Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Dunster, Samuel

DUNSTER, SAMUEL (1675–1754), translator of Horace, of a Somersetshire family, was born in September 1675, entered the Merchant Taylors' School 12 March 1687–8, and was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. He graduated B.A. in 1693, M.A. in 1700, B.D. and D.D. in 1713, and was ordained at Fulham in 1700. He was at St. James's, Westminster, in 1705, and acted as chaplain to Charles, viscount Maynard, before 1708, to Charles, duke of Shrewsbury, in 1712, and to the Duke of Marlborough some years after. In 1716 he is mentioned by Lady Cowper (Diary, 1864, p. 100) as preaching ‘an intolerable dull sermon’ at court. He was presented to the rectory of Chinnor, Oxfordshire, in 1716 by Queen Anne, and was afterwards collated to the incumbency of Paddington, London. The prebend of Netherbury in Salisbury Cathedral was conferred on him in 1717. This he exchanged in 1720 for Grimston Yatminster in the same cathedral, which stall he held until 1748, when he resigned it to his son Charles. In 1720, also, he was collated to the stall of Farendon in Lincoln Cathedral. In 1722 he succeeded to the valuable vicarage of Rochdale. He died at Rochdale in July 1754, aged 79, after a residence there of thirty-two years and three months.

He was a dignified clergyman and a useful magistrate, though a poor and verbose preacher. He had high-church and non-juring leanings, and was closely associated with the active Jacobite party in Manchester.

His earliest poem is included in the ‘Lacrymæ Cantabrigienses in obitum Seren. Reginæ Mariæ,’ 1694–5. He is credited by the editors of Whitaker's ‘History of Whalley’ (4th edit. ii. 426) with the authorship of ‘Anglia Rediviva, being a Full Description of all the Shires, Cities, Principal Towns and Rivers in England,’ 1699, 8vo. His other publications were: 1. ‘Wisdom and Understanding the Glory and Excellence of Human Nature,’ being a sermon in defence of popular education, 1708, 8vo (three editions). 2. ‘The Conditions of Drexilius on Eternity, made English from the Latin,’ 1710. A second edition appeared in 1714, and other editions subsequently. In 1844 it was revised and again published, with a preface by the Rev. H. P. Dunster. 3. ‘The Satyrs and Epistles of Horace, done into English,’ 1710, 8vo. A second edition, with the addition of the ‘Art of Poetry,’ came out in 1717, with the translator's portrait. The fourth edition is dated 1729. This dull version exposed him to the taunts of the satirists of his day, among whom was Dr. T. Francklin, who wrote—

O'er Tibur's swan the muses wept in vain,
And mourn'd their Bard by cruel Dunster slain.

4. ‘A Panegyrick on his Majesty King George … by Charles Ludolph, Baron de Danckelman, made English from the Latin by S. D.,’ 1716, 4to.

[Raine's Vicars of Rochdale, ed. by Howorth, Chetham Soc. 1883, pp. 144 seq.; Whitaker's Whalley, 4th edit. ii. 426; Nichols's Anecdotes viii. 463 (as to the sale of Dunster's library); Robinson's Register of Merchant Taylors' School, i. 320; Le Neve's Fasti (Hardy), iii. 151, 166–7; Marriage Licenses, Harleian Soc. xxvi. 334.]

C. W. S.