Thomas Pury 1618/19-1693

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Thomas PURY 1618/19-1693

Biographical Note

Born in Gloucester, son of Thomas Pury, sheriff and alderman there and a leading member of the parliamentarian cause in Gloucestershire during the Civil War and Interregnum. He matriculated at Magdalen College, Oxford in 1635 but did not graduate; he entered Gray’s Inn in 1641 and was shortly afterwards working for an attorney in Staple’s Inn. He was a parliamentarian captain during the Civil War, receiver of the King’s rents in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire 1643-52, clerk of the peace 1646, MP for Monmouth 1646. He was still in military service in 1650 and may have travelled to Ireland then. MP for Gloucester 1656. As colonel of a foot regiment in 1660, and an associate of George Monck, he helped prepare the region for the Restoration, after which retained many of his offices. He was an attorney of the Court of Common Pleas in 1670.


Pury was a leading figure in the establishment of a public library in Gloucester in 1648, in the Chapter House of the then ejected Dean and Chapter, which subsequently became Gloucester Cathedral Library. He had the room fitted out as a library, raised funds, and himself gave £145 and an unrecorded number of books. He continued to be involved with the administration of the library and the obtaining of books until the Restoration. His father Thomas also made some donations, including a 1535 Coverdale Bible apparently taken from the royal collection and given to Pury by Oliver Cromwell. Pury junior seems not to have inherited a significant collection from his father, whose will mentions books only as part of “all household stuff” to be bequeathed to his wife.