Authors: Thomas Fuller

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

English clergyman and historian

Author Works


David’s Hainous Sinne, 1631

Poems and Translations in Verse, 1868


The Historie of the Holy Warre, 1639

The Holy State, 1642 (also includes The Profane State; also known as The Holy State and the Profane State)

The Church-History of Britain, 1655

The History of the Worthies of England, 1662

The Collected Sermons of Thomas Fuller, 1631-1659, 1891


Thomas Fuller’s father, of the same name, was the rector of Aldwinkle parish; the writer’s mother was Judith Davenant, a sister of John Davenant, who became the bishop of Salisbury. Most of Fuller’s early education came from his father. At the age of thirteen the boy entered Queen’s College, Cambridge, where his uncle, soon to become a bishop, was president of the college and Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity. Later Fuller went to Sidney Sussex College, taking his A.B. in 1625 and an M.A. in 1628. In 1630 he became an Anglican priest and obtained the curacy of St. Benet’s Church, in Cambridge. A year later he was appointed by his uncle, now bishop of Salisbury, to the prebend of Netherbury in Ecclesia in Salisbury. In 1634 Fuller resigned his curacy at Cambridge to become the rector at Broadwindsor, in Dorsetshire. He took his B.D. at Cambridge in 1635 and in 1638 married a woman of unknown family. His first historical writing, The Historie of the Holy Warre, appeared in 1639 and was, according to contemporary reports, popular for many years.{$I[AN]9810000583}{$I[A]Fuller, Thomas}{$I[geo]ENGLAND;Fuller, Thomas}{$I[tim]1608;Fuller, Thomas}

In 1640 Fuller was elected to the convocation that proposed strong action against reformers in the Church, although he personally disapproved of the recommended severity. His first wife died in 1641, about the time he gave up his prebend and his living at Broadwindsor. Moving to London, he preached at the Inns of Court and became curate at the Savoy. He was a popular preacher even though he advocated moderation in those troubled times. In 1642 his popular book The Holy State was published. When the Puritans became suspicious of him, Fuller left London for Oxford, where he was welcomed by the royalists and became chaplain to Sir Ralph Hopton, one of Charles I’s generals. Upon the birth of Princess Henrietta, in 1644, Fuller was made her chaplain by the king and became a member of the princess’s household at Exeter. Following the defeat of the royalist forces he was befriended by many influential persons, including Sir John Danvers, one of the judges at the trial of Charles I, and by the earl of Carlisle. The earl, who had joined the victorious regime, made Fuller his personal chaplain.

In 1651 Fuller was married a second time, to the daughter of Viscount Baltinglasse. During the 1650’s he lectured and preached in London and, even more important, worked on his church history, which was published in 1655. In 1658 he became personal chaplain to the earl of Berkeley as well as rector at Cranford. With the Restoration Fuller’s life became easier. He was made a doctor of divinity by letter of Charles II and resumed lecturing at the Savoy. He was also restored to his prebend at Salisbury and the rectorship at Broadwindsor. He died, apparently from typhus, during the summer of 1661. His The History of the Worthies of England was published posthumously in 1662 through the efforts of his son.

BibliographyAddison, W. Worthy Dr. Fuller. London: Dent, 1951.Bailey, John E. The Life of Thomas Fuller, with Notices of His Books, His Kinsmen, and His Friends. London: B. M. Pickering, 1874.Bush, Douglas. English Literature in the Earlier Seventeenth Century, 1600-1660. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press, 1945.Gibson, S. “A Bibliography of Fuller.” Oxford Bibliographical Society 4 (1936).Houghton, W. E. The Formation of Thomas Fuller’s Holy and Profane States. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1938.Lyman, D. B. The Great Tom Fuller. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1935.Roberts, S. C. Thomas Fuller: A Seventeenth-Century Worthy. Manchester, England: Manchester University Press, 1953.
Categories: Authors