Thomas Rutherforth was born at Papworth St Agnes, Cambridgeshire, on 8 October 1712. He died on 5 October 1771 at the house of his brother-in-law at St Albyn's, Essex. He was educated at Huntington School and St John's College, Cambridge, entering as a sizar and graduating BA in 1730 (MA, 1733; BD, 1740; DD, 1745). He was a Fellow of St John's from 1733 to 1752, and in 1736, a tutor and Taxor (the moderator in final examinations). He was ordained deacon in 1734 and priest in 1737. He was chaplain to Frederick, Prince of Wales until the latter's death in 1751; and subsequently to his widow. He became rector of Barley in 1751, Archdeacon of Essex in the following year, rector of Somersham, Huntingdonshire in 1756 and of Stanfield, Essex in 1767, holding all these posts until his death. He was also rector of Brinkley, Cambridgeshire, 1757–67. He was a member of the Gentlemen's Society of Spalding (see Maurice Johnson) from 1741 and was elected FRS in 1743. His support for the Duke of Newcastle as Chancellor of Cambridge facilitated his appointment as Regius Professor of Divinity (1756–71). He married Charlotte Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Abdy. Her brother Anthony was a pupil of Rutherforth and the dedicatee of his System of Moral Philosophy (1744). It was in his house that Rutherforth died.
From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.