Thomas Pringle, journalist and editor of Cape newspaper Commercial Advertiser, dies in London


Thomas PringleThomas Pringle. Source:

Friday, 5 December 1924

Thomas Pringle was born in Scotland on 5 January 1789. Pringle sustained an injury to his hip as a result of being accidentally dropped by his nanny when he was three months old. Consequently, he had to use crutches all his life because he did not receive medical care in time. The injury meant that Pringle could not follow the family tradition of farming, so his father sent him to Kelso Grammar School and Edinburg University. He became interested in writing, leaving Edinburg without obtaining a degree.

Pringle immigrated to South Africa with his family in 1820. He opened a school with fellow Scot, John Fairbairn, and established two newspapers, the South African Journal and the South African Commercial Advertiser. The publications were plagued by censorship from the government forcing Pringle to resign. He continued to write everyday and his poetry was being published and receiving rave reviews as the first poet from South Africa to write in English. Ultimately Pringle left South Africa due to the harsh conditions. He returned to Scotland where he died of tuberculosis on 5 December 1834, at the age of 45. 

• (2011) ‘Thomas Pringle’ from Gale Encyclopaedia of Biography [online] Available at [Accessed 11 November 2011]
• Steve Bailey ‘The Home of Thomas Pringle’ from Steve Bailey Photography [online] Available at [Accessed 11 November 2011]

Last updated : 02-Dec-2011

This article was produced by South African History Online on 23-Nov-2011

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