Born 14 February 1764 at Kingston, Radnorshire. He appears to have been a pupil of David Lloyd, Llanbister (1752 - 1838) — see N.L.W. MS. 4954. Admitted to S. John's College, Cambridge, 21 May 1784, he graduated B.A. 1788, afterwards proceeding to M.A. 1792 and D.D. 1825. He became a master at Dr. Thomson's school in Kensington, 1788, was ordained deacon, at Hereford, 30 May 1790, became curate of Kington, Herefords., 1790, and was priested 19 June 1791; he became second master at the King's School, Chester, in 1794, and also curate of Eccleston, Cheshire. Becoming a minor canon of Chester cathedral in 1794 and shortly afterwards headmaster of Oswestry grammar school, he was given the vicarage of Llan-y-blodwel in 1798. His first wife, whom he married in 1793, was Caroline, daughter of John Thomson, an Edinburgh merchant; his second wife (1798) was Alice, daughter of John Croxon, Oswestry. ‘While master of Oswestry he recovered for the School … 26 acres of land which had been lost through the remissness of former Masters.’ He resigned the headship of Oswestry in 1833 and returned to Llan-y-blodwel, where he died 23 January 1844. Two sons, James and Stephen, became clergymen, the latter succeeded his father as headmaster at Oswestry.
Donne corresponded with a group of Welshmen who were interested in cultural matters, among these being Walter Davies (Gwallter Mechain), W. J. Rees of Cascob, Hugh Davies (author of Welsh Botanology), Rowland Williams, Ysgeifiog, John Jenkins (Ifor Ceri), and others.
Published date: 1959
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