Thomas Hughes was born in Uffington, Berkshire (now Oxfordshire) in 1822. In February 1834 he went to Rugby School, which was then under Dr Thomas Arnold, a contemporary of his father at Oriel College, Oxford, and the most influential British schoolmaster of the 19th century. The author's impressions of the headmaster were intensely reverent and in Hughes's novel, Tom Brown's Schooldays (1857) Arnold was idealized as the perfect schoolmaster. In 1842 Hughes went on to Oriel College, Oxford, and graduated as a Bachelor of Arts in 1845. He was called to the bar in 1848, became Queen's Counsel in 1869 and a bencher in 1870, and was appointed to a county court judgeship in the Chester district in July 1882. Hughes was elected to Parliament as a Liberal for Lambeth (1865-68), and for Frome (1868-74). An avid social reformer, he became interested in the Christian socialism movement. He was also involved in the formation of some early trade unions and helped finance the printing of Liberal publications. In January 1854 he was one of the founders of the Working Men's College in Great Ormond Street, and was the College's principal from 1872 to 1883. In 1880, he acquired the ownership of Franklin W. Smith's Plateau City and founded a settlement in America - Rugby, Tennessee - which was designed as an experiment in utopian living for the younger sons of the English gentry, although this later proved largely unsuccessful. Hughes also wrote The Scouring of the White Horse (1859), Tom Brown at Oxford (1861), and several non-fiction works including Religio Laici (1868), Life of Alfred the Great (1869). He died in 1896 aged 73, at Brighton, of heart failure; and is buried there."