Atthill, William (1774–1847), clergyman, was baptised 17 April 1774, only son and heir of Anthony Atthill and Sara Atthill (née Howlett) of Brandiston Hall, Norfolk, England; he had one sister. His father died when he was four, and he was brought up by an uncle, who sent him to Kirkheaton School, Yorkshire. He entered Caius College, Cambridge, as a pensioner (1790), was a scholar (1791–7), second wrangler and Smith's prizeman, and graduated MA (1798). He was a fellow of his college 1797–1800, having been ordained deacon and priest in the Church of England (1797), and was chaplain (1798–1804) to his relative John Porter, bishop of Clogher (1797–1819). On 15 December 1798 he was collated prebendary of Clogher; at the same time he was rector of Fintona, Co. Tyrone. He was later (1818–47) rector of Magheraculmony, Co. Fermanagh, where he planted trees, laid out new roads, and introduced improvements in agriculture, including the use of a modern iron plough; he also established schools and Sunday schools. Atthill was one of the founders of the Hibernian Bible Society, and was also involved in the events that came to be known as the ‘new reformation’ in Co. Cavan when, as a result of fervent evangelizing, a number of Roman Catholics there were converted to protestantism. Atthill's speech at a ‘reformation’ meeting in Cavan (26 January 1827) was later published. In 1840 he published The way of catechizing and The church catechism and scripture proof, the latter a contribution to the generally heated debate between Church of Ireland and Roman Catholic clergymen that characterised the period. Atthill died 5 March 1847 in Hull, Yorks., and was buried in Brandiston, Norfolk. He married (6 April 1805) Henrietta Eyre Maunsell, daughter of the Rev. George Maunsell (1753?–1804) of Drumcree, Co. Armagh, an influential figure in the evangelical revival in the Church of Ireland. One of Atthill's seven sons, an army surgeon, predeceased him. His youngest son was Lombe Atthill (qv); another was chief justice of St Lucia. Three daughters also survived to adulthood; four children died in infancy.
Lombe Athill, Recollections of an Irish doctor (1911), passim; Burke, LGGB (1914); J. B. Leslie, Clergy of Clogher (1929), 76; J. A. Venn, Alumni Cantabrigiensis: pt 2, 1752–1900, i (1940), 97; Donal Kerr, ‘James Browne, bishop of Kilmore 1829–68’, Breifne, vi (1982), 122n; John B. Cunningham, ‘Dr Lombe Athill and his picture of Fermanagh before the famine’, Clogher Rec., xiv (1993), 29–41