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Thomas Dale (priest)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Thomas Dale
Thomas Dale

Thomas Dale (22 August 1797 – 14 May 1870) was a British priest in the Church of England who was the Dean of Rochester for a brief period in 1870.[1] He was also a poet and theologian.


Dale was born in Pentonville and educated at Christ's Hospital and Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.[2][3]

Until 1826 Dale was a curate at St Michael, Cornhill, and then began a long association with St Bride, Fleet Street. He was also evening lecturer at St Sepulchre-without-Newgate before being appointed the incumbent of St Matthew's Denmark Hill. [4] He served as Professor of English at London University from 1828 to 1830. This was the first professorial appointment in the subject of English in England. As an evangelical and "Christian ideologue" he found the university secular to the point of being "godless", clashed in particular with his colleague Thomas Hewitt Key, and resigned, to be succeeded by Alexander Blair. He then founded a school in Camberwell, where John Ruskin was among his pupils.[5][6]

Grave of Thomas Dale in Highgate Cemetery
Grave of Thomas Dale in Highgate Cemetery

Dale became a prebendary of St Paul’s Cathedral in 1843, holding the stall of Caddington Minor and an honorary canon. In 1846 he became vicar of St Pancras' Church and was also the Golden Lecturer at St Margaret Lothbury. While at St Pancras', William Brown Galloway was his curate. Dale is credited with founding St Mark's Church in St Mark's Square.[7] His last position before becoming the dean in Rochester was at St Therfield Therfield.[8]


Dale married Emily Jane Richardson (1800-1849) on the 22nd November, 1819 and they had at least nine children, the eldest of whom Thomas Pelham Dale became an Anglo-Catholic ritualist priest who was prosecuted and imprisoned for ritualist practices.


Thomas Dale died on the 14th May 1870[9] and is buried on the western side of Highgate Cemetery,[10] close to the grave of Catherine Dickens, which may not be coincidental given the Dickens' connection with Rochester. There is an inscription on the grave in remembrance of his wife Emily Jane, though she is buried in the vaults of St Pancras Church. Dale, being convinced of the danger of interment in crowded centres, had put aside his strong desire to be placed beside her in death and given the weight of his influence to the sealing up of the vaults of the Church. It was said that from Dean Dale’s grave in Highgate Cemetery, may be seen many of the churches he caused to be built.[11]


  • The widow of the city of Naïn: and other poems, 1819
  • The Tragedies of Sophocles (translator), 1824
  • An introductory lecture upon the study of theology and of the Greek testament delivered at the opening of the Theological Institution, Saturday, Nov. 21st, 1829
  • The poetical works of the Rev. Thomas Dale, M.A., 1836


  1. ^ "The Late Dean Of Rochester", The Times 17 May 1870, p. 6.
  2. ^ "Dale, Thomas (DL817T)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  3. ^ "The Dean Of Rochester", obituary in The Times, 5 February 1870, p. 5.
  4. ^ Lost churches of Southwark Diocese
  5. ^ Burns, Arthur. "Dale, Thomas". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/7019. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  6. ^ Court, Franklin E. (1992). Institutionalizing English Literature: The Culture and Politics of Literary Study, 1750-1900. Stanford University Press. pp. 62–7. ISBN 9780804720434. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  7. ^ St Marks, Regent's Park Archived 2012-12-24 at,, accessed 19 April 2013
  8. ^ "The New Dean Of Rochester", The Times, 11 February 1870, p. 3.
  9. ^ Births, Deaths, Marriages and Obituaries, The Morning Post (London, England), 19 May 1870; p. 8.
  10. ^ Cansick, Frederick Teague. "The Monumental inscriptions of Middlesex". Retrieved 2 April 2021.
  11. ^ Dale, T., DALE, Helen Pelham, & Wesley, John. (1894). The Life and Letters of Thomas Pelham Dale ... Edited by his daughter, Helen Pelham Dale. P.98

External links

Church of England titles
Preceded by
Robert Stevens
Dean of Rochester
February–May 1870
Succeeded by
Robert Scott
This page was last edited on 28 September 2021, at 15:39
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