Sir Thomas Phillips (1792-1872) was one of the greatest manuscript and book collectors of the 19th Century. His passion for collecting started while at Rugby School, which he entered in 1807. He was the natural son of Thomas Phillips (1742-1818), a wealthy Manchester calico manufacturer. While at University College, Oxford the rate of his collecting caused his father to complain of his son's extravagance. However, after his father's death he was able to indulge his passion to the full. With the secularization of many religious houses in France and Germany he was able to buy manuscripts and printed books of great rarity. He bought from book sellers across Europe and at the many rare books auction held in the London amassing over 60,000 manuscripts. Although he entered into negotiations at different times with the Bodleian Library, the British Museum and the Phillips family of Picton Castle, his collection remained at Thirlestaine House, Cheltenham, when he died in 1872. The collection was dispersed through a series of private and auction sales from 1885.