William Nicolson

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search

William Nicolson (1655–1727) was an English divine and antiquary.


He was born in Plumbland, Cumberland, the son of Joseph Nicolson, Rector of Plumbland and educated at the school in nearby Dovenby. He went up to Queen's College, Oxford and obtained a BA in 1676, an MA in 1679 and became a Fellow, (1679–1682).

After visiting Leipzig to learn German he was ordained as a deacon in 1679 and made Vicar of Torpenhow in 1681.He was also made prebendary of Carlisle Cathedral in 1681, and Archdeacon in 1682. Twenty years later he was appointed bishop of Carlisle, and he served as Lord High Almoner to George I of Great Britain from 1716-1718. He was translated to Derry in 1718. In 1727 he was nominated archbishop of Cashel and Emly, following the death on 1 January of Archbishop Palliser, but died in Derry before he could assume charge. He was buried in Derry Cathedral.

He had been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in November 1705.[1]

He had married Elizabeth, daughter of John Archer of Oxenholme, near Kirby Kendal, Westmoreland.

Nicolson is remembered by the impulsiveness of his temperament, which led him into a good deal of strife as a bishop; he quarreled with Hugh Todd, who ended up excommunicated.[2] He showed real zeal in collecting and guarding manuscripts and other official documents. For this purpose he had special rooms built at Derry.


His chief works were the Historical Library (English, 1696-97-99; Scottish, 1702; Irish, 1724; complete later editions, 1732 and 1776), and Leges Marchiarum or Border Laws (1705, new ed., 1747).


  1. "Library and Archive Catalogue". The Royal Society. Retrieved 3 October 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Concise Dictionary of National Biography, article on Todd.
  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. Missing or empty |title= (help)CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
Church of England titles
Preceded by
Thomas Smith
Bishop of Carlisle
Succeeded by
Samuel Bradford
Church of Ireland titles
Preceded by
St George Ashe
Bishop of Derry
Succeeded by
Henry Downes