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He received his early education through his uncle, Thomas Dorman of Agmondesham (now Amersham), Buckinghamshire. His master at Berkhampstead was Richard Reeve, a noted Protestant schoolmaster. He was also known to Thomas Harding, the Catholic scholar, then professor of Hebrew at Oxford, who took great interest in the boy and sent him to Winchester School in 1547. From Winchester Dorman went to New College, Oxford, of which Harding was a fellow, and here he was elected a probationer fellow.
Under Mary I of England he was appointed fellow of All Souls College (1554) and on 9 July 1558, took the degree B.C.L. A year or two after Elizabeth I of England's accession, finding that he could not live in England without conforming to the Church of England, he gave up his fellowship and his patrimony and went to Antwerp, where he met Harding who was also in exile. Harding persuaded him to resume his studies, and Dorman accordingly went to the Catholic University of Leuven and devoted himself to the study of theology.
In 1565 he became B.D. in the University of Douai and finally received the doctorate there. During this period he engaged in controversy with the Anglican divines, John Jewel, Bishop of Salisbury, and Alexander Nowell, Dean of St. Paul's. In 1569, at the invitation of Cardinal William Allen, he joined the newly founded English College at Douai which he assisted both by his services and his private means. He died at Tournai where he had been given an important benefice.
His works are:
- A proufe of certeyne articles in Religion denied by M. Juel (Antwerp, 1564);
- A Disproufe of M. Nowelle's Reproufe (Antwerp, 1565);
- A Request to Mr. Jewel that he keep his promise made by solemn Protestation in his late Sermon at Paul's Cross (London, 1567; Louvain, 1567).