Doudney, David Alfred (DNB01)

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DOUDNEY, DAVID ALFRED (1811–1894), educationist and author, son of John Doudney (d. 1834), was born on 8 March 1811 at his father's house, 386 Mile End Terrace, Portsea. Charles Dickens was born in the next house eleven months later. At the age of thirteen Doudney was apprenticed to a printer at Southampton, and he subsequently joined the staff of the 'Hampshire Advertiser.' In 1832 he moved to London, and was engaged by Messrs. Jowett & Mills, printers, of Bolt Court, Fleet Street, until 1835, when he set up a printing business of his own, first at Holloway, and then in Long Lane, Aldersgate Street, a site now occupied by the Metropolitan Railway station. In 1840 Doudney purchased and became editor of the 'Gospel Magazine,' and in 1846 he retired from his printing press.

In November of the latter year he went to Ireland to distribute funds raised by readers of the 'Gospel Magazine' for the relief of the Irish famine. In the following year he was ordained deacon and priest in the Anglican church by the bishop of Cashel, and from 1847 to 1859 he was vicar of Kilrush and curate of Monksland, co. Waterford. Impressed by the poverty and ignorance of the people, Doudney established 'industrial, infant, and agricultural' schools at Bunmahon or Bonmahon, as he spelt it. Various kinds of technical instruction were supplied, and a printing press set up, from which was issued Doudney's abridgment of Gill's 'Exposition of the Old and New Testaments;' the former, which comprised four stout double-column volumes, appeared between 1852 and 1854, and the latter in two volumes, 1852-3. He also issued from the Bonmahon press a periodical entitled 'Old Jonathan,' which he continued to edit until his death. Doudney published at Bonmahon an account of these schools in 'A Pictorial Outline of the Rise and Progress of the Bonmahon Schools,' 1855, 16mo.

Doudney left Ireland in 1859 to become perpetual curate of St. Luke's, Bedminster, Bristol, where he established industrial schools similar to those at Bonmahon. He continued to edit the 'Gospel Magazine' and 'Old Jonathan,' and published a large number of tracts and other devotional works. In 1866 he edited the 'Recollections and Remains' of the Rev. George David Doudney, his cousin and brother-in-law, an evangelical divine like himself. Doudney also took an active part in many charitable institutions, particularly the Printers' Corporation. He retired from St. Luke's in 1890, and in that year was presented with a thousand pounds in recognition of his fifty years' editorship of the 'Gospel Magazine.' He moved to Southville, Granada Road, Southsea, where he died on 21 April 1893. He was buried in Southsea cemetery on the 20th. He was twice married, and left four sons and two daughters. A portrait of Doudney is given in the 'Gospel Magazine' for May 1893, and is prefixed to his 'Memoir.'

[Memoir of D. A. Doudney, by his eldest son and eldest daughter, 1893 (2nd edit. 1894); works in Brit. Mus. Libr.; Crockford's Clerical Directory, 1891; Times, 24 and 25 April 1893; City Press, 26 April 1893; Men of the Time, 13th edit.; Gospel Magazine, May and June 1893.]

A. F. P.