FARNABY (or Farnabie), THOMAS (c.1575-1647), English grammarian, was the son of a London carpenter; his grandfather, it is said, had been mayor of Truro, his great-grandfather an Italian musician. Between 1590 and 1595 he appears successively as a student of Merton College, Oxford, a pupil in a Jesuit college in Spain, and a follower of Drake and Hawkins. After some military service in the Low Countries "he made shift," says Wood, "to be set on shore in the western part of England; where, after some wandering to and fro under the name of Tho. Bainrafe, the anagram of his sirname, he settled at Martock, in Somersetshire, and taught the grammar school there for some time with success. After he had gotten some feathers at Martock, he took his flight to London," and opened a school in Goldsmiths' Rents, Cripplegate. From this school, which had as many as 300 pupils, there issued, says Wood, "more churchmen and statesmen than from any school taught by one man in England." In the course of his London career "he was made master of arts of Cambridge, and soon after incorporated at Oxon." Such was his success that he was enabled to buy an estate at Otford near Sevenoaks, Kent, to which he retired from London in 1636, still, however, carrying on his profession of schoolmaster. In course of time he added to his Otford estate and bought another near Horsham in Sussex. In politics he was a royalist; and, suspected of participation in the rising near Tunbridge, 1643, he was imprisoned in Ely House, Holborn. He died at Sevenoaks on the 12th of June 1647.
The details of his life were derived by Anthony à Wood from Francis, Farnaby's son by a second marriage (see Wood's Athenae Oxonienses, ed. Bliss, iii. 213). His works chiefly consisted of annotated editions of Latin authors - Juvenal, Persius, Seneca, Martial, Lucan, Virgil, Ovid and Terence, which enjoyed extraordinary popularity. His Systema grammaticum was published in London in 1641. On the 6th of April 1632, Farnaby was presented with a royal patent granting him, for the space of twenty-one years, the sole right of printing and publishing certain of his works.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)