Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Durell, David

DURELL, DAVID (1728–1775), divine, was a native of Jersey, where he was born in 1728. He took the degree of M.A. 20 June 1753 as a member of Pembroke College, Oxford, and afterwards became fellow, and eventually in 1757 principal, of Hertford College. He became B.D. 23 April 1760, and D.D. 14 Jan. 1764. The only ecclesiastical preferments he held were the vicarage of Ticehurst in Sussex and a prebend in Canterbury Cathedral, to which he was appointed 27 Jan. 1767. Considerable extracts from his works, which it is not thought worth while to insert here, may be seen in the second edition of Kippis's ‘Biographia Britannica.’ From one of these it appears that he was an ardent advocate for a new translation of the Bible which should be an improvement on the authorised version of 1611. He had lent money for the building of the Oxford market, the interest of which, amounting to 20l. a year, he appointed half to be given to the principal of Hertford College, and the other half to the two senior fellows, with the condition that if there should be but one senior fellow, he should receive one-third of the sum and the principal two-thirds. He served the office of vice-chancellor of the university of Oxford in 1765–6 and 1767, and in the beginning of 1767 was appointed to a prebendal stall in Canterbury. He died 19 Oct. 1775, aged 47. He published the following works:

  1. ‘The Hebrew Text of the Parallel Prophecies of Jacob and Moses relating to the Twelve Tribes, with a Translation and Notes and the various Lectures of near forty MSS. To which are added: (1) The Samaritan-Arabic Version of those Passages, and part of another Arabic Version made from the Samaritan Text, neither of which have been before printed; (2) A Map of the Land of Promise; (3) An Appendix containing Four Dissertations on points connected with the Subjects of these Prophecies,’ Oxford, 1763, 4to.
  2. ‘Critical Remarks on the Books of Job, Proverbs, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, and Canticles,’ Oxford, 1772, 4to. Both works were reviewed critically in the ‘Monthly Review,’ vols. xlvii. and xxx. respectively.

[Wood's Hist. and Antiq. of Oxford (Gutch), 1786, 4to, and Appendix, 1790; Cat. of Oxford, Graduates; Monthly Review.]

N. P.