Dodwell, William (DNB00)

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DODWELL, WILLIAM (1709–1785), archdeacon of Berks and theological writer, born at Shottesbrooke, Berkshire, on 17 June 1709, was the second son and fifth child of Henry Dodwell the elder, the nonjuror [q. v.] He was educated at Trinity College, Oxford, where he took his degree of M.A. in 1732. On 27 Nov. 1740 he was married at Bray Church to Elizabeth Brown, by whom he had a large family, one of whom married Thomas Ridding, a relation of the present bishop of Southwell. Dodwell became rector of his native place, Shottesbrooke, and vicar of White Waltham and Bucklesbury. Dr. Sherlock, bishop of Salisbury, gave him a prebendal stall in Salisbury Cathedral in 1748, and he afterwards obtained a residentiary canonry in the same church. Another bishop of Salisbury, Dr. Thomas, made him archdeacon of Berks in 1763; some years before (23 Feb. 1749–50—Dr. Thomas did not become bishop of Salisbury until 1761) the university of Oxford conferred upon him the degree of D.D. by diploma, in recognition of his services to religion by his answer to Dr. Middleton. Dodwell, like his father, was a keen controversialist, and measured swords with some of the most eminent men of his day, such as Conyers Middleton, William Romaine, William Whiston, and others. He was also a voluminous writer on other subjects, all connected with religion, though his own writings have now all passed out of remembrance. He died 23 Oct. 1785. His works, so far as can be ascertained, were as follows: 1. ‘Two Sermons on the Eternity of Future Punishment,’ in answer to William Whiston, Oxford, 1743. 2. ‘A Visitation Sermon on the desirableness of the Christian Faith,’ published at the request of Bishop Sherlock, Oxford, 1744. 3. ‘Two Sermons on 1 Pet. iii. 15 on the Nature, Procedure, and Effects of a Rational Faith, preached before the University of Oxford, 11 March and 24 June 1744,’ published at Oxford 1745; these were written specially in answer to his brother's ‘Christianity not founded on Argument.’ 4. ‘Sermon on the Practical Influence of the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity,’ Oxford, 1745. 5. ‘Dissertation on Jephthah's Vow, occasioned by Rev. William Romaine's Sermon on the subject,’ London, 1745. 6. ‘Practical Discourses (14) on Moral Subjects,’ vol. i. London, 1748, dedicated to his patron, Arthur Vansittart, esq., of Shottesbrooke; vol. ii. 1749, dedicated to Bishop Sherlock, ‘whose unsolicited testimony of favour to him laid him under personal obligations.’ 7. ‘Free Answer to Dr. Middleton's Free Inquiry into the Miraculous Powers of the Primitive Church,’ London, 1749. 8. ‘Assize Sermon on Human Laws,’ Oxford, 1750. 9. ‘Reply to Mr. Toll's Defence of Dr. Middleton's Free Inquiry,’ London, 1751. 10. ‘Sermon on St. Paul's wish,’ Oxford, 1752. 11. ‘Two Sermons on Superstition,’ Oxford, 1754. 12. ‘Letter to the Author of Considerations on the Act to prevent Clandestine Marriages,’ with a postscript occasioned by Stebbing's ‘Enquiry into the Annulling Clauses in London,’ 1755, by a country clergyman. 13. ‘Two Sermons on the Doctrine of Divine Visitation by Earthquakes,’ Oxford, 1756. 14. ‘Assize Sermon on the equal and impartial discharge of Justice,’ Oxford, 1756. 15. ‘Assize Sermon on the False Witness,’ oxford, 1758. 16. ‘Sermon at the Meeting of the Charity Schools,’ London, 1758. 17. ‘Two Sermons on a Particular Providence,’ Oxford, 1760. 18. ‘Sermon before the Sons of the Clergy,’ London, 1760. 19. ‘Charge to the Clergy of the Archdeaconry of Berks,’ London, 1764. 20. ‘Sermon at the Consecration of Bishop Moss (St. David's) in 1766,’ London, 1767. 21, ‘The Sick Man's Companion; or the Clergyman's Assistant in Visiting the Sick, with a Dissertation on Prayer,’ London, 1767. 22. ‘Prayer on Laying the Foundation Stone of Salisbury Infirmary,’ subjoined to Dean Graves's Infirmary Sermon,’ Salisbury, 1767. 23. ‘Infirmary Sermon,’ Salisbury, 1768. 24. ‘Three Charges on the Athanasian Creed,’ Oxford University Press, 1802, published by Dodwell's eldest son, the Rev. Henry Dodwell, rector of Harlaxton and Colsterworth in Lincolnshire, at the request of some Oxford friends.

[William Dodwell's Works passim; Gent. Mag. 1803, pt. ii. 1138–9 (where the fullest list of works is given by Dr. Loveday); information privately given by the Rev. H. Dodwell Moore, vicar of Honington, and others connected with the Dodwell family.]

J. H. O.