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Thomas Henry Lister (1800‑ 5 June 1842) was an English novelist and Registrar General.

Life account

He was born to Thomas Lister of Armitage Park and his first wife Harriet Anne Seale. His maternal grandfather was John Seale.

His paternal half-sister Adelaide Lister was first married to their second cousin Thomas Lister, 2nd Baron Ribblesdale and secondly to John Russell, 1st Earl Russell.

Lister was educated at Westminster School and Trinity College, Cambridge.[1]

He wrote several novels, among which are Granby (1826), Herbert Lacy (1828), and Arlington (1832). He was also the author of a Life of Clarendon.

In 1830, he published a novelette entitled A Dialogue for the Year 2130, which might be described as an early example of 'science fiction' or 'futuristic' writing, of the kind later popularised by Jules Verne and H G Wells. Published in The Keepsake, a literary annual of the kind popular in Victorian Britain, the work looks forward two hundred years and imagines a world in which gentlement go hunting on machines, and shoot horses, and a certain Lady D owns a troublesome automatic letter-writer, and is served by a 'steam-porter' which opens doors.

In 1836 at the age of 36 he was appointed as the first Registrar General for England and Wales, head of the newly formed General Register Office. He was responsible for setting up the system of civil registration of births, deaths and marriages, and the organisation of the 1841 UK Census. He died of tuberculosis in 1842, whilst resident at Adelphi Terrace London.


On 6 November 1830, Lister married Lady Maria Theresa Villiers. She was a daughter of George Villiers and Theresa Parker.

Her paternal grandparents were Thomas Villiers, 1st Earl of Clarendon and Charlotte Cappell. Her maternal grandparents were John Parker, 1st Baron Boringdon and his second wife Theresa Robinson.

Charlotte Cappell was a daughter of William Capell, 3rd Earl of Essex and Jane Hyde. Theresa Robibson was a daughter of Thomas Robinson, 1st Baron Grantham and Frances Worsley.

Jane Hyde was a daughter of Henry Hyde, 4th Earl of Clarendon and his wife Jane Keveson-Gower. Her maternal grandparents were Sir William Leveson-Gower, 4th Baronet and Lady Jane Granville.

Jane Granville was a daughter of John Granville, 1st Earl of Bath and Jane Wyche.

Lister and his wife had three children:


  1. ^ Lister, Thomas Henry in Venn, J. & J. A., Alumni Cantabrigienses, Cambridge University Press, 10 vols, 1922–1958.


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