Ashdowne, William (DNB00)

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ASHDOWNE, WILLIAM (1723–1810), unitarian preacher, was born at Tunbridge Wells in 1723, where his father, a tradesman, was pastor of the General Baptist (otherwise Unitarian) Society, meeting at Mount Ephraim (W. Wilson, Various Congregations, ii., art. ‘Dover’ in MS.). Becoming a probationer for the ministry, William Ashdowne removed to Dover in 1757, married the daughter of the Rev. Robert Pyall, pastor of the General Baptist Church (Monthly Repository, v. 258); and on Pyall's death in 1759 he took his pulpit, occupying it without pay for twenty-two years. In 1781 he was elected pastor, with the Rev. Stephen Philpott as his associate; and though he preached but seldom in his later years, he filled this position till his death, 2 April 1810, aged 87. His publications are: 1. ‘On the True Character of John the Baptist,’ published anonymously, the signature being ‘By an Impartial Hand,’ 1757. 2. ‘The Distinction between the Ordinary and Extraordinary Gifts of the Holy Spirit,’ also anonymous, and with the same signature, 1767. 3. ‘A Dissertation on St. John iii. 5,’ 1768. 4. ‘A Scripture Key to the Evangelists,’ 1777. 5. ‘On Baptism,’ 1784. 6. ‘The Unitarian, Arian, and Trinitarian Opinions Examined,’ 1789. 7. ‘Satan,’ 1794. 8. ‘Two Letters to the Bishop of Llandaff,’ 1798. The last six works bear Ashdowne's name, and at the end of the ‘Unitarian’ is a list of his publications, which were printed chiefly at Canterbury.

[Monthly Review, June 1757, p. 285; Monthly Repository, v. 480; Kippis's Doddridge's Lectures, ii. 175 note, 390 note.]

J. H.