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Lockey, Thomasfree

  • E. T. Bradley
  • , revised by Nigel Ramsay

Thomas Lockey (1602?–1679)

by unknown artist

© Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

Lockey, Thomas (1602?–1679), librarian and Church of England clergyman, was born to unknown parents, probably in 1602. He obtained a king's scholarship at Westminster School and in 1618 was elected to Christ Church, Oxford. He contributed to the Oxford collection of verses on the death of Queen Anne in 1619. He matriculated at Christ Church on 16 March 1621, graduated BA on 18 May 1622, and proceeded MA on 20 June 1625 and BD on 12 June 1634. Lockey was vicar of East Garston, Berkshire, until 1633, and he or a namesake held the prebendal stall of Thorney in Chichester Cathedral from 1639 to 1642, but he resided at Oxford, where he was noted as a college tutor and a preacher. It was his manuscript copy of Thomas Hobbes's 'Human nature' which Francis Bowman used to print a surreptitious edition of the work in 1650. In January 1651 a sermon preached by Lockey before the university offended the parliamentary visitors, and led to a ban on his preaching and deprivation of his tutorship. He thereupon left Oxford until the Restoration.

On 21 July 1660 Lockey was made prebendary of Beminster Prima, and on 17 August of Alton Pancras, both in Salisbury Cathedral. On 28 September 1660 he was elected librarian of the Bodleian Library; two months later he proceeded DD. Lockey won the good opinion of visitors by his courtesy, but, according to Anthony Wood, was 'not altogether fit for that office' (Life and Times, 1.335). Thomas Hearne wrote that he designed the catalogue of John Selden's vast library (Remarks, 2.40). In a letter dated 15 July 1664 he wrote to Archbishop Sheldon of this 'accession of about 30,000 Authors, [that] I have by mine owne paynes disposed of in a Catalogue, to be inserted afterward in the general' (Bodl. Oxf., MS Tanner 338, fol. 180). His work was not well done or brought to completion, however, and his successor was left to employ others to catalogue the Bodleian afresh. On 8 September 1665 he received Clarendon, the chancellor of Oxford, and Clarendon's guest, the earl of Manchester, chancellor of Cambridge University, on their visit to the library, and delivered a Latin speech. This was his last function as librarian; he resigned the post on 29 November.

When abroad in 1663, Lockey had been nominated to the fifth stall of Christ Church Cathedral, but was not installed until 12 July 1665; he exchanged it for the fourth stall on 6 July 1678; he had given £100 towards the rebuilding of Wolsey's quadrangle in 1660. Lockey died of a 'surfeit of cherries' on 29 June 1679 and was buried in the north transept of Christ Church Cathedral on 7 July. His epitaph says that, 'though he had been twice to Rome, his own country ever delighted him and his own faith'. Lockey had formed a substantial collection: at his death he had 247 'pictures' (perhaps mostly prints), about eighty 'statues', a quantity of rings and medals, and a telescope 'with some other mathematicall instruments', as well as a choice library of books (valued at £200) (Philip, Inventory, 84), all of which he left to his executor, Henry Killigrew, prebendary of Westminster. His goods were valued at a total of £652 13s. 6d. Hearne described him as a very curious, nice man, and 'reckon'd the best in the university for classical learning' (Remarks, 2.40).


  • I. G. Philip, ‘Inventory of the goods of Dr Thomas Lockey’, Bodleian Library Record, 5 (1954–6), 80–84
  • I. Philip, The Bodleian Library in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (1983), 48–50
  • T. Lockey, letter to G. Sheldon, Bodl. Oxf., MS Tanner 338, fol. 180
  • Fasti Angl. (Hardy), 2.524, 525, 656, 657
  • [G. W. Wheeler], ‘A cataloguing failure’, Bodleian Quarterly Record, 2 (1917–19), 264–5
  • M. Burrows, ed., The register of the visitors of the University of Oxford, from ad 1647 to ad 1658, CS, new ser., 29 (1881), 316


Wealth at Death

£652 13s. 6d.: inventory, 3 July 1679, Philip, ‘Inventory’, 82–4

A. Wood, , 2 vols. (1691–2); 2nd edn (1721); new edn, ed. P. Bliss, 4 vols. (1813–20); repr. (1967) and (1969)
Oxford Historical Society
J. Le Neve, , ed. T. D. Hardy, 3 vols. (1854)
, 1–2, ed. G. F. R. Barker & A. H. Stenning (1928); suppl. 1, ed. J. B. Whitmore & G. R. Y. Radcliffe [1938]; 3, ed. J. B. Whitmore, G. R. Y. Radcliffe, & D. C. Simpson (1963); suppl. 2, ed. F. E. Pagan (1978); 4, ed. F. E. Pagan & H. E. Pagan (1992)
Camden Society
T. H. Aston, ed., , 4: , ed. N. Tyacke (1997)
Bodleian Library, Oxford