"Dr Thomas Pierce..[b.1622], son of John Pierce of the Devises,...was successively chorister, Demy, and Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxon. In 1648 on suspicion of having written a Satire against the Parliament Visitors he was ejected from his Fellowship. Upon the Restoration of the King he was made Canon of Canterbury and Prebendary of Lincoln, and in 1661 upon the death of Dr. Oliver he was elected President of Magdalen. But the fellows not agreeing under his government he resigned the office 1671, and in 1675 was promoted to the Deanery of Salisbury. He was esteemed both as a poet and a preacher, had great quickness and sagacity and was much exercised in the controversies handled in those times. The catalogue of his writings which were various and numerous occurs in Wood's history of the Oxford writers, (Athen. Oxon. Vol ii. Col. 858, &c. Bridge's Northamp. I. 478.) Whilst Rector of Brington Co. Northampton, he printed a Sermon preached at St. Paul's November 10th, 1658, "before the gentlemen of Wilts: it being the day of their yearly feast." He died in 1691 at Tidworth, Wilts, where Robert Pierce was Rector. At Brington he was "much followed for his smooth and edifying way of preaching," but says Mr. Baker the Historian of Northamptonshire (I. 92) "in his controversial writings there was more of the bitterness of gall than the smoothness of oil." His scarce pamphlet called "A Vindication of the King's Sovereign rights," relating to the patronage of the Prebends of Sarum, and printed at the end of Dr. Rawlinson's Antiquities of the Cathedral Church of Salisbury, is said to have hastened the death of Bishop Seth Ward, his opponent in that controversey." http://www.oodwooc.co.uk/ph_calne_aub.htm
Pierce, Thomas, 1622-1691.
"Bishop Ward kept the appointments to prebends [at Sarum] as far as possible in his own hands, giving some to the poorly paid incumbents in market towns of the diocese where the influence of the dissenters was strongest, a policy continued by Bishop Burnet. Otherwise Ward's appointments were most remarkable for the very large number given to his own relatives. A cause of one of the bitterest, most dramatic, and most astonishing disputes in the cathedral's history was his grant of the rich prebend of Teignton Regis to his nephew, Thomas Ward; Thomas Pierce, who became dean in 1675, badly wanted it for his son, Robert, and maintained that the bishop had promised it to him. Pierce was probably the most difficult dean with whom any bishop or chapter of Salisbury has been confronted. At first a Calvinist, he had turned Arminian during the Civil War, and proclaimed his views with a convert's zeal. As President of Magdalen College, Oxford, after the Restoration he gained a reputation for being 'high, proud, and mad'; he expelled a fellow, defied the Visitor, and was eventually forced to resign. At Salisbury in the 1680's Archbishop Sancroft's view was that the dean's haughty and revengeful spirit was at the bottom of all the troubles which threw the cathedral life into confusion and undid much of the careful work of restoration of the previous 20 years. Pierce wanted both arbitrary power over the cathedral and revenge against the bishop for the slight to his son. He therefore claimed that Salisbury was no ordinary cathedral but a royal free chapel directly subject to the king and exempt from the bishop's jurisdiction and visitation. This chapel had existed in the royal castle at Salisbury before the Norman Conquest. Since the dean had existed before the bishop and was immediately subject to the king, his jurisdiction over his chapter and its property was obviously greater than that of any bishop; it could best be described as a kind of archiepiscopal jurisdiction. The composition of 1392 which allowed episcopal visitation was void because it was popish."
From: 'The cathedral of Salisbury: From the Reformation to the Restoration', A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 3 (1956), pp. 183-97. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?com.... Date accessed: 07 April 2006.
PIERCE or PEIRSE, THOMAS (1622-1691), controversialist; fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, 1643 (expelled by the parliamentary visitors, 1648); M.A., 1644; j became tutor to Robert Spencer (afterwards second earl of Sunderland); carried on a bitter attack on the Calvinists, whose tenets he had abandoned in 1644; regained his fellowship at the Restoration, and became chaplain in ordinary to Charles II; president of Magdalen College, Oxford, by Charles II’s wish, 1661; his tenure of office stormy; resigned the presidency, 1672; became dean of Salisbury, 1675; quarrelled vehemently with the bishop, Seth Ward. His learning and controversial ability are undoubted, but his fierce temper provoked his opponents, and his works did more harm than good.
---Dictionary of National Biography: Index and Epitome. S. Lee, 1906.
Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.