Danby, William (DNB00)

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DANBY, WILLIAM (1752–1833), miscellaneous writer, was the only son of William Danby, D.D., of Swinton Park, Yorkshire, by Mary, daughter of Gilbert Affleck of Dalham, Suffolk. He was the representative of that branch of the ancient family of Danby which acquired the lordship of Masham and Mashamshire in the reign of Henry VIII, by marriage with one of the heiresses of the Lords Scrope of Masham. In 1784 he served the office of high sheriff of Yorkshire. He almost entirely rebuilt his mansion of Swinton from designs by James Wyatt and John Foss of Richmond. It includes a handsome library and a richly furnished museum of minerals. Southey, in describing a tour which he made in 1829, says: ‘The most interesting person whom I saw during this expedition was Mr. Danby of Swinton Park, a man of very large fortune, and now very old. He gave me a book of his with the not very apt title of “Ideas and Realities,” detached thoughts on various subjects. It is a book in which his neighbours could find nothing to amuse them, or which they thought it behoved them to admire; but I have seldom seen a more amiable or a happier disposition portrayed than is there delineated’ (Life and Correspondence, vi. 78). Danby died at Swinton Park on 4 Dec. 1833. He was twice married: first to Caroline, daughter of Henry Seymour, and secondly to Anne Holwell, second daughter of William Gater; but left no issue. His portrait has been engraved by Scriven, from a painting by Jackson.

His works are: 1. ‘Thoughts, chiefly on serious subjects,’ Exeter (privately printed), 1821, 8vo, second edition, with additions, including remarks on ‘Lacon,’ by Caleb Colton, 2 vols. Exeter, 1822, 8vo. 2. ‘Ideas and Realities, or thoughts on various subjects,’ Exeter, 1827, 8vo. 3. ‘Extracts from and observations on Cicero's dialogues De Senectute and De Amicitia, and a translation of his Somnium Scipionis, with notes,’ Exeter, 1829, 8vo, London, 1832, 8vo. 4. ‘Thoughts on various subjects,’ London, 1831, 8vo. 5. ‘Travelling Thoughts,’ Exeter, 1831, 8vo. 6. ‘Poems,’ Edinburgh, 1831, 8vo. 7. ‘Extracts from Young's Night Thoughts, with observations upon them,’ Lond. 1832, 8vo.

[Martin's Privately Printed Books, 2nd edit. 274; Evans's Catalogue of Engraved Portraits, No. 14869; Gent. Mag. new ser. i. 440; Cat. of Printed Books in Brit. Mus.]

T. C.