William Hepworth Thompson - Encyclopedia




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WILLIAM HEPWORTH THOMPSON (1810-1886), English classical scholar and master of Trinity College, Cambridge, was born at York on the 27th of March 1810. He was privately educated before entering the university. In 1834 he became a fellow of Trinity, in 1853 professor of Greek (to which a canonry in Ely Cathedral was then for the first time attached), and in 1866 master of his college. With the exception of the year 1836, when he acted as headmaster of a newly established school in Leicester, his life was divided between Cambridge and Ely. He died at the master's lodge on the 1st of October 1886. Thompson proved a worthy successor to Whewell; the twenty years of his mastership were years of progress, and he himself took an active part in the abolition of tests and the reform of university studies and of the college statutes. As a scholar he devoted his attention almost entirely to Plato; and his Phaedrus (1868) and Gorgias (1871), with especially valuable introductions, still remain the standard English editions of these two dialogues. He also edited (1856) from the author's MSS. Lectures on the History of Ancient Philosophy by William Archer Butler (1814-1848;(1814-1848; lecturer on moral philosophy at Trinity College, Dublin), the value of which was greatly enhanced by Thompson's notes.

See article by J. W. Clark in Dict. Nat. Biog.; and J. E. Sandys, History of Classical Scholarship (;908), vol. iii.

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