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William Dodd

(b. May 29, 1729, Bourne, Lincolnshire – d. June 27, 1777, Tyburn, Middlesex, London )

Gender: M

William Dodd (1729-1777) was a clergyman who was convicted and hanged at Tyburn for forgery. He was the son of a clergyman at Bourne in Lincolnshire, and was ordained a priest in 1753. He became a fashionable preacher, and was appointed as a chaplain in ordinary to the King in 1763. He was appointed tutor to Philip Stanhope, later 5th Earl of Chesterfield. He was known as the “macaroni parson” for his extravagant lifestyle, and was dismissed from his posts after offering a bribe to Lady Apsley, wife of the Lord Chancellor, to secure the lucrative position of rector of St George’s, Hanover Square. After spending two years abroad, her returned to London, where in February 1777 he forged a bond for £4,200 in the name of the Earl of Chesterfield to clear his debts. On being discovered, he made a full confession, and 23,000 people signed a petition seeking a pardon, but he was publicly hanged on 27th June 1777. Samuel Johnson wrote in his defence, and it was of Dodd that he made his famous comment that “when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully”.

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  • William Dodd

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Please note that all dates and location information are provisional, initially taken from the library and archive catalogues. As our section editors continue to work through the material we will update our database and the changes will be reflected across the edition.

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