Thomas Gurney

Managing Real Estate Broker with Fathom Realty PB00068179

Thomas Gurney was born in Wobum, Bedfordshire, England back in 1705.  His father had decided that Thomas would be a farmer, however his inclination for books and mechanics was so dedicated, when he put to farming he ran away.  Moving to Newport he learned clock making before becoming a schoolmaster at Luton.

He was also interested in astrology, purchasing a lot sale of books he came upon one that will forever put him in the history books, more on that in a moment.  In 1737, he moved to London and was hired by Old Bailey (the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales).  In 1749, he returned to clock making while teaching, he died in 1770 at 65.

What you may not know about Thomas is that one of the books he bought was by William Mason.  With that knowledge by reading the book by Mr. Mason he was given the first official appointment as a shorthand-writer, anywhere.  Frankly, I never heard of William Mason before now, have you?

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Barbara Tattersall
Keller Williams Realty Metropolitan (Keene,NH) - Keene, NH

Good Morning,


I've never heard of William Mason OR Thomas Gurney before.  My Mom was a legal secretary and used Gregg shorthand. She would write out names in shorthand on Christmas presents before she put the tags on. We'd sit in her closet with a flashlight and a Gregg dictionary trying to figure out who was getting which present. :-)

May 16, 2020 02:27 AM #1
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team

Good morning, James Dray I can remember when shorthand was a requirement for a secretarial job.... here's a sample of shorthand:

How to Take Faster Handwritten Notes Using Shorthand Techniques

May 16, 2020 03:44 AM #2
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning James - now that is something I have not heard used in a while.

May 16, 2020 03:45 AM #3
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Good morning, James... like you, this was "new" to me. I took a shorthand class once "just for fun." It never "took."

May 16, 2020 04:28 AM #4
Raymond E. Camp
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Ontario, NY
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester

Good morning James,

It would be hieroglyphic's to me!

Make yourself an astonishing day.

May 16, 2020 05:08 AM #5
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning James. Never heard of Wiliam Mason or Thomas Gurney, but remember the days of shorthand! Enjoy your day!

May 16, 2020 05:11 AM #6
Donald Urschalitz
Lubeck Realty Group - Jupiter, FL
P.A. Realtor ABR RSPS North Palm Beach County

You got me on both of these gentlemen however, just shows how powerful books are.

May 16, 2020 05:29 AM #7
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello James - I never took a shorthand class but did think it might be "fun" to have a "secret" language that was not widely known when I was a child.  That thought quickly passed. 

The names of the two gentlemen in your post have already been forgotten by the time I write this comment - maybe learning shorthand could have helped.  

May 16, 2020 05:47 AM #8
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

My Mom would really enjoy this since she taught shorthand in school and from what I hear was very talented in that art.

May 16, 2020 06:57 AM #9
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


My mom knew shorthand, but I did not learn it.  And no one taught it at the time.  Happy Saturday..A

May 16, 2020 07:25 AM #10
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

My sister knew shorthand, and I know Woburn as there is a wonderful animal sanctuary there called Woburn Abbey Safari Park we used to take our kids there along with Longleat, another one.

May 16, 2020 08:53 AM #11
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, James, for sharing this interesting story.

Enjoy the weekend.

May 16, 2020 10:43 AM #12
Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty
Waves Realty - Melbourne, FL
Florida Space Coast Homes

IT is always fun to find out new info about a well live life. Thanks again!

May 16, 2020 10:47 AM #13
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello James and thanks once again for the history lesson to share with us here in the rain.


May 16, 2020 01:06 PM #14
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Well that was all news to me, James. I remember when shorthand was pretty popular, if not required. Does anyone even us it today?

May 16, 2020 02:12 PM #15
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi James- I can honestly say that I am not familiar with either man. And Barbara Todaro I never took shorthand but I remember seeing it. 

May 16, 2020 02:12 PM #16
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Hi James,  Thanks for sharing another piece of history.  Shorthand was pretty much before my time.  I remember a few people knowing it when I was a kid.

May 16, 2020 06:16 PM #17
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co. Notary Services, retired Realtor

I'm totally lost James Dray . I still have no idea who he is/was or who William Mason is/was. 

May 18, 2020 08:16 AM #18
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