Martyr; parentage and date of birth unknown; evidence of date of death conflicting. According to P. Bruodin he was executed on Sept. 20, 1600, but Challoner gives Aug. 13, 1599 as the date. Challoner's testimony is supported by Rev. Dr. G. Oliver's transcript from the Devon archives in the following entry for the 1599 Autumn assizes, "Jacobus Dowdall suspendatur etc., pro proditione." He was a merchant of Drogheda (Challoner says he was from Wexford) driven onto the Devonshire coast while returning from France to Ireland. In custody he rejected the Queen's spiritual supremacy while being questioned by William Bourchier, Earl of Bath. On receiving a report of the examination, Sir Robert Cecil had Dowdall committed to Exeter jail. On June 18, 1599, the Earl of Bath wrote to Cecil for instructions regarding him. By order of the Council he was tried and convicted of high treason after suffering the rack in an attempt to induce him to deny his faith.
Bibliography: d. murphy, Our Martyrs (Dublin 1896). r. challoner, Memoirs of Missionary Priests, ed. j. h. pollen (rev. ed. London 1924).
[j. g. barry]