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Thomas Gaisford

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Thomas Gaisford 22 December 1779 – 2 June 1855 was an English classical scholar and clergyman He served as Dean of Christ Church from 1831 until his death


  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Academic career
  • 3 Personal life
  • 4 Legacy
  • 5 Quotations
  • 6 Notes
  • 7 References

Early lifeedit

Gaisford was born at Iford Manor, Wiltshire, and educated at Hyde Abbey School, Winchester before entering the University of Oxford in 1797,

Academic careeredit

At Oxford, he became successively student and tutor of Christ Church In 1811, he was appointed Regius Professor of Greek in the University Taking orders, he held 1815–1847 the college living of Westwell, Oxfordshire, and other ecclesiastical preferments simultaneously with his professorship In 1829, he was offered the position of Bishop of Oxford, but he turned it down From 1831 until his death, he was Dean of Christ Church

As curator of the Bodleian Library and principal delegate of the Oxford University Press, Gaisford was instrumental in securing the cooperation of distinguished European scholars as collators, notably Bekker and Dindorf Among his numerous contributions to Greek literature may be mentioned, Hephaestion's Encheiridion 1810; Poëtae minores Graeci 1814–1820; Stobaeus' Florilegium 1822; Herodotus, with variorum notes 1824; Suidas' Lexicon 1834; Etymologicum Magnum 1848 Eusebius's Praeparatio evangelica 1843 and Demonstratio evangelica 1852

Personal lifeedit

On 11 May 1815 Gaisford married Helen Margaret Douglas 1791-1830 the daughter of the Rev Robert Douglas They had five children After she died in 1830, he married Jane Catharine Jenkyns 1787–1863; she was the sister of Dr Richard Jenkyns, master of Balliol College and Dr Henry Jenkyns

On 23 June 1843, Gaisford's 21-year-old son, William Gaisford, drowned while swimming in the river Thames at Sandford Lock - a notoriously dangerous spot He got into difficulties and his friend, Richard Phillimore the son of Joseph Phillimore, entered the water to save him However, both men perished They are buried in Christ Church Cathedral They are commemorated by an obelisk at Sandford Lock and two memorial tablets in the north walk of the Cathedral cloisters1


The Gaisford Prize was founded in Gaisford's honour in 1856, shortly after his death Gaisford Street in Kentish Town, north London, was named in his honour


  • "Nor can I do better, in conclusion, than impress upon you the study of Greek literature, which not only elevates above the vulgar herd, but leads not infrequently to positions of considerable emolument" –Th Gaisford, Christmas Day Sermon in the Cathedral, Oxford Rev W Tuckwell, Reminiscences of Oxford, 2nd ed, 1907, p 124
  • "It was said that Gaisford, on his visit to Germany, had some difficulty in escaping from the 'umarmung' hug, embrace of some of its scholars, exclaiming in the apprehension of a 'kuss' kiss on both cheeks 'Ohe ! jam satis, amice'" GV Cox, Recollections of Oxford, London : Macmillan, 1870, p 411, fn 3 'Ohe ! jam iam satis, amice' means idiomatically : 'Oh, that's quite enough, my friend' The quotation derives with amendment from Abraham Cowley's Naufragium Joculare Ioculare 'The Hilarious Shipwreck', 1638, Act 1, sc 6 Geoffrey Thomas, Birkbeck College, University of London


  1. ^ Michael Popkin 2001 "Brave Deeds and Tragedies" OXFORD INSCRIPTIONS - Inscribed Stones and Plaques in Oxford Retrieved 2009-11-27 

NB: The London Courier and Evening Gazette 13 July 1815 has the following marriage announcement:- On 'Tuesday last, at Oxford, the Rev Thomas Gaisford, MA Regius Professor of Greek, and Rector of Westwell, Oxtordshire, Helen, second daughter of the late Rev Robert Douglas


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed 1911 "Gaisford, Thomas" Encyclopædia Britannica 11th ed Cambridge University Press 

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