William Dakins was born c. 1568/9 the son of William Dakyns (d. 1598), vicar of Ashwell, Hertfordshire. William attended the famous Westminster School aged thirteen, in 1582.
From there he won a scholarship at Trinity College, Cambridge, and graduated BA in 1591 becoming a Fellow of Trinity in 1593. Having acceded to M.A in 1594 he then focused on Divinity studies, adding a BD in 1601. The next year he began lecturing in Greek and became vicar of Trumpington, Cambridgeshire, in 1603.
In 1604, he was appointed Professor of Divinity at Gresham College, London. This was on the recommendation of the vice-chancellor and several heads of Cambridge colleges as well as some of the nobility - and even by King James I himself. Christopher Hill comments that James was probably glad to have a "harmless academic" appointed, after his puritan predecessors. The King, says McClure, called him “an ancient divine” in his letter to the Mayor and Aldermen of London. This alluded not to his age, but to his theological character.
The appointment to Gresham College was seen as fair remuneration for the work he was to do in helping translate the KJV Bible. His training made him more than adequate to the task, on account of “his skill in the original languages.”
In 1605 he resigned the vicarage of Trumpington, and the following year he became junior dean of Trinity College. He died in February 1607 only a few months after, being less than forty years old. Thus, his work on the Second Westminster Company (Romans - Jude), under William Barlow (Director), lasted but a short time.
Gresham College is an institution of higher learning located in central London, founded in 1597. Today it hosts over 140 lectures every year within the City of London. The Professor of Divinity at Gresham College, London, gives these educational lectures free to the public. The college when founded appointed seven professors, and now also has visiting professors. However, it does not enroll students and awards no degrees. Recent lectures on religion are listed. A relevant upcoming lecture is The Language of the King James Bible by Dr Christopher de Hamel, on 26 September 2011 - a Symposium to mark the 400th anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible.