Henry Dodwell

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

« Charles Roger Dod | Index | Thomas Dogget »

Dodwell, Henry, a distinguished author and non-juror. His parents fled from their estate in Connaught on the breaking out of the War of 1641-52, and during the first six years of his life they resided in Dublin, where he was born in October 1641. In 1648 they removed to England, and lived at York. His father, when on a visit to Ireland to look after his affairs, died of the plague at Waterford. His mother died soon after of consumption, and the lad was for a time left in the greatest poverty — until 1654, when he was adopted by his uncle, incumbent of Hemley. Two years afterwards he was entered at Trinity College, where he soon distinguished himself. "From his first entrance he was known by all to have been the eminentest example for studiousness, piety, and all virtues;.. he lived in bare frugality, and gave the rest of his whole estate in charity to the needy, and in liberality to his relations." He rapidly advanced to a fellowship, which he resigned in 1666, having scruples concerning taking orders. In 1674, already well known by his theological writings, he settled in London, to be nearer the great libraries and the company of congenial minds. He engaged in lengthened controversies against "Quakers, Deists, Papists, and Socinians, and other enemies of our church's and kingdom's peace." In 1688 he was appointed Camden Professor of History at Oxford, reading his inaugural lecture on 25th May. From this position he was expelled in November 1691 for refusing to take the oath of allegiance to William and Mary. To him, we are told, "the preservation of a good conscience and the securing of inward peace were preferable to all such secular considerations, though ever so advantageous." He afterwards settled at Cookham, in Berkshire, and separated from the Church because new bishops were appointed to succeed non-jurors. Many of his writings were now directed against the new bishops, and towards the support of the position of those who, having sworn allegiance to James II., were unwilling to accept the new government. He married in 1694, solely, we are told, to prevent an estate passing out of the family. Although there was considerable disparity between the ages of his wife and himself, the marriage was happy, and they had numerous children. He was afterwards reconciled to the Church, and died at Shottesbrooke, 7th June 1711, aged 69. His character, as depicted by his biographer, was a mixture of simplicity and learning, genuine piety, and firm adherence to his principles. His constitution was vigorous — he was accustomed to say that he did not know what a headache was. He studied much when travelling, and to this end preferred walking, so that he could read unmolested and in quiet, and his clothes were furnished with large pockets specially for the reception of the small library He carried with him. His biographer enumerates fifty of his works, of which (including different editions) there are fifty-eight in the library of Trinity College, many of them in Latin. He was, perhaps, the most learned man Trinity College, Dublin, ever produced. Gibbon says: "Dodwell's learning was immense; in this part of history especially [that of the upper Empire] the most minute fact or passage could not escape him; and his skill in employing them is equal to his learning. The worst of this author is his method and style — the one perplexed beyond imagination; the other negligent to a degree of barbarism." His son Henry, a barrister, the anonymous author of Christianity not Founded on Argument (1742), died in 1763; and his son William, Archdeacon of Berks, a distinguished divine, died in 1785.


16. Authors, Dictionary of British and American: S. Austin Allibone. 3 vols. Philadelphia, 1859-'71.

38. Biographical Dictionary: John Gorton. 3 vols. London, 1833.

105. Dodwell, Henry, Life, with Account of his Works: Francis Brokesby. 2 vols. London, 1815.

« Charles Roger Dod | Index | Thomas Dogget »

Search Library Ireland


My Lady of the Chimney CornerMy Lady of the Chimney Corner

A memorable and moving story of the triumph of the human spirit in the face of adversity. In 1863 the author, Alexander Irvine, was born into dire poverty, the child of a 'mixed' marriage. His parents had survived the ravages of the famine years, but want and hunger were never to be too far away from their door. Irvine was ultimately destined to leave Ireland for America and to become a successful minister and author. He learned to read and write when he had left his home in Antrim far behind, but he came to realize that the greatest lessons he had received in life were at his mother's knee. My Lady of the Chimney Corner is the depiction of an existence that would be unthinkable in modern Ireland; but, more than that, it is the author's loving tribute to his mother, Anna, who taught him to look at the world through clean spectacles. ISBN 978-1-910375-32-7. USA orders. The book is also available as a Kindle download (UK) and Kindle download (US).

Popular Rhymes and Sayings of IrelandPopular Rhymes and Sayings of Ireland

In Popular Rhymes and Sayings of Ireland (first published in 1924) John J. Marshall examines the origin of a variety of rhymes and sayings that were at one time in vogue around different parts of the country, including those which he recalled from his own childhood in County Tyrone. Numerous riddles, games and charms are recounted, as well as the traditions of the ‘Wren Boys’ and Christmas Rhymers. Other chapters describe the war cries of prominent Irish septs and the names by which Ireland has been personified in literature over the centuries. The book is also available as a Kindle download.


Annals of the Famine in Ireland

Annals of the Famine in Ireland

Annals of the Famine in Ireland, by Asenath Nicholson, still has the power to shock and sadden even though the events described are ever-receding further into the past. When you read, for example, of the poor widowed mother who was caught trying to salvage a few potatoes from her landlord’s field, and what the magistrate discovered in the pot in her cabin, you cannot help but be appalled and distressed.

The ebook is available for download in .mobi (Kindle), .epub (iBooks, etc.) and .pdf formats. For further information on the book and author see details ».

Ireland's Welcome to the Stranger

Ireland’s Welcome to the Stranger

This book, the prequel to Annals of the Famine in Ireland cannot be recommended highly enough to those interested in Irish social history. The author, Mrs Asenath Nicholson, travelled from her native America to assess the condition of the poor in Ireland during the mid 1840s. Refusing the luxury of hotels and first class travel, she stayed at a variety of lodging-houses, and even in the crude cabins of the very poorest. Not to be missed!

The ebook is available for download in .mobi (Kindle), .epub (iBooks, etc.) and .pdf formats. For further information on the book and author see details ».

The Scotch-Irish in America

The Scotch-Irish in America

Henry Ford Jones' book, first published in 1915 by Princeton University, is a classic in its field. It covers the history of the Scotch-Irish from the first settlement in Ulster to the American Revolutionary period and the foundation of the country.

The ebook is available for download in .mobi (Kindle), .epub (iBooks, etc.) and .pdf formats. For further information on the book and author see details ».


letterJoin our mailing list to receive updates on new content on Library, our latest ebooks, and more.

You won’t be inundated with emails! — we'll just keep you posted periodically — about once a monthish — on what's happening with the library.