Dovaston studied law at Cambridge, and was called to the bar in 1804. However, he disliked practicing law, and the death of his father in 1808 allowed him to spend the rest of his life in rural retirement. He had been writing poetry since his undergraduate days, and the first volume of these was published in 1812. He was also a keen naturalist, was the author of several pioneering experiments in ornithology, and was friends with Thomas Bewick. After several serious illnesses from digestive disorders, Dovaston's health failed in 1847, and he was permanently bedridden. He died at home on 8 August 1854 and was buried in the churchyard at West Felton.
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