Authorised form of nameThoresby; Ralph (1658 - 1725); antiquary and topographer
Dates1658 - 1725
Place of birthLeeds, Yorkshire, England
Date of birth16 August 1658
Date of death16 October 1725
Dates and placesBurial:
In the chancel of St Peter's, the parish church, Leeds, Yorkshire, England
Research fieldBotany
Leeds Grammar School; in the household of his relative, John Dickenson, Merchant of London
Travelled to Rotterdam (1678); carried on the family business after the death of his father (1679); Member of the Incorporated Society of Merchant Adventurers trading to Hamburg (1684); a Nonconformist as a young man, he conformed to the Church of England (1699); retired from business (1705); assembled a 'Museum of Rarities' which, with his library, was sold at auction after the death of his son, Ralph
Membership categoryFellow
Date of election30/11/1697
Age at election39
Royal Society activityThoresby was elected a fellow of the Royal Society on the strength of an account of some Roman antiquities he had discovered in Yorkshire, communicated to the society by his correspondents Martin Lister and Dr Gale. Following his election, at least thirty of his communications to the society were published in the Philosophical Transactions. These deal with Roman and Saxon monuments in the north of England, with inscriptions on coins, or with accounts of uncommon accidents. Thoresby expanded his correspondence to include the prominent antiquarians and collectors within the Royal Society of the day, including Sir Hans Sloane.
RelationshipsParents: John Thoresby, Wool and Cloth Merchant, of Leeds and Ruth, daughter of Ralph Idle of Bulmer, Yorkshire
Spouse: Anna, daughter of Richard Sykes of Leeds
Children: 10 children
Published worksRCN R64902
RCN R66153
RCN R66150
General contextKnown for his work the Ducatus Leodiensis, or, The Topography of Leedes (1715).
There is a Thoresby Society in Leeds.
Related imagesDiscover a selection of related images in our picture library
Bulloch's Roll; DNB
W H G Armytage, 'Sir Godfrey Copley, FRS (1653-1709). Some Tercentenary Glimpses through Letters to his Friends' in NR 1954-55 vol 11 pp 54-74
P Fontes da Costa, 'The Culture of Curiosity at The Royal Society in the first half of the eighteenth century', NR 2002 vo l56 pp 147-166
Royal Society codeNA4383
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
RBO/11/9'Some Amendments and Additions to the Account of things found underground in Lincolnshire in the Transactions of May and June Anno Domini 1702 no 279' by Ralph Thoresby1723
RBO/7/49'An Account of the Roman Pottery' by Ralph Thoresby sent to Martin Listernd
LBO/11B/79Copy of part of a letter from Ralph Thoresby, Leeds, to Martin Lister10 July 1697
RBO/8/39'An account of a Young Man Slain with Thunder and Lightning December 22 1698' from Ralph Thoresby to Martin Lister1698
EL/T/64Extract of a letter, from Ralph Thoresby to John Chamberlayne, dated at Leeds5 February 1715
EL/T/54Letter, from Ralph Thoresby to Thomas Gale, dated at Leeds6 November 1697
EL/H3/88Letter, from Thomas Hearne to Ralph Thoresby, dated at Oxford3 January 1710
EL/T/62Letter, from Ralph Thoresby to John Chamberlayne, dated at Leeds6 December 1712
EL/T/55Letter, from Ralph Thoresby to Martin Lister22 December 1698
EL/T/52Letter, from Ralph Thoresby to Martin Lister, dated at Leeds11 November 1696
EL/T/58Letter, from Ralph Thoresby to John Evelyn, dated at Leeds24 June 1699
EL/T/56Letter, from Ralph Thoresby to John Evelyn, dated at Leeds15 February 1699
EL/T/60Letter, from Ralph Thoresby to Hans Sloane, dated at Leeds3 November 1711
EL/T/53Letter, from Ralph Thoresby to Martin Lister, dated at Leeds30 October 1697
EL/T/63Letter, from Ralph Thoresby to Hans Sloane, dated at Leeds25 February 1713
EL/T/61Letter, from Ralph Thoresby to John Chamberlayne, dated at London22 August 1712
CLP/16/29Figures, bases of columns for a Roman altar by Ralph Thoresby[1694-1697]
EL/T/59Letter, from Ralph Thoresby to Abraham Hill, dated at Leeds29 June 1700
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