Thomas Thurlow (bishop)

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Thomas Thurlow
Bishop of Durham
Thomas Thurlow British Museum.jpg
ChurchChurch of England
Term ended1791 (death)
PredecessorJohn Egerton
SuccessorShute Barrington
Other postsBishop of Lincoln (1779–1787)
Personal details
Born1737 (1737)
Ashfield, Suffolk
Died(1791-05-27)27 May 1791
Portland Place, London
BuriedTemple Church, London
SpouseAnne Beere
Alma materThe Queen's College, Oxford
Magdalen College, Oxford

Thomas Thurlow (1737–1791) was an English bishop.


Thurlow was born in 1737 in Ashfield, Suffolk, the second son Rev. Thomas Thurlow (died 1762), rector of Little Ashfield. His older brother was Lord Chancellor Edward, Lord Thurlow.[1]

Coats of Arms of Thomas Thurlow

Thurlow matriculated at The Queen's College, Oxford in 1754, aged 18, but transferred to Magdalen College, Oxford, where he held a demyship 1755–1759 then a fellowship 1759–1772, graduating B.A. 1758, M.A. 1761, B.D. 1769, D.D. 1772.[2]

He became Rector of Stanhope, County Durham in 1771, Master of the Temple in 1772, Dean of Rochester in 1775, Bishop of Lincoln in 1779, additionally Dean of St Paul's in commendam in 1782, and was Bishop of Durham from 1787 until his death.[1][2]

He died in Portland Place, London, on 27 May 1791, and was buried in Temple Church.[1]


His rectum is displayed in the Hunterian Museum in London, with the following description:

"A rectum showing the effects of both haemorrhoids and bowel cancer. The patient in this case was Thomas Thurlow (1737-1791), the Bishop of Durham. Thurlow had suffered from some time from a bowel complaint, which he initially thought was the result of piles. He consulted John Hunter after a number of other physicians and surgeons had failed to provide him with a satisfactory diagnosis. Hunter successfully identified the tumour through rectal examination, but recognised that it was incurable. Thurlow died 10 months later."[3]


Thurlow married Anne Beere, daughter of William Beere. They had the following children:[4]

  • Amelia Anne Thurlow (1779–1809), married in 1799 Lieut.-Gen. Sir Edward Howarth KCB
  • Edward Hovell-Thurlow (1781–1829), poet, succeeded as 2nd Baron Thurlow in 1806, married in 1813 Mary Catherine Bolton, actress
  • Elizabeth Thurlow
  • Anne Elizabeth Thurlow (1784–1875), married in 1804 Charles Godfrey
  • Rev. Thomas Thurlow (1788–1874), Rector of Boxford, Suffolk[5], married in 1811 Maria Frances Lyon, daughter of Thomas Lyon MP


  1. ^ a b c "Thurlow, Thomas" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  2. ^ a b Foster, Joseph. "Thurlow, Thomas" . Alumni Oxonienses  – via Wikisource.
  3. ^ Abrahams, Marc (27 April 2010). "The bishop's rectum: The Hunterian Museum in London displays the rectum of Thomas Thurlow, an unfortunate bishop who died of a tumour in 1791". The Guardian. Improbable research ... Retrieved 8 September 2012.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  4. ^ The Annual Peerage of the British Empire. 2. 1827. p. 307. Retrieved 18 October 2020.
  5. ^ "Thurlow, Thomas (THRW806T)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
Church of England titles
Preceded by
Benjamin Newcombe
Dean of Rochester
Succeeded by
Richard Cust
Preceded by
John Green
Bishop of Lincoln
Succeeded by
George Pretyman Tomline
Preceded by
Thomas Newton
Dean of St Paul's
Preceded by
John Egerton
Bishop of Durham
Succeeded by
Shute Barrington