He was the only son of James Downall of Liverpool and studied at Magdalen Hall, Oxford, graduating BA in 1826 and MA in 1829. He was ordained deacon in 1826 at Eccleshal, Staffordshire. His first post was as Curate at Blidworth. He then became Chaplain to the Earl of Burlington before a stint as Vicar of St George, Kidderminster.
- ”Some account of the barony and town of Okehampton:Its antiquities and institutions” Bridges, W.B; Wright, W.H.K; Rattenbury, J; Shebbeare, R; Thomas, C; Fothergill, H.G Tiverton, W.Masland,1889
- MISCELLANEOUS North Wales Chronicle (Bangor, Wales), Saturday, March 19, 1859; Issue 1667
- Trewman's Exeter Flying Post (Exeter, England), Wednesday, April 10, 1872; Issue 5602. (555 words).
- 'BA UNIVERSITY INTELLIGENCE' The Morning Post (London, England), Friday, May 05, 1826; Issue 17278
- "Downall, John". Retrieved 2012-05-24.
- 'PREFERMENT' Berrow's Worcester Journal (Worcester, England), Thursday, July 08, 1841; Issue 7232
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