Thomas Hutchinson, who was vicar at Cocking from 1737 until his death in 1769, was a prominent academic in the 18th century, who translated the writings of the ancient historian, Xenophon, from Greek to Latin and published several sermons and an essay on demoniacal possession.
Thomas Hutchinson was born in Bishop Middleham in County Durham, the son of Peter Hutchinson and his wife Anne. He was baptised at St Michael’s Church on 17 May 1698.
Thomas matriculated on 28 March 1715, aged 16, and attended Lincoln College, Oxford, from where he graduated as Bachelor of Arts in 1718, going on to obtain his M.A. in 1721.
On 7 February 1725, 26-year old Thomas married 21-year old Catherine Tilliard (both described as of “St Peter’s in the City of Oxford”) at the Church of St Andrew, Holborn in London.
Thomas was beginning to gain a reputation as a scholar, and in 1727 he published his first major work, a translation of Xenophon‘s ‘Cyropaedia’ from Greek into Latin. Xenophon was a 4th century B.C. Greek military leader and historian who became commander of the army of the defeated King Cyrus. The Cyropedia was also known as ‘The Education of Cyrus’.
Thomas received his first preferment as priest on 5 April 1731, when he was instituted as rector of Lyndon in Rutland. His patron was Samuel Barker, a fellow scholar and expert on Hebrew grammar. Thomas resigned his position at Lyndon on 13 April 1734, but continued his academic studies, obtaining his Bachelor of Divinity at Hart Hall, Oxford (now Hertford College) in 1733, followed by his Doctor of Divinity (D.D.) in 1738.
In 1735, he published his second major work, a translation of Xenophon’s Anabasis (The Persian Expedition), followed by The Usual Interpretation of Daimones and Daimonia in 1738. Cyropedia and Anabasis were both reprinted several times up to 1830, including in the Unites States.
After eleven years of marriage, Thomas and Catherine’s first child, Catherine, was born on 22 April 1736, and baptised at St Anne’s, Soho on 27 April.
On 4 January 1737, Thomas Hutchinson was collated both as a canon of Chichester Cathedral, as prebendary of Selford (Seaford), and as vicar of Cocking, by the Bishop of Chichester, Francis Hare.
Thomas Hutchinson and his wife and daughter probably lived in Cocking for a few years, where their son, also Thomas, was baptised at Cocking church on 8 December 1741.
Apart from the baptism of his son, the only other mention of Thams Hutchinson in the Cocking parish register was when he signed the burial register on 1 September 1742.
On 20 October 1742, on the presentation of John Potter, now Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Hutchinson was instituted as vicar of Horsham, by Bishop Matthias Mawson. Following his appointment at Horsham, Thomas remained as vicar of Cocking, but appointed curates to administer to the spiritual needs of his parishioners, including John Wilson, from 1742 to 1753, and Robert Robson, who was curate from July 1753 onwards.
In his capacity as vicar of Horsham, Thomas Hutchinson also served as a governor of Collyer’s Grammar School in the town.
Three further children were born at Horsham: John (baptised 7 February 1743), William (baptised 17 November 1746) and Ann (baptised 8 December 1748). At the time of the birth of her fifth child, Catherine Hutchinson was 44 years old.
Several of Thomas Hutchinson’s sermons at Horsham were published as pamphlets, as were an essay on demoniacal possession and a survey of the use of ceremonial law in 1740.
Thomas Hutchinson died at Horsham in 1769 and was buried there on 7 February.
Other family members
Thomas’s eldest daughter, Catherine, married William Vallance in 1760 in Southwick, near Shoreham. He was the grandson of John Gray, who had been the vicar of Southwick from 1700 to 1751.
The son, Thomas, followed in his father’s footsteps and graduated from Magdalen College, Oxford in 1762, becoming a fellow of the college and also the vicar at Beeding until his death in 1812.
England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975
London and Surrey, England, Marriage Bonds and Allegations, 1597-1921
London, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812
Oxford University Alumni, 1500-1886
UK, Extracted Probate Records, 1269-1975
Westminster, London, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1558-1812
Challen, W.H. The Parish Register of Cocking, Sussex (1558–1837) pp. 58, 108
Clergy of the Church of England Database:
The Horsham Society Newsletter: August 2010 (p. 60) Rev Thomas Hutchinson: from Greek to Latin – to a best seller. Slyfield, Brian
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: Hutchinson, Thomas (2004)