Robert Thistlethwayte

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Robert Thistlethwayte (baptized 16 December 1690 – c. January, 1744) was the third son of Francis Thistlethwayte (b. 1658) of Winterslow, Wiltshire.[1] He was a Warden of Wadham College, Oxford and clergyman in the Church of England.[2]

In 1737 Thistlethwaite fled to Boulogne after being accused of making homosexual advances towards a student, William French, whose tutor John Swinton was also accused of homosexual practices. Satirical poetry was written about these events.[3] The following limerick possibly also refers to Thistlethwayte.[4]

There once was a Warden of Wadham
Who approved of the folkways of Sodom,
For a man might, he said,
Have a very poor head
But be a fine Fellow, at bottom.

Allegations of homosexual behaviour, which was considered scandalous at that time, and the College's decision to take out fire insurance combined to prompt the following verse:[citation needed]

Well did the am'rous sone of Wadham
Insure their house 'gainst future flame;
They knew their crime, the crime of Sodom,
And judg'd their punishment the same.


  1. ^ National Biography: Thistlethwayte, Robert
  2. ^
  3. ^ Norton, Rictor (2004-06-05). "The State of Rome, 1739". Archived from the original on 2006-09-25. Retrieved 2006-12-24. 
  4. ^ Norton, Rictor (1998). "Bawdy Limericks". Archived from the original on 2006-09-25. Retrieved 2006-12-24. 
Academic offices
Preceded by
William Baker
Warden of Wadham College, Oxford
Succeeded by
Samuel Lisle

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