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Rev Dunbar Isidore Heath 1816-1888
of Brading, Isle of Wight; Dunbar House, Esher; Rochester House, Esher Surrey

Born: 3rd March 1816 and died 27th May 1888.
Son of: George Heath (1779-1852) and Ann Raymond Heath (nee Dunbar,1787-1842).
Brother of:
1. Julia Anna Harrison (nee Heath, 1807-1879), who married James Park Harrison.
2. Rev John Moore Heath (1808-1882), who married Marianne Harman (1816-1888).
3. Douglas Denon Heath (1811-1897).
4 Charles Heath (1814-1814).
5. Admiral Sir Leopold George Heath (1817-1907), who married Mary Emma Marsh (1826-1902).
6. Emma Jane Whatman (nee Heath, 1821-1884), who married William Godfrey Whatman (1819-1876).
Dunbar married: 2 February 1848 Emily Mary Harrison (18??-1897).
Dunbar and Emily had issue:
1. Douglas Leopold Heath (1849-1926) who married Mary Heath (nee Penkivil, 1848-1918).
2. James Dunbar Heath (1853-1936) who married Florence Heath (nee Hall).

We know about Dunbar from the following sources:

1. Entry in the book "Records of the Heath Family" by George Heath, 1913. 
2. Entry in the "Dictionary of National Biography", which lists his books and gives a brief overview of his life.  His books are also listed in the British Library catalogue.
3. The photograph album of Dunbar's brother Adm Sir Leopold George Heath

4. The publication "Burder versus Heath". by Stephen Lushington (1782-1873).  Published in London by Butterworths in 1862.  Judgment delivered on November 2, 1861 by The Right Honourable Stephen Lushington, D.C.L., Dean of The Arches.  A suit instituted in 1860 by the Bishop of Winchester, against the Rev. D.I. Heath, a clergyman of that diocese, prefering certain charges against Heath for having printed and published sermons alleged to contain doctrines repugnant to the Articles of religion, in violation of the Statute of Elizabeth, and in derogation of the Book of Common Prayer.

The note in the book "Records of the Heath Family", by George Heath, 1913, reads as follows:

Dunbar lsidore, 3rd son, was born March 3rd, 1816, and named after M. Isidore, a French friend of his father. Being of a peculiarly shy and nervous, disposition, he was unable to face the trials of life at Westminster School, and leaving after a short stay there, completed his early studies for the most part at home.  Proceeding to Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1834, he was elected Scholar in 1836, graduated in 1838 as 5th Wrangler, and obtained a Fellowship in 1840. He was ordained Deacon in 1842 and Priest in 1843. He held the curacies of Denham, Bucks., and Uxbridge Moor, Middlesex, where he won the esteem of many, alike by his public ministrations and his private character.

In 1846 he accepted the College living of Brading, Isle of Wight.  Here one of his first acts was to erect, almost at his own expense, a new Vicarage; the old one being so unwholesome as to have earned the title of Kill Parson House. He married Feb. 22nd, 1848, Emily Mary Harrison, of Hill House, Brading, and had issue two sons, Douglas Leopold and James Dunbar, of whom presently.  His ministerial labours at Brading were active and zealous according to the standard, of the day, and his many acts of personal charity and kindliness greatly endeared him to his people.

He was a recognised authority on Egyptology, being one of the first English scholars to decipher the Papyri in the British Museum, and his services as a pioneer in this branch, of learning are fully acknowledged in the Speaker's Commentary, Vol. I, pt. 1, p. 468.  His chief works in this department were " The Exodus Papyri," 1855, and " The Proverbs of Aphobis, a record of the patriarchal age," 1858. His account of the " Scottish .and Italian Missions to the Anglo-Saxons " (1845), is quoted as an authority by Bp. Chr. Wordsworth in " Theophilus Anglicanus."

In 1852 his views became more rationalistic, and were embodied in his book " The future Human Kingdom of Christ," followed by a long series of tracts, and " Sermons on important subjects," 1859.  The opinions thus set forth did not controvert any fundamental dogmas of the Christian faith, but were sufficiently advanced to alarm the ecclesiastical authorities of the day; and in 1861, the author was prosecuted for heresy by the Bishop of Winchester, and sentenced by the Court of Arches to deprivation of his benefice. He defended himself by several controversial pamphlets, and his book " Defence of my professional character," 1862, etc. An appeal was also carried to the Privy Council, but this failed, and the judgment was finally confirmed June 6th, 1862.

On leaving Brading, he resided for many years at Dunbar House, Esher, and by joining several Iearned societies, Biblical Archaeological, Anthropological, Palestine Exploration, etc, found an outlet for his literary energies in the journals and reports which year by year ware published. In 1873 he brought out Phoenician Inscriptions, pt. I., for which a special type was cast and the records and language of the Hittites also received his attention,

In 1816, as a result of heavy financial losses, he moved into Rochester house in Esher, where after a protracted illness, he died May 27th, 1888, and was buried in Esher church yard.

