John Dolben was born in 1625 in Stanwick, the son of William Dolben, a Welsh clergyman, and the older brother of William Dolben, who became a judge. William Dolben was knighted, was called to the Bar in 1655, was involved in numerous political trials and was to die in 1696.
John Dolben was educated at Westminster School, and after entering religious life, he became the Canon of Christ Church, in London, in 1660 and prebendary of St. Paul’s in London in 1661.
From 1662, Dolben was the Dean of Westminster (which he held in conjunction with other posts until 1683), and at one service preached to the famous diarist Samuel Pepys. During this time he also helped in the 1666 Great Fire of London save a church in the capital from being destroyed in the fire.
In 1666 Dolben became the Bishop of Rochester and in 1683 he became the Archbishop of York. He remained the Archbishop of York until his death in 1686.
John Dolben’s son, also John Dolben (born in 1662 and died in 1710), became the Member of Parliament for Liskeard from 1707 until 1710. In 1911, George Street in London was renamed Dolben Street in honour of John Dolben.
A portrait of John Dolben can be seen at the National Portrait Gallery web-site.