Thomas Hartwell Horne

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Thomas Hartwell Horne (20 October 1780 – 27 January 1862) was an English theologian and librarian.


He was born in London and educated at Christ's Hospital until he was 15 when his father died and he had to work.[1] He then became a clerk to a barrister, and used his spare time to write.

Horne was initially affiliated with the Wesleyans but later joined the Church of England. He was admitted to holy orders without the usual preliminaries, because of his published work. In 1833 he obtained a benefice in London and a prebend in St Paul's Cathedral.

Horne was a librarian in 1814 at the Surrey Institution, which was dissolved in 1823.[2] In 1824 he joined the staff at the British Museum and was senior assistant in the printed books department there until 1860. He prepared a new system for cataloguing books at the museum but it was never used there.[3] He did use it, however, to reclassify the extensive library of Frances Mary Richardson Currer in 1833.[4]


Horne wrote more than forty works in bibliography, Bible commentaries, and Christian apologetics. One of his best known works is the three-volume Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures that was published in 1818. This work enjoyed widespread circulation in Britain and North America and went through at least eleven editions during the nineteenth century. It was reissued in North America in 1970. Horne also produced a "Tree Full of Bible Lore," a tree-shaped text of statistics on the Bible, in which he counted the number of books, chapters, verses, words, and even letters. He ended this tree with "It [the Bible] contains knowledge, wisdom, holiness and love." (This "tree" is reproduced in the third series of Ripley's paperbacks, originally published hardbound in 1949.)

He wrote an Introduction to the Study of Bibliography (1814), and various other works. Over a period of four years he catalogued the Harleian manuscripts then held at the British Museum.

Biographical source

  • Clark, R. E. D., "Thomas Hartwell Horne," in The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church, edited by J. D. Douglas. (Extere: Paternoster Press, 1978). ISBN 0-85364-221-4

Select bibliography

File:Mount Moriah Biblical Keepsake.jpg
Mount Moriah, illustration from The Biblical Keepsake, engraving after J. M. W. Turner


  1. Appletons' annual cyclopaedia and register of important events of the year: 1862. New York: D. Appleton & Company. 1863. p. 517.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Thomas Hartwell Horne.
  3. Colin Lee, ‘Currer, Frances Mary Richardson (1785–1861)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 1 November 2014
  4. Stewart, C.J. A Catalogue of the Library Collected by Miss Richardson Currer, at Eshton Hall, Craven, Yorkshire. London: Privately printed, 1833
  5.  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1894). "Murphy, James Cavanah". Dictionary of National Biography. 39. London: Smith, Elder & Co.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainCousin, John William (1910). A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature. London: J. M. Dent & Sons. Wikisource