Towne, John (DNB00)

TOWNE, JOHN (1711?–1791), controversialist, born about 1711, was educated at Clare Hall, Cambridge, whence he graduated B.A. in 1732 and M.A. in 1736. He became vicar of Thorpe-Ernald, Leicestershire, on 22 June 1740, archdeacon of Stowe in 1765, a prebendary of Lincoln, and rector of Little Paunton, Lincolnshire. He died on 15 March 1791 at Little Paunton, where he was buried, a mural tablet being erected to his memory in the church. Towne was a friend of Bishop Warburton, who held him in high esteem. By his wife Anne, who died on 31 Jan. 1754, he left three daughters and one son, who became a painter and died young.

His works are: 1. ‘A Critical Inquiry into the Opinions and Practice of the Ancient Philosophers, concerning the nature of the Soul and a Future State, and their method of teaching by the double doctrine. … With a Preface by the Author of the Divine Legation’ [William Warburton, bishop of Gloucester] (anon.), London, 1747, 8vo; 2nd edit. London, 1748, 8vo. 2. ‘The Argument of the Divine Legation [by Bishop Warburton], fairly stated and returned to the Deists, to whom it was originally addressed,’ London, 1751, 8vo. 3. ‘A Free and Candid Examination of the Principles advanced in the … Bishop of London's [i.e. Dr. Sherlock's] … Sermons, lately published; and in his … Discourses on Prophecy’ (anon.), London, 1756, 8vo. 4. ‘Dissertation on the Antient Mysteries,’ London, 1766. 5. ‘Remarks on Dr. Lowth's Letter to the Bishop of Gloucester [William Warburton]. With the Bishop's Appendix, and the second Epistolary Correspondence between his Lordship and the Doctor annexed’ (anon.), 2 pts. London, 1766, 8vo. 5. ‘Exposition of the Orthodox System of Civil Rights, and Church Power; addressed to Dr. Stebbing.’

[Gent. Mag. 1791, i. 286; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. ii. 283; Hurd's Life of Bishop Warburton, 1788, p. 134; Martin's Privately Printed Books, 2nd edit. p. 62; Le Neve's Fasti, ed. Hardy, ii. 81; Nichols's Hist. of Leicestershire, ii. 371.]

T. C.