Rev. Dr. William Dodd

Dr.William Dodd in his cell at Newgate jail.

  William Dodd, the son of a Lincolnshire clergyman, proved to be an excellent student at Cambridge,
    and then attempted to pursue a career as a writer in London. After his marriage to the daughter of a
       servant woman, which was not considered a good match by his friends, he took a house in Wardour Street.
     This was beyond his means. He then began to study theology, was ordained in 1751, and became a curate
  at West Ham. He supplemented his income by tutoring the sons of wealthy men, including the Earl of
    Chesterfield. Unfortunately his debts continued to grow, and in 1777 he offered a bond for 4,200 in
       the name of Chesterfield. It was found to be a forgery, and Dodd was committed for trial. In May he was
     sentenced to death, and despite the efforts of many to save him, he was hanged on June 27th. He spent
         his last days in Newgate jail writing Thoughts in Prison. The illustration shows Dodd in his prison cell.

         At the time his brother Richard was rector of Cowley, so his body was brought there,
and buried in thechurchyard. A plaque was placed on the church wall nearby.

The plaque to Rev.Dr.William Dodd at Cowley church.
A full life of Dodd is given in The Macaroni Parson; a life of the unfortunate Dr Dodd by Gerald Howson. (Hutchinson. 1973)

Back to Gallimaufry

Return To Home Page