King James Bible Translators
Personal and Family History
William Dakins was born about 1569 in Ashwell, Hertfordshire, a beautiful village located twenty miles southwest of Cambridge. His father was also named William Dakins. The senior Dakins attended Christ's College, Cambridge later serving there as a fellow and dean there before becoming vicar of Ashwell. Of the Translator's immediate family little else is known.
William Jr. left home in 1582 at a young age to go to preparatory school in London where he spent four years. He then began his university career at Cambridge in 1586. He spent much of the rest of his short life there.
It is unclear if William ever married. He died in Cambridge in 1607 at age thirty-eight. His place of burial is unknown at this time.
Young William Dakins enrolled as a student at Westminster School in 1582. Westminster along with Merchant Taylors' School, were the most prominent preparatory schools of England's capital city, London.
He was admitted on scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge in 1586. He graduated B.A. in 1591 and proceeded M.A. in 1596.
Shortly after receiving his B.A. in 1591, William Dakins was elected as a fellow of his college, Trinity. Eleven years later he was appointed as a Greek lecturer at Trinity, testimony to his expertise in that ancient language and also to his success as a teacher.
His first and only pastoral assignment came in 1603 when he became vicar of Trumpington, an ancient village adjoining Cambridge. He served there until 1605. Leaving the vicarage may well have been occasioned by his involvement in the new translation.
In the fall of 1606 he was appointed junior dean of his alma mater, Trinity College. He served in this position only a few months before dying on 18 February 1607.
William Dakins and the Translation
William Dakins was unquestionably an outstanding scholar. His special expertise was Greek which explains his appointment to the Second Westminster Company that had responsibility for translating the Epistles of the New Testament. The ancient texts of the Epistles were written largely in Greek, and Dakins' knowledge would have proved invaluable. It is not possible now to know the exact part he played in the translation because he died early in 1607. He wasn't able to see the project through to the end, but the final King James Bible surely bears William Dakins' imprint.
While little is known of the personality of William Dakins, there is much more information about his father for whom he was named. The senior William Dakins, like his son, was a Cambridge graduate, later serving as fellow and dean of his college. However, he left the academic life of the university to become a country parson, serving his parish church of St. Mary's for almost forty years. Upon his death in 1598 a monument was raised to his honor. It read:
William Dakins M.A. vicar of Ashwell, who having lived piously towards God, righteously towards men, and soberly as to self, for seventy five years, died 18th of February 1598-9, and was buried on the 20th.
William Dakins, Jr. was a vicar of Trumpington, Cambridgeshire where fellow Translators Jeremiah Radcliffe and John Overall likewise served. Trumpington's Church of St. Mary and St. Michael is the final resting place of Sir Roger de Trumpington who has laid entombed there since 1289. Sir Roger was a Crusader and Lord of the Manor. His tomb is overlaid with a heroic scale monumental brass that is one of the most famous of the medieval brasses of England.
There has been some question as to the birthplace of William Dakins and whether he was the Ashwell vicar's son. This question was recently resolved when Ashwell historian, David Short, located the vicar's will which makes clear he did indeed have a son, his namesake, William.