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Thomas Tesdale

Thomas Tesdale (1547 1610) was an English maltster, benefactor of the town of Abingdon in the English county of Berkshire (now Oxfordshire) and the primary founding benefactor of Pembroke College, Oxford.

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Life and career

Thomas was born in Stanford Dingley in Berkshire, the son of farmer and trader Thomas Tesdale (1507 1556) and his second wife, the twice widowed Joan (d. 1548), daughter of William Knapp of Stanton Harcourt in Oxfordshire. After his father's death, Tesdale was brought up by his uncle, Richard Tesdale, a saddler who lived in Abingdon, and was the first scholar admitted to John Roysse's Free School in Abingdon (now Abingdon School).

Alabaster likeness of Maud Tesdale in the Tesdale monument in Glympton parish church
Alabaster likeness of Maud Tesdale in the Tesdale monument in Glympton parish church
By the age of twenty Tesdale had taken over the malt-making side of the family business. In June 1567 he married Maud (1545 1616), daughter of Reynold Stone of Henley-on-Thames and widow of Edward Little of Abingdon. None of their children survived infancy.

Tesdale grew weathly as maltster in Abingdon,[1] and served as Master of Christ's Hospital of Abingdon. In 1581 he was elected mayor, but he did not serve his term as he had left the borough when he bought the manor of Ludwell in Oxfordshire. Soon after 1586 he moved to Glympton near Woodstock, Oxfordshire, where he rented the manor, raised livestock and grew and milled woad for dyeing.[1]

Death and legacy

Tesdale died at Glympton on 13 June 1610 and was buried at Glympton parish church, where he was commemorated by a black marble tombstone in the chancel with a brass figure and inscription.[1] Following his widow's death in 1616 an ornate alabaster monument to husband and wife was erected on the chancel wall above his original tombstone.[1]

Tesdale left no children when he died, but bequests from his will dated 31 May 1610 gave 5,000 for the education of seven fellows and six scholars from Abingdon School at Balliol College, Oxford.[1] In 1623, this money was augmented by the Reverend Richard Wightwick of East Ilsley and used instead for the transformation of Broadgates Hall into Pembroke College, named after the Chancellor, William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke.

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