Thomas Tanner (1674-1735), bishop of St Asaph and antiquary, was born at Market Lavington, Wiltshire, on 25 January 1674, the eldest child of Thomas Tanner (? 1640-1719) and his first wife, Sarah Willoughby (d. 1711). After education at home and at Salisbury Free School, Tanner matriculated, on 17 December 1689, at Queen's College, Oxford. He proceeded BA in 1693, MA in 1696, and BD and DD in 1710. He married twice in the early 1700s but both his wives died soon after marriage, as did his young daughters. His son by his second wife, Thomas Tanner, survived into adulthood and died in 1786. He married his third wife, a rich heiress in 1733.
Tanner worked with numerous scholars on many antiquary publications throughout his life, including editions of Camden's Britannia (1695) and Leland's De scriptoribus (1748).
On 27 January 1695 he was appointed by the warden, Leopold William Finch, to the chaplaincy of All Souls, Oxford after completing his deacon's orders in 1694. On 2 November 1696 he was elected a fellow of All Souls and while resident in Oxford continued his research in Cambridge, London and Norwich for the compilation of Edward Bernard's Catalogue of Manuscripts (1697, 1.249/63, 268/71) in 1697. In 1698 Tanner was appointed chaplain to John Moore, bishop of Norwich, and between 1701 and 1707 he was gifted many archdeaconries in Suffolk and Norfolk. On 26 December 1721 Tanner was raised to the archdeaconry of Norfolk; he vacated his stall at Ely on 15 February 1724, when he was installed as a canon of Christ Church. He died at Christ Church, Oxford 'of a bloody flux' on 14 December 1735.
Autograph, hand of Charles Cowles, and other hands.
Includes: (fo. 41) poem 'On the funeral of Robert Trotman Esq.'; (fo. 47v) poem, beg.: 'At Kirton near Bostone (my story is true ...'; (fo. 56) notes on Cambridgeshire items in PRO; (fo. 91) speech by Sir Simonds D'Ewes in parliament, on the antiquity of the University of Cambridge, 2 Jan. 1641; (fo. 100) 'Cantabrigiae Origo etc.': legendary account of early Cambridge; (fo. 102) chronicle of Cambridge, 1229-1388, with abstract of return for Cambridge from hundred rolls; (fo. 104v) account of Cambridge incidents during peasants' revolt; (fo. 140) abstracts of mainly medieval docs re, in particular, Fordham, Isleham, and Wicken, and probably drawn from muniments of the Peyton family, formerly of Isleham. The Wicken section contains many records re Spinney Priory.
Formerly in the possession of Reuben Frederic Cowles (fo. 10) and of Charles Cowles (1811, fo. 61), both of Blundestone, Suffolk. Belonged to R. Cory Jr, solicitor of Yarmouth, Norfolk, before 1820. Sold by him on 17 Jan. 1820 (inside front cover), perhaps along with another MS re Chilford Hundred, Cambridgeshire (fo. 9). Subsequently acquired, before 1837, by Sir Thomas Phillipps, and thereafter Phillipps MS 2935. Sold at Sotheby's Phillipps sale, 17 May 1897, lot 72. Purchased by the Library from Quaritch, 13 Apr. 1898, for £4.