An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Bray, Thomas

(1656-Feb. 15, 1730). Commissary to Maryland and Founder of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. He was born in Marton, Shropshire, England. Bray graduated from All Souls College, Oxford, in 1678, and then was ordained deacon and priest. He served as a country curate, chaplain, and vicar until 1690, when he became rector of Sheldon, Warwickshire. While at Sheldon he wrote his famous Catechetical Lectures. In 1696 the Bishop of London named Bray the first Commissary to Maryland. He served in that position until 1706. Before going to Maryland he founded the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, which sent missionaries and libraries to the colonies, and provided charity schools in England. Bray arrived in Maryland on Mar. 12, 1700. He returned to England in early 1701. Bray also founded the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, which sent 354 missionaries to the American colonies. In 1706 he became the rector of St. Botolph's Without, Aldgate, where he remained until his death. In 1723 the Associates of Dr. Bray was established. It was a trust to assist in converting Negroes and Indians. Bray was described as “a Great Small Man.” He died in Aldgate.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.