Dale, Thomas (1797-1870) (DNB00)

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DALE, THOMAS (1797–1870), dean of Rochester, was born at Pentonville, London, 22 Aug. 1797. His mother died in 1800, when his father, William Dale, after contracting a second marriage, went to the West Indies to conduct a weekly newspaper; there he soon fell a victim to the climate, and left his son wholly unprovided for. The youth was, however, fortunate in possessing friends, who obtained for him in 1805 a nomination to Christ's Hospital. On leaving that institution in 1817 he went to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, where he proceeded B.A. 1822, M.A. 1826, and D.D. 17 March 1870. His first poetical work, ‘The Widow of Nain and other poems,’ appeared in 1817, and went through several editions. His next work, ‘The Outlaw of Taurus,’ came out in the following year, and was succeeded by ‘Irad and Adah, a tale of the flood, with specimens of a new translation of the Psalms.’ The success of his first publication enabled him to complete his education at the university, and was the means of introducing him to many friends, and through them to numerous pupils. After a few months' residence in Greenwich he removed to Beckenham, where his success in tuition was very considerable. In 1824 he published, in two volumes, ‘The Tragedies of Sophocles, translated into English verse,’ a work which brought his name into general notice. He was ordained in 1822, and became curate of St. Michael's, Cornhill, where he remained about three years, during which time his congregation increased fourfold. He next, in 1826, became assistant-preacher at St. Bride's, Fleet Street. In 1828 he was elected evening lecturer of St. Sepulchre's, Snow Hill, and in 1830 he accepted the incumbency of St. Matthew's Chapel, Denmark Hill. Five years afterwards, 3 Jan. 1835, Sir Robert Peel gave him the vicarage of St. Bride's, Fleet Street, and in this enlarged sphere of usefulness he was very popular. He was collated to a prebend in St. Paul's Cathedral in 1843, and on 20 Oct. in the same year was nominated by Sir R. Peel a canon residentiary in the cathedral. He was professor of English language and literature at London University, Gower Street, 1828–30, and held a similar appointment at King's College from 1836 to 1839. He was Golden lecturer at St. Margaret's, Lothbury, from 1837 to 1849. In July 1846 he accepted the vicarage of St. Pancras, and on his resignation in March 1861 his large parish was subdivided into twenty incumbencies.

He accepted the less laborious post of rector of Therfield, Hertfordshire, 26 March 1861, which he gave up on his nomination to the deanery of Rochester, 23 Feb. 1870, having in the previous year declined the deanery of Ely. The deanery house at Rochester being under repair, he went on a visit to his son, the Rev. Thomas Pelham Dale, at No. 2 Amen Court, St. Paul's, London, where he died rather suddenly on 14 May 1870. His will was proved on 27 May under 18,000l. He was an old-fashioned high church evangelical. He married in 1819, at St. Michael's, Cornhill, Emily Jane, daughter of J. M. Richardson of 23 Cornhill, London, publisher, East India agent, and stockbroker. She died at Russell Square, London, 6 April 1849, aged 47.

He published upwards of seventy works, but besides those already noticed it is only necessary to mention: 1. ‘An Introductory Lecture to a Course upon the Principles and Practice of English Composition,’ 1828. 2. ‘The Iris,’ ed. by T. Dale, 1830. 3. ‘Sermons, Practical and Doctrinal, preached in the church of St. Bride,’ 1831. 4. ‘Access to God;’ five discourses preached before the university of Cambridge, 1832. 5. ‘The Young Pastor's Guide to the Practice of the Christian Ministry,’ 1835. 6. ‘Poetical Works,’ 1836. 7. ‘Companion for the Altar, with preparatory consideration,’ 1836. 8. ‘Probation for the Christian Ministry;’ four discourses before the university of Cambridge, 1836. 9. ‘The Domestic Liturgy and Family Chaplain,’ 1846. 10. ‘Address to the Parishioners of St. Pancras on the results of the Parochial System,’ 1847. 11. ‘The Sabbath Companion, being Essays on First Principles of Christian Faith and Practice,’ 1844; 3rd ed. 1853. 12. ‘Five Years of Church Extension in St. Pancras,’ 1852. 13. ‘Church Rates in St. Pancras,’ 1855. 14. ‘New Year Addresses to the members of the Congregation of St. Pancras,’ 1857. 15. ‘Poems of W. Cowper, with a Biographical and Critical Introduction by T. Dale,’ 1859; 2nd ed. 1867.

[Drawing-room Portrait Gallery of Eminent Personages, 4th ser. 1860; Church of England Photographic Portrait Gallery, 1859, portrait 24; Times, 17 May 1870, p. 6; Illustrated London News, 31 Dec. 1859, p. 647, with portrait, 28 May 1870, p. 563, and 18 June, p. 643; Cussans's Hertfordshire, i. pt. iii. pp. 127, 129; Palmer's St. Pancras (1870), pp. 43, 142, 159–61.]

G. S. B.