Very little information is known about the life of Thomas Traherne. According to Anthony a Wood, Traherne was a "shoemaker's son of Hereford" born in either 1636 or 1637. However, other sources indicate that Thomas is the son of Philipp Traherne (or Trehearne) (1568-1645), a local innkeeper and mayor of Hereford, and his third wife, Mary Lane. His birth or baptism is not recorded in parish registers.
Traherne was educated at Hereford Cathedral School and entered Brasenose College, Oxford in 1652, receiving his baccalaureate degree in 1656. Five years later he was promoted to the degree of Master of Arts (Oxon.) in 1661.
After receiving his baccalaureate degree from Oxford in 1656, he took holy orders and the following year was installed as the rector at Saint Mary's Church in Credenhill near Hereford. He would serve in this post for ten years. In 1667, he became the private chaplain to Sir Orlando Bridgeman, 1st Baronet, of Great Lever, the Lord Keeper of the Great Seal to King Charles II at Teddington in County Middlesex. Traherne died of smallpox at Bridgeman's house at Teddington on 27 September 1674 and was buried in the parish church at Teddington on 10 October 1674.
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