Thomas Gaisford was born on December 22, 1779 at Iford Manor, Wiltshire, the eldest son of John Gaisford and Elizabeth Bushell. Educated at Hyde Abbey School, Winchester under the Rev. Charles Richards, he entered the University of Oxford as a commoner of Christ Church in October 1797. Elected student in December 1800 by the then Dean, Dr. Cyril Jackson, he took the degrees of BA in 1801 and MA in 1804. After acting as tutor of the college and examiner, 1809-1811, he was appointed Regius Professor of Greek on February 29, 1812 when his predecessor was made Bishop of Oxford.