Sir William Dawes, 3rd Baronet

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For other people named William Dawes, see William Dawes (disambiguation).
Sir William Dawes, Bt
Archbishop of York
Abp Sir William Dawes.jpg
Province Province of York
Diocese Diocese of York
In office 1714–1724 (death)
Predecessor John Sharp
Successor Lancelot Blackburne
Other posts Master of St Catharine's College, Cambridge (1697–1714)
Dean of Bocking (1698–?)
Bishop of Chester (1708–1714)
Consecration 1708
Personal details
Born (1671-09-12)12 September 1671
Lyons, Essex, England
Died 30 April 1724(1724-04-30) (aged 52)
Westminster, Middlesex, Great Britain
Buried St Cat's chapel
Nationality English (later British)
Denomination Anglican
Parents Sir John Dawes, 1st Baronet & Christian née Lyons
Spouse Frances (m. 1692–1705)
Children 5 sons & 2 daughters[1]
Profession preacher
Alma mater St John's College, Oxford
St Catharine's College, Cambridge

Sir William Dawes, 3rd Baronet PC (12 September 1671 – 30 April 1724) was an Anglican prelate. He served as Bishop of Chester from 1708 to 1714 and then as Archbishop of York from 1714 to 1724.


Dawes was born at Lyons, near Braintree in Essex and from the age of nine attended Merchant Taylors' School in London. Already excelling in Hebrew by the age of 15, he was barely 18 when he wrote his work in verse: The Anatomy of Atheisme, and his eminent The Duties of the Closet in prose.

In 1687, William matriculated at St John's College in Oxford,[2] the college he also became a fellow of, then migrated to St Catharine's College, Cambridge in 1689. He received his Cambridge Master of Arts (MA Cantab) degree from St Cat's in 1695 on royal decree (per lit. reg.) due to his young age. In 1696 he graduated in theology (Doctor of Divinity {DD}).[3]

Anglican priest[edit]

William Dawes became the permanent pastor of William III (1688–1702) and was later court pastor of Queen Anne (1702–14). From 1698, at a young age, he was Canon of Worcester Cathedral.

He was Master of St Catharine's College, Cambridge between 1697 and 1714[4] and Vice-Chancellor, 1698–9.

He was elected rector in the village of Bocking (where the rector is called Dean of Bocking) near to his estates in Essex. Here he introduced the innovative custom of taking Holy Communion not only on the three great feasts, but once every month.

On 8 February 1708[1] he was consecrated Bishop of Chester: this was at the personal wish of Queen Anne, who overruled the advice of her ministers in appointing him. He was Archbishop of York from 1714 until his death in 1724[5] and a Privy Counsellor.[6] He owed his advancement to the good will of the Queen and of his predecessor, John Sharp, who had a great regard for him, and had great influence with the Queen: it was Sharp's dying request that Dawes succeed him at York, which the Queen happily granted. He restored the Archbishop's palace in York, the Bishopthorpe.

He died on 30 April 1724 from inflammation of the bowels. He was buried in the chapel of St Catharine's together with his wife. He was the most outstanding preacher of his period, a representative of the ideal of aristocratic prelate, of a high and authoritative personality.[7]


William Dawes was the son of John Dawes, 1st Baronet of Putney and Christian Lyons of Bocking.[8]

He married Frances Cole d'Arcy (1673–1705; daughter of Thomas d'Arcy {1632–1693} and Jane Cole {1640–?}) on 1 December 1692, at St Edmund King and Martyr, Lombard St, City of London.

Their daughter Elizabeth married William Milner (?−1745), 1st Baronet of Nun Appleton Hall, MP of York in the early 18th century.

Styles and titles[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Dawes, Sir William". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/7336.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ "Dawes, William (DWS695W)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ [3]
  6. ^ The London Gazette: no. 5264. p. 1. 28 September 1714.
  7. ^ [4]
  8. ^ A genealogical and heraldic history of the extinct and dormant baronetcies ... by John Burke

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainOverton, John Henry (1888). "Dawes, William (1671-1724)". In Stephen, Leslie. Dictionary of National Biography. 14. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 

Baronetage of England
Preceded by
Robert Dawes
(of Putney)
Succeeded by
Darcy Dawes
Academic offices
Preceded by
John Eachard
Master of St Catharine's College, Cambridge
Succeeded by
Thomas Sherlock
Church of England titles
Preceded by
Nicholas Stratford
Bishop of Chester
Succeeded by
Francis Gastrell
Preceded by
John Sharp
Archbishop of York
Succeeded by
Lancelot Blackburne