If I may be allowed to add a few lines to the above, I should like to record that although a student, he was anything but a bookworm. 

He is one of my early recollections at Enfield Vicarage, where he always arrived, bag in hand, without any previous notice.  He dearly loved a joke, and was always ready with droll stories and experiences to amuse and entertain our home circle.  In short, he was certainly the most amusing member of the family. 

The unhappy result of his prosecution always appeared to us as a great misfortune from every point of view; terminating as it did, his useful career as a parish priest, and preventing him from finding an adequate substitute, even in literary pursuits, for the loss of his profession.     (George Heath, 1913).


A note from the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, March 18, 1858, reads as follows:

Book of Exodus Confirmed.
REV. J. D. Heath, has published in London "Exodus Papyri," containing the result of an examination of Egyptian records, in which he finds traces of a history parallel with that given in the Pentateuch by Moses.  Mr. Heath has made himself familiar with the method of deciphering hieroglyphics employed by Young and Champollion, and a careful examination of the papyri has led him to the conclusion that they are note books of the scribes recording current events.  The bearing they have upon the Mosaic history is set forth in the following paragraph:
"That we should meet here with a Jannes, mentioned five times, with a Moses, twice, with a Balak, the son of Zippor, at a place called Huzoth, with the word Hebrew, and with the feast of passing the dead, is enough to excite at least our curiosity.  When we find, moreover, from these papyri, that a people, among whom a Moses was a leader, marched towards Palestine, by the route of Tasacarta, Migdol, and Zoar; that they were connected with the name Midia and Aram; that there was a contest at a place of a great waterflood; that an enslaved Aramaen people located about Tapanhes, met with great opposition from the governor of the place in celebrating the four days feast at the beginning of their year; that Moses is again named as a cattle owner among them; that a royal or noble youth is described as meeting a sudden and mysterious death; that a royal order is immediately issued for the hasty departure of a people for their passing the dead; and that miracles are named as being performed by their leader in Lower Egypt; - when all this is upon record, I may be pardoned, as a Christian clergyman, for maintaining that the cotemporaneity of these papyri with the Exodus seems established, and for recommending to those who have doubted the authority of the Pentateuch, a reconsideration of their theories." - Sel.


Dunbar's publications were probably printed in relativily small numbers and are now very rare.  I would assume that they were never widely read but must have struck a good note with some readers.  The lay theologian and writer Henry Dunn (1801-1878) was said to have been heard to "express his obligation to a remarkable book, never much known and now almost forgotten -- Heath's Future Human Kingdom of Christ".  Dunbar's publications are available in the British Library in London and are listed as follows:

A brief account of the Scottish & Italian Missions to the Anglo-Saxons. Collected from Bede and the best historians, and thrown into the form of a Chronicle. HEATH. Dunbar Isidore, London, 1845, 8o.

Full Knee deep, or, The Death of the old Year. A Duet for Treble & Bass. Words by Tennyson, Heath. Dunbar Isidore, 1850.

The Future Human Kingdom of Christ; or Man's Heaven to be this earth.  HEATH. Dunbar Isidore,  2 vol. London, 1852-53, 8o.

Our future life.  HEATH. Dunbar Isidore, London, 1853, 8o.

The Exodus Papyri. With a historical and chronological introduction by Miss T. Corbaux.  HEATH. Dunbar Isidore, London, 1855, 8o.

A Record of the Patriarchal Age; or, the Proverbs of Aphobis [or rather , of Ptah?-Hetep]: B.C. 1900 ... translated by Rev. D. I. Heath. APHOBIS pp. 41. J. Briddon: London, Ryde, 1858, 12o.

Sermons on Important Subjects. HEATH. Dunbar Isidore. pp. vi. 207. J. Briddon: Ryde, 1860?, 8o.

Sermons on Important Subjects. [Another issue.]. Sermons on Important Subjects.  HEATH. Dunbar Isidore, Tallant & Co.: [London, 1860.] 12o.

A Defence of my professional character.  HEATH. Dunbar Isidore pp. 199. Tallant & Co.: London, [1862.] 8o.

Phœnician Inscriptions.  HEATH. Dunbar Isidore pt. 1. London, 1873. 8o.

Journal of Anthropology. Edited by J. Beddoe, J. B. Davis, H. Beigel, D. I. Heath, C. S. Wake.  LONDON. III. Miscellaneous Institutions, Societies, and Other Bodies. Anthropological Society vol. 1. no. 1-3. London, [1870, 71.] 8o.

Squeezes of Hamath Inscriptions. By the Rev. Dunbar Heath. This is a six page article published in the Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain, 1880, p 369-375.

The Moabite Jars, with a Translation.  By the Rev Dunbar I Heath MA.  This is an eleven page article published in the Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain, 1872.




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