Dillingham, William (DNB00)

DILLINGHAM, WILLIAM, D.D. (1617?–1689), Latin poet and controversialist, son of Thomas Dillingham, rector of Barnwell All Saints, Northamptonshire, by Dorothy his wife, was born in that parish about 1617. He was admitted a sizar of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, 22 April 1636, proceeded B.A. in 1639, was elected a fellow of his college in 1642, commenced M.A. in 1643, and subsequently graduated B.D. in 1650, and D.D. in 1655. As an undergraduate he shared chambers with William Sancroft, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury, with whom he maintained throughout life an uninterrupted friendship and correspondence. Sancroft was deprived of his fellowship for refusing to subscribe the ‘engagement,’ but Dillingham, being inclined to puritanism, remained at Cambridge, and his acquiescence in the new order of things was rewarded in 1653 by his appointment to the mastership of Emmanuel College on the nomination of the Earl of Manchester, chancellor of the university. In 1659 he was chosen vice-chancellor, and he discharged the duties of that office with credit and ability at the critical period of the Restoration. The college did not flourish under his government, as it was distracted by religious dissensions among the fellows.

When the Act of Uniformity was passed he had scruples about taking the oath, not on the ground of objections to the Book of Common Prayer, but because he could not affirm that the ‘solemn league and covenant’ was an unlawful oath which imposed no obligation on those who had voluntarily subscribed it. His refusal to comply with the injunctions of the statute ipso facto deprived him of his university preferment, and on 31 Aug. 1662 his old friend Sancroft was unanimously elected master in his place. He retired to Oundle, Northamptonshire, of which parish his brother was vicar, and there he lived for ten years in literary seclusion. After the death of his first wife he was induced to conform, and he was presented by Sir Thomas Alston in May 1672 to the rectory of Woodhill, now called Odell, Bedfordshire, where he passed the remainder of his life. In 1673, being then a widower with two sons, he married a widow named Mary Toller, who had already been thrice married and had seven children. She is said to have made an excellent wife. Dillingham was buried at Odell on 28 Nov. 1689. His wife survived him little more than six months; she was buried at Horbling, Lincolnshire, on 21 June 1690.

His works are: 1. ‘The Commentaries of Sir Francis Vere; being diverse pieces of service, wherein he had command, written by himself in way of commentary,’ Camb. 1657, fol., dedicated to Sir Horace Townshend, bart. 2. ‘Poemata varii argumenti, partim e Georgio Herberto Latine (utcunque) reddita, partim conscripta a Wilh. Dillingham S. T. D.,’ Lond. 1678. Most of the pieces in this volume were corrected by Sancroft, and one (p. 155) was certainly from his pen. It is entitled ‘Hippodromus,’ and is a translation of an epigram by Thomas Bastard, first printed in 1598, and beginning,

I mett a courtier riding on the plaine

(Notes and Queries, 1st ser. iii. 323). 3. ‘ Sermon at the Funeral of the Lady Elizabeth Alston, preached in the parish church of Woodhill, Septemb. 10, 1677,’ Lond. 1678, 4to (abridged in Wilford's ‘Memorials,’ p. 357). 4. ‘Ægyptus triumphata. Poema sacrum,’ Lond. 1680, 4to. 5. ‘Concerning the cure of Anger,’ a translation from Plutarch. In ‘Plutarch's Morals: translated from the Greek by several hands,’ 1684, &c. 6. ‘Protestant Certainty; or a short Treatise shewing how a Protestant may be well assured of the Articles of his Faith’ (anon.), Lond. 1689, 4to. 7. ‘The Mystery of Iniquity anatomized,’ Lond. 1689, 4to. 8. ‘Sphæristerium Suleianum,’ in Latin verse. Printed in ‘Examen Poeticum Duplex,’ Lond. 1698, p. 29. 9. ‘Vita Laurentii Chadertoni S. T. P., & Collegii Emmanuelis apud Cantabrigienses Magistri Primi. Una cum Vita Jacobi Usserii Archiepiscopi Armachani, tertiâ ferè parte aucta,’ Cambridge, typis academicis, 1700, 8vo. To this work, which was edited by his son Thomas, are appended the ‘Conciones ad Clerum,’ preached by Dillingham on taking his degrees of B.D. and D.D. The original manuscript is in the Harleian collection, No. 7052. Mr. E. S. Shuckburgh, M.A., published a ‘free and abbreviated translation’ of the life of Chaderton, Cambridge, 1884, 8vo. 10. Latin verses in the university collection on the Restoration, and on the death of Thomas Gataker. The latter are reprinted in Beloe's ‘Anecdotes,’ vi. 103. Other specimens of his Latin and English verses from his unpublished correspondence are given in Waters's ‘Genealogical Memoirs of the Family of Chester.’ 11. Letters. His correspondence with Sancroft, extending over a period of forty-nine years, is preserved among the Tanner MSS. in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. Some of these letters are printed in Waters's ‘Family of Chester.’

He also edited Nathaniel Culverwell's ‘Discourse of the Light of Nature,’ 1652; Philip Ferrari's ‘Lexicon Geographicum,’ 1657; Arrowsmith's ‘Chain of Principles, wherein the chief heads of the Christian Religion are asserted,’ 1660 (conjointly with Dr. Thomas Horton); Horton's ‘Sermons on the Epistle to the Romans,’ 1674; and Horton's ‘Practical Expositions on four select Psalms,’ 1675.

[Bridges's Northamptonshire, ii. 216; Cat. of Printed Books in Brit. Mus.; Carter's Univ. of Camb. 360, 413; Cole's Athenæ Cantab. D. 7; Gough's British Topography, i. 246; Hackman's Cat. of Tanner MSS.; Hill's Hist. of Langton, 47; Le Neve's Fasti (Hardy); Notes and Queries, 1st ser. vii. 427, 486, 5th ser. viii. 167; Cat. of Sloane MSS. 756, 788; Waters's Geneal. Memoirs of the Family of Chester, ii. 637–47.]

T. C.