Thomas Cartwright, an English Puritan divine, born in Hertfordshire about 1535, died Dec. 27, 1603. He studied divinity at St. John's college, Cambridge; but afterward he turned his attention to the legal profession, and became clerk to a counsellor at law. Eventually, however, he returned to the university, and was chosen fellow of St. John's in 1560. He was appointed Lady Margaret's reader of divinity in 1570, and provoked the hostility of Sir William Cecil and Dr. Whitgiffc by the constancy with which he advocated the Puritan doctrines and discipline. In 1571, when the latter became vice chancellor of the university, he was deprived of his professorship, and in the following year of his fellowship, He then repaired to the continent, and was chosen minister to the English merchants at Antwerp and Middelburg. At the end of two years he returned to England, and published a second admonition to parliament in behalf of the Puritans. A protracted controversy with Whitgift, afterward archbishop of Canterbury, was the result of his publication, and Cartwright had again to expatriate himself, officiating while abroad as minister to English communities. In 1580 James VI. of Scotland offered him a professorship in the university of St. Andrews, which he declined.
He was imprisoned on his return in 1582, but was released through the influence of Burleigh and Leicester, the latter making him master of the hospital which he had founded at Warwick. He was again committed to prison in 1585 and 1591, and in 1502 was reinstated in his mastership of the Warwick hospital, and was again permitted to preach. His "Confutation of the Rhemish Translation, Glosses, and Annotations on the New Testament" was published after his death, in 1618. He was also the author of several commentaries on the Bible and of other works.