Robert Thistlethwayte

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Robert Thistlethwayte (1690–1744) was an Anglican clergyman and Warden of Wadham College, Oxford.[1]

In 1737 Thistlethwayte 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.[2] The following limerick possibly also refers to Thistlethwayte.[3]

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:

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.


Based on a Wikipedia article:

  2. Rictor Norton, The State of Rome, 1739
  3. Bawdy Limericks 1998