Thomas Thistle

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Thomas Thistle (born 22 November 1853 Toxteth Park, Liverpool, Lancashire, England and died 7 February 1936 Eling vicarage, Southampton Hampshire) was an Anglican priest in England, New Zealand and Australia. He became headmaster of Hereford Cathedral School,[1] a medieval foundation.

Family background[edit]

Thomas Thistle was the son of Thomas Thistle, a wool draper and gentleman of Liverpool (born 1813 Ugglebarnby, Yorkshire died 1892) and Alice Smith (born c. 1817 Whitby, North Riding of Yorkshire died 1893). This Thomas Thistle had a brother, Michael Thistle who drowned in the Neptune in about 1838.

His younger brother William George Thistle (1856–1901) was a medical doctor. A description of him stated that: "William George MRCS LRCP was a most engaging scamp of dissolute habits, an amusing raconteur and bonviveur generally. He made a disastrous marriage and died without issue" [2]

His grandmother Martha Thistle (née Wilson 1779 - 1848) was the younger sister of Jane Robinson murdered at Eskdaleside in 1841.


He attended Durham School from 1866 to 1873 and in 1873 matriculated aged 19 at Corpus Christi College, Oxford University. In 1877, he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree and in 1881 a Master of Arts both from Oxford.

Later life[edit]

In 1878 he was made a deacon and in 1879 a priest, both in London. From 1878-1882 he worked as a curate at Holy Trinity Marylebone within the Diocese of London. In 1881 he was unmarried and living at Great Portland Street, Marylebone.

In 1883, Thistle arrived at Waihora, Auckland, New Zealand. From 1883-1884 he worked as an assistant master at Auckland College. In 1884 he was an examiner at the University of New Zealand. In 1885 he received his general licence in the diocese of Tasmania, Australia. From 1885-1886 he was warden at Christ Church College, Hobart Tasmania. On 30 November 1886 he received his letters testimonial from the bishop of Tasmania. He subsequently returned to England and from 1887-1890 worked as assistant to the headmaster of Ripon Grammar School. From 1890-1897 he was headmaster at Hereford Cathedral school. In 1891 with wife residing Hereford St John. From 1897 until his death he was vicar of Eling, Southampton within the Diocese of Winchester.

The Thistle Chapel, Eling[edit]

Eling parish church is the tenth oldest church in England, dating back to 850. The church contains a "Thistle chapel", furnished in memory of Thomas Thistle[3]


The Offices of St Wilfrid affording to the use of the church of Ripon: from A Psalter belonging to the Dean and Chapter of Ripon Cathedral, with an English translation (1893) by John Whitham (Chapter clerk of Ripon Cathedral and a Life member of the Yorkshire Archeological Society) assisted by Rev. Thomas thistle, M.A. (late assistant head master of the Ripon Grammar School and now head master of the Hereford Grammar school)


  1. ^
  2. ^ Thistle Family by H. Robinson published privately 1957
  3. ^