacher was to receive 13s. 4d. (67p) for delivering it and small payments were to be made to the sexton, parish clerk, and the bell-ringers for their duties on that day. This tradition still continues and the museum curator, who is also a bell ringer, has received 5p for ringing at a St Paul’s Day service.
The Bishop Tanner Charity also left money for good works in the parish.
Thomas Tanner will be amongst the local worthies mentioned in the Museum Miscellany on Saturday September 18th at 7.30pm. This event will take place in the Community Hall and tickets are on sale at Market Lavington Post Office.