Downes, Theophilus (DNB00)

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DOWNES, THEOPHILUS (d. 1726), nonjuror, the son of John Downes of Purslow, Shropshire, became a commoner of Balliol College, Oxford, towards the close of 1672, when aged about fifteen, and took the two degrees in arts, B.A. 17 Oct. 1676, M.A. 10 July 1679. He was fellow of his college, but was ejected in 1690 on declining to take the oath of allegiance to William III. Two years later he went abroad. Downes died in 1726. In the letters of administration, P. C. C., granted on 16 Aug. 1726 to his niece Mary, wife of John Bright, he is described as late of the parish of St. George the Martyr, Middlesex, bachelor. In support of his views he published anonymously ‘A Discourse concerning the Signification of Allegiance, as it is to be understood in the New Oath of Allegiance,’ pp. 27, 4to [London? 1689?], and ‘An Examination of the Arguments drawn from Scripture and Reason, in Dr. Sherlock's Case of Allegiance, and his vindication of it,’ pp. 78, 4to, London, 1691. Wood mentions another tract by Downes, ‘An Answer to a Call to Humiliation, &c. Or a Vindication of the Church of England from the Reproaches and Objections of William Woodward, in two Fast Sermons preached in his Conventicle at Lempster in the county of Hereford, and afterwards published by him,' 4to, London, 1690 (Fasti Oxon., ed. Bliss, ii. 353, 369).

Downes differed from Henry Dodwell as to the antiquity of the famous iron shield formerly in the possession of Dr. Woodward. After his death his 'De Clipeo Woodwardiano Strictune breves' were published in two octavo leaves (Gough, British Topography, i. 720).

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), iv. 476-7; Wood's Fasti Oxon. (Bliss), ii. 363, 369; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

G. G.