Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Macbride, John David

MACBRIDE, JOHN DAVID (1778–1868), principal of Magdalen Hall, Oxford, born at Plympton in Devonshire, 28 June 1778, was only son of John Macbride, admiral (d. 1800) [q. v.] David Macbride, M.D. [q. v.], was his uncle. After being educated at Cheam school in Surrey, under William Gilpin (1757–1848), he was matriculated at Exeter College, Oxford, 28 March 1795. His habits were studious. He graduated B.A. 1799 and M.A. 1802, and on 9 July 1800 he was admitted a fellow of his college. On 21 and 22 Nov. 1811 he became B.C.L. and D.C.L., and in 1813 F.S.A. He interested himself in oriental literature, and in 1813 was appointed principal of Magdalen Hall, and lord almoner's reader in Arabic, succeeding in both offices Dr. Henry Ford. These two appointments he retained till his death; the latter was almost a sinecure. For some years he held several other university offices, viz. assessor of the chancellor's court, delegate of privileges, delegate of the university press, commissioner of the market. It was during his headship that the buildings of Magdalen Hall were moved (1822) from their former situation contiguous to Magdalen College to their present site. The Hall, which was in 1874 renamed Hertford College, was only comparatively successful under Macbride's administration. William Jacobson [q. v.], afterwards bishop of Chester, was for some years his vice-principal, and Macbride himself gave theological lectures to his undergraduates. He was a deeply religious layman of evangelical views. He was well off and extremely liberal, especially in helping poor members of his college. He was not a man of deep learning, but one of varied and extensive information, which he would bring out in a quaint and humorous fashion (Burgon, Lives of Twelve Good Men, ii. 297). In 1863 the jubilee of his headship was celebrated by a large gathering of members of his Hall, and by the foundation of a scholarship that bears his name. He died 24 Jan. 1868, aged 89. On 19 July 1805 he married Mary (1770–1862), second daughter of Sir Joseph Radcliffe, bart., and widow of Joseph Starkie, esq.; he and his wife are buried in Holywell cemetery, Oxford. His only child, a daughter, survived him.

Macbride's principal literary work was ‘The Mohammedan Religion explained; with an introductory Sketch of its Progress, and Suggestions for its Confutation,’ 8vo, London, 1857. It is a useful book, without any pretension to original research, but with perhaps a greater appearance of learning than it deserves, on account of its many Arabic quotations. He also published: 1. ‘Lectures explanatory of the Diatessaron,’ 8vo, Oxford, 1824; 4th edit. 1854. 2. ‘Lectures on the Thirty-nine Articles,’ 8vo, Oxford, 1853. 3. ‘Lectures on the Acts of the Apostles and on the Epistles,’ 8vo, Oxford, 1858.

[Times, 25 Jan. 1868; Guardian, 29 Jan. 1868; Gent. Mag. 1868, i. 393–4; Boase's Register of … Exeter College; private information; Foster's Alumni Oxon.]

W. A. G.