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Dun [Donne], Sir Daniel (1544/5–1617), ecclesiastical lawyer, was the eldest of three known sons of Robert Dun of St Botolph, Aldersgate, London (d. 1552/3), gentleman (in his will, though in 1576 held to have been a villein regardant to the honour of Eye in Suffolk), and his wife, Anne (d. 1611×13), daughter of John Branche and Joan Wilkenson. Their father entrusted the care of Daniel and his brothers, together with their £100 portions, to his brothers-in-law John and Thomas Branche, London drapers, while allowing his widow to have their keeping if she wished. Dun was admitted a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, in 1567, BCL on 14 July 1572, and DCL on 20 July 1580, the year in which he became principal of New Inn Hall. Commissioned as an advocate in the court of arches on 3 October 1580, he was admitted to Doctors' Commons on 22 January 1582. He was a commissary during the vacancy of the see of Peterborough in 1585, official of the archdeaconry of Essex in 1585–6, and from 1598 chancellor of Rochester diocese (until 1604), the archbishop of Canterbury's auditor causarum, official principal of the court of arches, and dean of arches. In 1584 and 1586 he was one of the commissioners empowered to preside in convocation in Archbishop Whitgift's absence. He was one of nine civilians responsible for a treatise of c.1590 defending the oaths used in the ecclesiastical courts. A member of the high commission from 1601, he was in 1603 also included in an ecclesiastical commission for the diocese of Winchester. He attended in 1604 the third session of the Hampton Court conference, at which the ex officio oath was discussed, and was included in a commission for the suppression of books printed or imported without authority, which was set up pursuant to a decision taken at the conference. He became an honorary member of Gray's Inn in 1599.

From 1598 onwards, while continuing to act as an ecclesiastical judge, Dun was very often instructed or commissioned, along with other expert civil lawyers, to inquire into delicate and complicated maritime matters, including merchants' grievances, disputes between English and foreign merchants, and cases concerning doubtful prizes, embezzlement, or piracy. He was included in two commissions appointed in 1599 to hear and determine cases brought by Danish and French subjects respectively against English pirates, and in 1601 and 1609 in two other commissions, headed by the earl of Nottingham, to inquire into the depredations committed by such pirates against the subjects of the king of France and other friendly states. In August 1602 he was sent on embassy, together with Lord Eure and Sir John Herbert, to treat at Bremen with Danish ambassadors concerning tolls on English ships going through the sound or to Muscovy and attempts to prevent English fishing in waters claimed by the Danish crown. Just before this mission he was sworn extraordinary master of requests (1 August 1602). He was knighted (23 July 1603), and by July 1609 had been appointed lieutenant principal judge and president of the high court of admiralty. In 1611, together with Henry Marten, he complained to the privy council about growing interference with admiralty jurisdiction by means of prohibitions, but with little success.

Dun was elected MP for Taunton, probably as a nominee of the bishop of Winchester, in the parliament of 1601, where he served on a committee concerned with the penal laws and on 16 November opposed a bill against pluralities. He worked to gain representation for the universities, and in 1604 and 1614 he was elected by Oxford University; on the latter occasion the votes of the heads of houses were decisive, despite widespread support for his opponent among the electors. In 1604 he was one of the MPs appointed to consult with Scottish commissioners concerning a closer union of the two kingdoms, and (in connection with the proposed bill for abolishing hostile laws) defended in the Commons on 28 May 1607 the remanding by the king from either England or Scotland of prisoners accused of crimes in the other country.

In 1613, when he was a justice of assize in north Wales, Dun and his colleagues were instructed to investigate a complaint by Shropshire drapers about the export of undressed Welsh cloth to France. In 1615 he was included in the commission to investigate the complicity of the earl and countess of Somerset in the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury. A tract defending the annulment of the countess's first marriage, to the earl of Essex, is probably by Dun, as is also a treatise upholding the supervisory and prerogative jurisdiction of the Canterbury archiepiscopal courts. A collection of statutes concerning the court of arches bears his signature on its flyleaf and was presumably compiled under his aegis, as a set of reports of arches cases (1598–1604), may also have been. All these works survive only in manuscript.

Dun had married by 1587 Joan (d. 1640), daughter of William Aubrey, his predecessor as principal of New Inn Hall and the subject of a short account in Dun's hand. According to his epitaph they had sixteen children, seven of whom were alive in 1607. He held a messuage on Aldersgate Street, London, and the manor of Theydon Garnon, Essex, in which county he was a justice of the peace in both 1601 and 1609, and was named a member of the Virginia Company in its charter of 1609. He died on 26 September 1617 probably at Theydon Garnon, where he was buried on 28 September. His epitaph in the church there gives his age at death as seventy-two. Administration of his estate was granted to John, his son and heir, in April 1618. There is a bust of Dun by Sir Henry Cheere, executed many years after Dun's death, in the Codrington Library, All Souls College, Oxford.

Ralph Houlbrooke


epitaph, Essex, Theydon Garnon church · will, TNA: PRO, PROB 11/36, fols. 38v–39r [Robert Dun] · CPR, 1578–8, 111, no. 706 · B. P. Levack, The civil lawyers in England, 1603–1641 (1973), 226–7 · HoP, Commons, 1558–1603 · Rymer, Foedera, 16.362–4, 412–13, 429–36, 430–33, 464–5, 546–51, 600, 781–3 · J. L. Chester and G. J. Armytage, eds., Allegations for marriage licences issued by the bishop of London, 1, Harleian Society, 25 (1887), 295, 312–13 · Foster, Alum. Oxon. · J. Strype, The life and acts of John Whitgift, new edn, 3 vols. (1822) · M. B. Rex, University representation in England, 1604–1690 (1954) · G. D. Squibb, Doctors' Commons: a history of the College of Advocates and Doctors of Law (1977) · APC, 1590–91; 1597–1601; 1613–17, xx, xxviii–xxxi · VCH Essex · M. J. Prichard and D. E. C. Yale, eds., Hale and Fleetwood on admiralty jurisdiction, SeldS, 108 (1993) · The parliamentary diary of Robert Bowyer, 1606–1607, ed. D. H. Willson (1931) · T. L. Moir, The Addled Parliament of 1614 (1958) · W. A. Shaw, The knights of England, 2 vols. (1906) · parish register, Theydon Garnon, Essex RO · private information (2004) [R. Helmholz]


NL Scot., memorandum book


H. Cheere, bust, All Souls Oxf., Codrington Library