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Thomas Scott

Thomas Scott (1747-1821) was born at Braytoft in Lincolnshire, the son of a grazier. He was educated at several private schools until 1762 when he was apprenticed to a surgeon and apothecary at Alford, Lincolnshire. He was soon dismissed for bad conduct and spent several years working as a labourer for his father.

In 1772 he travelled to London to seek ordination as an Anglican minister. He became a curate at Stoke Goldington and Weston Underwood in Buckinghamshire, exchanging the Stoke curacy for that of Ravenstone in 1775. Scott taught himself Hebrew, and became a diligent student of the Scriptures in the original tongues. In December 1774 he married Jane Kell, housekeeper to a local family.

During this period, Scott began a friendship and correspondence with John Newton, curate of neighbouring Olney. This instigated the examination of his conscience and study of the Scriptures that were to convert him into an evangelical Christian, a conversion he related in his spiritual autobiography The Force of Truth published in 1779 (reprinted by the Trust, 1984). In 1781, he transferred to the curacy of Olney when Newton moved to St Mary Woolnoth, London.

In 1785 Scott also moved to London to take up a post as a hospital chaplain at the Lock Hospital for syphilis sufferers. He would walk 14 miles every Sunday, preaching and taking services at various churches as well as at the hospital chapel. While in London he started publishing the Commentary On the Whole Bible that was to make his name. His wife died in 1790, and he remarried in 1791. During his time in London he was one of the founders of the Church Missionary Society, and its first Secretary.

In 1803, Scott left the Lock Hospital to become Rector of Aston Sandford in Buckinghamshire where he remained until his death in 1821. He kept up his involvement with the Church Missionary Society, taking in trainee missionaries for instruction. Scott had two daughters and three sons, all three of whom went into the Anglican ministry.