Thomas Gale – Dean of York


Thomas Gale

Several years before his death, genealogist Bill Murphy told Steve Mashburn that his grandmother said that Edward Mashborne’s school teacher became Dean of York.

If that is true (and some of Bill’s assertions have been proven false), then that person would have been Rev. Thomas Gale. This assertion is supported by the fact that Gale was appointed the high schoolmaster at St Paul’s in 1676 and stayed until 1697 when he became Dean of York (about the time Edward Mashborne left for America).

Also, Thomas Gale was the uncle of Christopher Gale, the North Carolina judge who Edward Mashborne clerked for in Bertie County. Judge Gale later appointed Edward Mashborne as a Justice of the Peace in Onslow County. Interestingly, the Thomas Giles the younger, Christopher’s brother, became a missionary for the SPG in North Carolina.

However, several factors indicate that Bill Murphy was glorifying our ancestry and that Edward Mashborne did not attend Paul’s School.

Charles John Somerville, an University of Florida historian who is an recognized expert on childhood in the 17th and 18th century, was asked if Edward Mashburn’s letters to the Society of Propagation of the Gospel contained any indication of where he may have received his schooling.

Date: 11/14/00

Dear Steve,

Thanks for sending the letters. The only thing that strikes me about them is that Mashburn doesn’t list the school that he attended (if any) in London, which would have been known to the officials of the SPG. Nor does he indicate that he would be capable of teaching Latin, to anyone who wanted to go on to any of the (three) colonial colleges that could prepare them for the ministry. The letter seems a bit awkward too, at a time when grammar school students would have been trained in epistolary prose. But after all, service on the colonail frontier would not have been a very attractive career possibility for people then, and we can assume that Mashburn’s prospects had not been very bright in London. I expect that his schooling must have been spotty.

John Sommerville

St. Dunstan-in-the-West, Mashborne’s home parish, operated a school. Since it would have been a common English school, rather than a Latin school, it is more likely that Edward Mashborne received his education there.


The portrait that is labeled as being Edward Mashborne in the William Murphy Collection at the Joyner Library in East Carolina University is actually John Radcliffe and was painted by George Vertue in 1719. The portrait was given to the National Portrait Gallery in 1916 by Sir Herbert Henry Raphael, 1st Bt.
Why and how the portrait came to be labeled as Edward Mashborne is unknown. We publicized the correct identification a while ago but I have just discovered that one of Vertue’s patrons was Samuel Gale, the son of Thomas Gale and a cousin of Christopher Gale.

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By the way, Thomas Gale was married to Barbara Pepys, a cousin of the diarist Samuel Pepys and the father-in-law of William Stukeley, a friend and biographer of Issac Newton.

Stuckley is responsible for the story of Newton and the apple falling from the tree. See


Thomas Gale. Wikipedia (2016.) Retrieved 16 October 2016 from