Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Asplin, William

ASPLIN, WILLIAM (1687–1758), theological writer, was born in 1686-7, was educated at Trinity College, Oxford, and, on taking his B.A. degree in 1707, removed to St. Alban's Hall, and became vice-principal. He was ordained in 1709, became chaplain to a regiment, and in 1717 vicar of Banbury. In 1721 he became vicar of Horley, and in 1733 vicar of Burthorpe, Gloucestershire. He died 1758. He married Mary, daughter of John Myster, of Horton, Oxfordshire. Asplin was a man of considerable learning, and corresponded with Dr. John Ward, the Gresham professor of rhetoric, on matters relating to archaeological lore and natural history. His works are:

1. 'Alkibla. A Disquisition upon Worshiping towards the East. Wherein are contain'd the General Antiquity, the Rise, and Reasonableness of this Religious Ceremony in the Gentile World: It's early Adoption into the Church of Christ; with a Free and Impartial Examination of the Reasons assigned for it by the Antient Fathers, By a Master of Arts of the University of Oxford.' London, 1728, 8vo. With a dedication to Sir Richard Steele. The second part, dedicated to Lord Chancellor King, appeared in 1735, 'With a serious and impartial Examination of the Reasons assign'd for the Practice' of worshipping towards the east 'by our Modern Divines: in order to obviate Superstition in our Publick Devotion, to remove from it all Party-Distinction, and unnecessary Objections, and to assert the Principles of the Reformation; by reducing the Ceremonies of Churchmen to the Standard of the Church. To which are prefix'd, Some Thoughts by way of Preface concerning the proper Use of Ridicule in Controversies stil'd Religious.' A second edition of both the parts appeared in 1740. An answer was published by the Rev. John Andrews, vicar of South Newington, Oxfordshire, under the title of 'The Kebla: or, a Defence of Eastward Adoration,' London, 2 parts, 1728-9; and this in turn was 'dissected' in 'The Anatomy of the Kebla, by a true Son of the Church of England,' 1729. Perhaps it may not be superfluous to mention that kibla is an Arabic word which signifies a turning. 2. 'The Impertinences of Modern Antiquaries display'd; or a Refutation of Mr. Wise's Letter to Dr. Mead concerning the "White Horse," &c.' London, no date, 4to.

[Beesley's Hist. of Banbury, 513; Bigland's Collections relating to the County of Gloucester, i. 546; MS. Addit. 6210 ff. 1-11, 6226 p. 42; Gent. Mag. xlviii. 221, 305; Rawlinson MSS. fol. 16, 98; Cat. Lib. Impress. Bibliothecæ Bodleianæ (1843); Cat. of Oxford Graduates.]

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