Thomas Thurlow
Bishop of Durham
Thomas Thurlow British Museum.jpg
ChurchChurch of England
Term ended1791 (death)
PredecessorJohn Egerton
SuccessorShute Barrington
Other post(s)Bishop of Lincoln (1779–1787)
Personal details
Born1737 (1737)
Died(1791-05-27)27 May 1791
Portland Place, Marylebone, Middlesex, Great Britain
BuriedTemple Church, City of London, Great Britain
SpouseAnne Beere
Alma materThe Queen's College, Oxford
Magdalen College, Oxford

Thomas Thurlow (1737–1791) was an English bishop.


Thurlow was born in 1737 in Ashfield, Suffolk, the second son Rev. Thomas Thurlow (died 1762), rector of Little Ashfield. His older brother was Lord Chancellor Edward, Lord Thurlow.[1]

Coat of Arms of Thomas Thurlow as Bishop of Durham
Coat of Arms of Thomas Thurlow as Bishop of Durham

Thurlow matriculated at The Queen's College, Oxford in 1754, aged 18, but transferred to Magdalen College, Oxford, where he held a demyship 1755–1759 then a fellowship 1759–1772, graduating B.A. 1758, M.A. 1761, B.D. 1769, D.D. 1772.[2]

He became Rector of Stanhope, County Durham in 1771, Master of the Temple in 1772, Dean of Rochester in 1775, Bishop of Lincoln in 1779, additionally Dean of St Paul's in commendam in 1782, and was Bishop of Durham from 1787 until his death.[1][2]

He died in Portland Place, London, on 27 May 1791, and was buried in Temple Church.[1]


His rectum is displayed in the Hunterian Museum in London, with the following description:

"A rectum showing the effects of both haemorrhoids and bowel cancer. The patient in this case was Thomas Thurlow (1737-1791), the Bishop of Durham. Thurlow had suffered from some time from a bowel complaint, which he initially thought was the result of piles. He consulted John Hunter after a number of other physicians and surgeons had failed to provide him with a satisfactory diagnosis. Hunter successfully identified the tumour through rectal examination, but recognised that it was incurable. Thurlow died 10 months later."[3]


Thurlow married Anne Beere, daughter of William Beere. They had the following children:[4]


  1. ^ a b c "Thurlow, Thomas" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  2. ^ a b Foster, Joseph. "Thurlow, Thomas" . Alumni Oxonienses  – via Wikisource.
  3. ^ Abrahams, Marc (27 April 2010). "The bishop's rectum: The Hunterian Museum in London displays the rectum of Thomas Thurlow, an unfortunate bishop who died of a tumour in 1791". The Guardian. Improbable research ... Retrieved 8 September 2012.
  4. ^ The Annual Peerage of the British Empire. Vol. 2. 1827. p. 307. Retrieved 18 October 2020.
  5. ^ "Thurlow, Thomas (THRW806T)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
Church of England titles Preceded byBenjamin Newcombe Dean of Rochester 1775–1779 Succeeded byRichard Cust Preceded byJohn Green Bishop of Lincoln 1779–1787 Succeeded byGeorge Pretyman Tomline Preceded byThomas Newton Dean of St Paul's 1782–1787 Preceded byJohn Egerton Bishop of Durham 1787–1791 Succeeded byShute Barrington