Rasbotham, Dorning (DNB00)

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RASBOTHAM, DORNING (1730–1791), author, son of Peter Rasbotham and his wife Hannah, daughter of John Dorning of Birch House, Farnworth, in the parish of Dean, Lancashire, was born at Manchester in 1730, and was educated at the Manchester grammar school. He was chairman of the quarter sessions at Manchester for twenty-five years, and high sheriff of Lancashire in 1769. He made extensive collections for a history of his native county, and his manuscripts, partly written in Byrom's shorthand, proved of great use to Baines when compiling his ‘History of Lancashire.’ In 1774 he wrote ‘Codrus, a Tragedy,’ in five acts and in verse, which was refused by two London managers, but successfully performed at Manchester in that year. He published it anonymously by way of appealing to the public from the verdict of the managers. It was produced again at Manchester in 1778 for the benefit of Younger the actor, when Kemble, Lewis, and Mrs. Siddons took part in the performance. In 1782 he printed ‘Verses originally intended to have been spoken at the Breaking-up of the Free Grammar School in Manchester,’ &c., and he is stated to have written, among other minor pieces, ‘A Dissuasive from Popular Rioting directed against Mechanical Manufacturing Improvements,’ 1779.

Rasbotham died on 7 Nov. 1791, and was buried at the parish church of Dean, where there is a mural tablet to his memory, with an inscription by Thomas Barnes, D.D. He married, in 1754, Sarah, eldest daughter of James Bayley of Withington, near Manchester, and granddaughter of Samuel Peploe [q. v.], bishop of Chester, and had five children, of whom one, the Rev. Dorning Rasbotham, was a fellow of Manchester Collegiate Church.

[Baines's Hist. of Lancashire, orig. ed. ii. 42, with portrait; Manchester School Register, i. 162, 189 (Chetham Soc.); Raines's Fellows of Manchester Collegiate Church, ii. 294 (Chetham Soc.), where he is called ‘Ramsbottom;’ Baker's Biogr. Dramatica, 1812, iii. 111; Procter's Manchester in Holiday Dress, 1866, p. 68; Scholes's Bolton Bibliography, 1886, p. 59.]

C. W. S.