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HEARNE, THOMAS (1678-1735), an English antiquary, was born in 1678 at Littlefield Green, in the parish of White Waltham, Berkshire, where his father, the parish clerk, in payment of the rental of the vicarage house in which he lived, taught ten boys yearly. Thomas, after of Bray, "on purpose to learn the Latin tongue." This gentleman in 1695 took him into his house, and his education was continued at Bray till the Easter of 1696, when he was sent to study at Edmund Hall, Oxford. There his diligence and scholarship attracted the attention of Dr John Mill, the editor of the Greek Testament with various readings, who employed him to compare several MSS. Hearne took the degree of B.A. in 1699, and on account of the reputation he had acquired for his knowledge of books lie was in 1701 appointed assistant-keeper of the Bodleian Library. There at his own option he set himself diligently b correct the catalogue, and prepared an appendix treasures of the library induced him to refuse many valuable preferments, and in 1712 he was appointed second keeper, with the stipulation made by himself that he should also be janitor, so as to obtain access to the library at any time he pleased. In 1711 or 1715 he was elected architypographus and esquire beadle of civil law in the university, but, an objection being taken to his holding this office along with that of second librarian, he resigned it in the November following. In January 1716 he was compelled, on account of his refusal to take the oaths to the Government, to resign also his appointment of librarian, but lie continued to reside principally at Oxford, where he occupied himself chiefly in preparing for publication the works of old English authors. His injudicious and inappropriate insertion of Jacobite sentiments in his prefaces awakened, however, the hostility of the university magnates, and subjected him to several prosecutions. He died 10th June 1735. Though Hearne was somewhat indiscriminate in his antiquarian taste, and rambling and desultory in his style of composition, his persevering diligence and minute accuracy enabled him to do valuable service in bibliography.
His publications were nearly all printed by subscription at Oxford. The principal of them are - Thcctor Historicus; Reliquice Bodlciance; an edition of Livy; Spelman's Life of Alfred the Great; Leland's Itinerary ; Leland's Collectanea; Acta DgostoZorunm; Tili Lieu Foro-juliensis Vita Henrici Quinti, Regis Anglia; Aluredi Beverlacensis Anreales; Gulielnii Roperi Vita D. Tlunnce Mori Eqlditis Aurati; Gulielmi Cann-Zeta Annales Rerun, Anglicarum et Hibernicarum regnanle Blizabetha ; Gsnhetauti Neubrigensis Historia; Thomr. Sprotti Chronica; A Collection of Curious Discourses written by Eminent Antiquaries upon. English Antiquities; Roberti de A vesbury His'oeia de Mirabilibus Cestis Edwardi III.; Johannis de Fordun Scotiehronieom GenUilt21171,; History and Antiquities of Glastonbury; Robert of Gloucester's Chronicle; Annals of Dunstable; and Benedict, Abbot of Peterborough. Most of these have been reprinted. His MSS. were left by him to Dr William Bradford, of whom they were bought by Dr Richard Rawlinson and bequeathed to the Bodleian Library. Bibliotheca Hearniana, _Excerpts from the Catalogue of Thomas Hearne, appeared in 1848. .Rcliquicc lIcarnianog, the remains of Thomas Hearne, of Edmund Hall, being extracts from his MS. diaries, collected with a few notes by Philip Bliss, was published in two volumes, Oxford, 1857; 2d ed., London, 1.369.
See Impartial Memorials of the Life and Writings of Thomas Hearne, ALA., by several hand:, London, 1736; Lines of Leland, Hearne,and Wood, Oxford, 1772; and Nich,d's Literary Anecdotes. Letters addressed to T. Hearne. edited by T. Ouvry, were privately printed at Landon, 1S74, Bliss's copy of The Life of T. Hearn?, with copious notes, is in the library of the British Museum.