Saturday, July 22, 2017


The Rev. Turberville Cory Thomas, singular in name and in appearance, was a popular curate at St. Alban's, Acton Green, in West London. A Welshman by birth, he'd come to Acton in 1898 after several years as a clergyman in Canada and America. Very quickly, he became invaluable to the vicar, the Rev. Bernard Spink, who praised him as conscientious and declared him to be a personal friend. Until the day he fired him. 

Two spinster sisters had stopped the vicar on his way to evensong to claim that Cory Thomas had relentlessly tried to seduce them. Spink was staggered by what he called "a plot hatched in hell." The curate insisted it was all "malicious tittle-tattle" but he was immediately given the sack and Spink vowed that "the monster" would never find church work again. Cory Thomas filed a libel action which came to court in London amidst the great mourning that followed the death of Queen Victoria. In a city draped in crepe, the New York Times declared that the only other story that mattered was "the great clerical libel suit."

The story of the Rev. Cory Thomas - he of the handsome "dagger moustache" - is one of five sensational church scandals retold in my newly published book, Clerical Errors - A Victorian Series, Vol. 2. It's easy to see why the public particularly delighted in this story with all the mysterious veiled witnesses (Miss O and Miss Y) and their evidence of "canoodling" over secret lunches and at dubious hotels in the Euston Road. 

Clerical Errors - A Victorian Series, Volume 2 is available exclusively through and The book is available in both paperback and in Kindle editions.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tom
    I have left a message on for you to contact me. You were enquiring about Mrs Cory-Thomas and why she returned to New Zealand and still used the name Cory-Thomas after her marriage to Rev Tuberville Cory-Thomas and the subsequent libel case which would have been sensational copy at this time and definitely would have been news in Christchurch, NZ where she had lived before the marriage and when she returned a few years later.

    My genealogy research was in connection with Mrs Isabel Banks who married Rev Tuberville Cory-Thomas after her first husband Frederick Banks died suddenly in 1894. My paternal grandmother Emily Sarah Crooks was her ladies maid. I have always wondered if Emily travelled to England with Mrs Banks???? Probably not but you can't leave any stone unturned when you are researching.
    I look forward to hearing from you.


Comments are always welcome. I am keen to learn more, make corrections, or discuss. Thanks for visiting.