Dawes, Richard (1793-1867) (DNB00)

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DAWES, RICHARD, D.D. (1793–1867), dean of Hereford, son of James Dawes, by his wife Isabella, was baptised at Hawes, Wensleydale in North Riding of Yorkshire, 13 April 1793. He was educated at Mr. Gough's school near Kendal, where Dr. William Whewell was a fellow-pupil. Subsequently entering Trinity College, Cambridge, in October 1813, he graduated B.A. as fourth wrangler in 1817, and M.A. in 1820. He was elected a fellow of Downing College in 1818, and appointed mathematical tutor and bursar. His active stewardship much improved the college estates. On the death of the master of the college, William Frere, in 1836, he became a candidate for the headship, but a vote which he had some time before given for the admission of dissenters into the university was fatal to his success. He was ordained in 1818, and in the following year received the college living of Tadlow, Cambridgeshire. In 1836 he became rector of King's Somborne, Hampshire, on the presentation of Sir John Barker Mill, bart., who had been his pupil, and here he first began to notice the inefficiency of the lower and lower-middle class education in England. In October 1842 he established some very large and well-organised schools, which under his personal management became a great success. King's Somborne school was visited as a model establishment by all who were interested in popular education, and it was the fame acquired in connection with it which caused Lord John Russell to present Dawes to the deanery of Hereford on 15 May 1850. The cathedral was in a sad state of decay, but the new dean at once took steps for its restoration, and, entrusting the work to Sir Gilbert Scott, contrived to overcome the financial difficulties. The cathedral was reopened in 1863.

Dawes took great interest in the foundation schools of Hereford, and especially in the Blue Coat schools. In 1861 he became master of St. Catherine's Hospital, Ledbury, and during his annual statutory residence of four months at St. Catherine's he paid much attention to the Ledbury national schools. He had always felt an interest in physical and chemical science, and in 1864 was vice-president of the British Association at the meeting at Bath. It is stated that in 1856 the queen desired to promote the dean to the see of Carlisle, but that other influences caused Lord Palmerston to appoint Dr. Henry Montagu Villiers. Dawes died of paralysis at the deanery, Hereford, 10 March 1867, and was buried in the Ladye Arbour of the cathedral, upwards of two thousand persons attending his funeral.

He married in 1836 Mary Helen, second daughter of Alexander Gordon of Logie, Aberdeenshire.

He was the author of:

  1. ‘Suggestive Hints towards improved Secular Instruction, making it bear upon Practical Life,’ 1849.
  2. ‘Observations on the Working of the Government Scheme of Education and on School Inspection,’ 1849.
  3. ‘Remarks occasioned by the Present Crusade against the Educational Plans of the Committee of Council on Education,’ 1850.
  4. ‘Lessons and Tales, a Reading Book for Children,’ 1851.
  5. ‘Schools and other similar Institutions for the Industrial Classes: remarks on giving them a Self-supporting Character,’ 1853.
  6. ‘Teaching of Common Things: a Lecture,’ 1854.
  7. ‘Remarks on the Reorganisation of the Civil Service and its bearing on Educational Progress,’ 1854.
  8. ‘Lessons on the Phenomena of Industrial Life and the Conditions of Industrial Success, ed. by R. Dawes,’ 1854.
  9. ‘Mechanics' Institutes and Popular Education,’ 1856.
  10. ‘The Evils of Indiscriminate Charity,’ 1856.
  11. ‘Effective Primary Instruction the only sure Road to Success in the Reading Room, Library, and Institutes for secondary instruction,’ 1857.

[Henry's Biographical Notice of Very Rev. Richard Dawes (1867); Gent. Mag. May 1867, pp. 674–5.]

G. C. B.