The Times/1902/Obituary/John Cotter Macdonnell
Canon John Cotter Macdonnell, canon residentiary of Peterborough, died late on Tuesday night at his house in the Precincts in his 81st year. He had a paralytic stroke six years ago, almost immediately after he had completed his biography of Archbishop Magee, and he never recovered sufficiently to take duty at the cathedral. He had become feebler year by year, and did not know, for instance, of Dr. Barlow's appointment to the Deanery of Peterborough. Elected to a scholarship at Trinity College, Dublin, in 1841, he was among the senior moderators in ethics and logic in 1842, and was placed in the first class in the final divinity examination in 1845. At Trinity began his intimate and life-long friendship with William Connor Magee, afterwards Bishop of Peterborough and Archbishop of York, and his hardly less close friendship with William Pakenham Walsh, afterwards Bishop of Ossory. He preceded M.A. in 1855, B.D. in 1856, and D.D. in 1869, and was ordained deacon in 1846 by the Bishop of Ossory (Dr. O'Brien) and priest in 1847 by the Bishop of Limerick (Dr. Knox). A canon of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, he was vicar of Laracor, Meath, from 1854 to 1862, Ponnellan lecturer at Trinity College, Dublin, in 1857, and Dean of Cashel from 1862-1873. It was in 1873 that his friend Magee, at whose consecration as Bishop of Peterborough he had preached, called him from Ireland to the vicarage of St Mary's Leicester, and in 1875 to the rectory of Walgrave, Northamptonshire. In 1880 he was preferred to the rectory of Misterton, Leicestershire. The Bishop, whose chaplain he was from 1873 to 1891, made him an honorary canon of Peterborough Cathedral in 1878, and in 1883 advanced him to a residentiary canonry, which was then and is still a dean piece of preferment. It had been shortly before vacated by Dr. Westcott (Bishop of Durham).Canon Macdonnell will be long remembered for his entertaining "Life and Correspondence of Archbishop of Magee" (1896). Magee seldom went through a function of any kind without sanding a more or less humorous account of it to his old friend and Boswell, and it was mainly from these letters that Canon Macdonnell formed one of the most outspoken pieces of ecclesiastical biography ever printed. Canon Macdonnell was the author of two other books, "The Doctrine of Atonement" (1858), and an "Essay on Cathedrals in Ireland" (1872).