Authorised form of nameHenshaw; Thomas (1618 - 1700); alchemist and writer
Other forms of nameHalophilus
Dates1618 - 1700
Place of birthMilk Street, London, England, Europe
Date of birth15 June 1618
Place of deathKensington, London, England, Europe
Date of death2 January 1700
Dates and placesBurial:
Kensington parish church, London, England, Europe (6 January 1700)
OccupationBarrister; Soldier; Diplomat
Schools at Barnet and Cripplegate, London (-1634); University College, Oxford (matriculated 1634); Middle Temple (admitted 1638)
Joined the King's Army at York (1642); taken prisoner by Parliamentarians but released and went abroad; Major in the French Army and served under Sir Robert Moray (FRS 1663); travelled in Spain and in Italy with John Evelyn (FRS 1663); returned to England (c.1649); called to the Bar at Middle Temple (1654); sold his Middle Temple chamber to Elias Ashmole (FRS 1661) (1658); King's French Secretary and Gentleman of the Privy Chamber in Ordinary (1660); Secretary to the Duke of Richmond on his Embassy to Denmark (1671); prepared for publication Stephen Skinner's 'Etymologicum linguae Anglicanae' (1671) and the second edition 'Aero-Chalinos' (1677); Envoy extraordinary in Denmark (1672-1675)
Membership categoryOriginal Fellow
Date of election22/04/1663
Royal Society activityRoyal Society roles:
Secretary 1668-1672; 1675-1677; VP 1676-1680; 1682- ; 1686- ; 1690- ; 1695-
Committee and panels:
Committee to audit Mr. Colwall's accounts (1677) ; Committee to consider of the best way to dispose of Chelsey [Chelsea] College (1678)
RelationshipsParents: Benjamin Henshaw and Anne Bonham
Siblings: Nathaniel Henshaw (FRS 1663)
Married: Anne Darell (née Kipping)
Children: six sons and two daughters, one of which, Anne Halsey, survived her parents
General contextHenshaw's early life was heavily influenced by the civil war and upon his return to England, he sought scholarly and intellectual pursuits in favour of life in the public eye. He associated closely with John Evelyn (FRS 1663), alchemist Thomas Vaughan, Robert Child, as well as Elias Ashmole (FRS 1661). While Henshaw himself did not publish any alchemist works, his library was used by Ashmole for the latter's 'Theatrum chemicum' (1652) and 'The Way to Bliss' (1658). He also corresponded with Samuel Hartlib through loosely-established 'Christian Learned Society'.
Related imagesDiscover a selection of related images in our picture library
Bulloch's Roll; DNB; Foster; Evelyn; ODNB
G H Turnbull, 'Samuel Hartlib's Influence on the Early History of the Royal Society' in NR 1953 vol 10 pp 101-130
Stephen Pasmore, 'Thomas Henshaw, FRS (1618-1700)' in NR 1981-82 vol 36 pp 177-188, plate
Donald R Dickson, 'Thomas Henshaw and Sir Robert Paston's Pursuit of the Red Elixir: An Early Collaboration Between Fellows of the Royal Society' in NR 1997 vol 51 pp 57-76, plate
The election date is Henshaw's re-election date into the Society after the grant of the second charter in April 1663. All Fellows admitted in a two-month window after this charter, until 22 June 1663, are considered Original Fellows. He was previously mentioned as a member on 6 February 1661.
Virtual International Authority File
Royal Society codeNA8237
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
RBC/2/64'Some Accounts concerning the nature of Frogspawn' by Mr Thomas Henshawnd
RBO/3/9'Some Practical Observations - upon May-dew' by Thomas HenshawMay 1664
RBO/3/25'Some Accounts concerning the Nature of Frogspawne' by Thomas Henshaw7 December 1664
RBO/3/10'Some Additional Experiments - to be made with May-dew' by Thomas Henshaw18 May 1664
CLP/9ii/8Paper, 'Paper about the magnet' by Thomas Henshaw 25 April 1683
RBO/5/2Observations of Denmark and of the voyage there by Thomas Henshaw1675
MM/20/56Letter from Thomas Henshaw to Robert Southwell18 November 1682
MM/20/55Letter from Thomas Henshaw to Robert Southwell16 May 1682
RBO/6/4Details of a magnetical experiment by Thomas Henshaw nd
MM/20/57Letter from Thomas Henshaw to Robert Southwell23 December 1682
MS/390/49Bond of Thomas Henshaw to the Treasurer of the Royal Society30 November 1674
CLP/4i/12Paper, 'Some practicall observations uppon may dew' by Thomas Henshaw1664
CLP/4i/37/5Drawing, the shattering of glass by unknown author[1669]
CLP/4i/37/4Drawing, the breaking of a glass medallion by unknown author[1669]
CLP/4i/13Paper, 'Additional experiments on may dew' by Thomas Henshaw1663
CLP/19/82Paper, answers sent by Thomas Henshaw concerning the island of Faro[1673]
CLP/4i/37/2Drawing, the breaking of glass by unknown author[1669]
DM/5/72C'Recommended to Mr Thomas Henshaw'c.1663
CLP/4i/4Paper, 'Experiments concerning freezing' by Mr [Thomas?] Henshaw[1662]
CLP/4i/37/3Drawing, the breaking of a glass medallion by unknown author[1669]
CLP/3i/57aTranslation, regarding glass drops by Signor [Geminiano] Montanari[1671]
EL/H3/15Thomas Henshaw, dated at Copenhagen, to Henry Oldenburg9 August 1673
CLP/3i/57a/1Manuscript, regarding glass drops by Signor [Geminiano] Montanari[1671]
EL/H3/18Thomas Henshaw, dated at Kensington, to Henry Oldenburg22 March 1677
EL/H3/12Thomas Henshaw (1618-1700), dated at Copenhagen, to Henry Oldenburg6 July 1672
EL/H3/13Thomas Henshaw, dated at Copenhagen, to Henry Oldenburg12 December 1672
EL/H3/16Thomas Henshaw, dated at Copenhagen, to Henry Oldenburg9 December 1672
EL/H3/14Thomas Henshaw, dated at Copenhagen, to Henry Oldenburg4 February 1673
CLP/4i/37/1Manuscript, 'A philosophical letter to the Grand Duke of Tuscany' by unknown author[1669]
EL/H3/17Thomas Henshaw, dated at Copenhagen, to Henry Oldenburg14 March 1674
CLP/4i/37Paper, 'A philosophical letter to the Grand Duke of Tuscany' by unknown author[1669]
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