Doggett - Encyclopedia

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DOGGETT (or [[Dogget), Thomas]] (d. 172 1), English actor, was born in Dublin, and made his first appearance in London in 1691 as Nincompoop in D'Urfey's Love for Money. In this part, and as Solon in the same author's Marriage-hater matched, he gained the favour of the public. He followed Betterton to Lincoln's Inn Fields, creating the part of Ben, especially written for him, in Congreve's Love for Love, with which the theatre opened (1695) and next year played Young Hobb in his own The Country Wake. He was associated with Cibber and others in the management of the Haymarket and Drury Lane, and he continued to play comedy parts at the former until his retirement in 1713. Doggett is highly spoken of by his contemporaries, both as an actor and as a man, and is frequently referred to in The Taller and Spectator. It was he who in 1715 founded the prize of "Doggett's Coat and Badge" in honour of the house of Hanover, "in commemoration of his Majesty King George's happy Accession to the Brittish Throne." The prize was a red coat with a large silver badge on the arm, bearing the white horse of Hanover, and the race had to be rowed annually on the 1st of August on the Thames, by six young watermen who were not to have exceeded the time of their apprenticeship by twelve months. Although the first contest took place in 1715, the names of the winners have only been preserved since 1791. The race is still rowed each year, but under modified conditions.

See Thomas Doggett, Deceased (London, 1908).

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