Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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NELSON , ROBERT ( 1656 - 1715 ), non-juror, supporter of the S.P.C.K., and philanthropist ;

b. in London 22 June 1656 , son of John Nelson , a wealthy Turkey merchant , and his wife Delicia , daughter of Lewis Roberts (q.v.) the writer on commerce . Robert Nelson was, therefore half Welsh , and it was appropriate that one of his works, A Companion for the Festivals and Fasts of the Church of England ( 1704 — reprinted at least thirty-six times), should have been translated into Welsh in 1712 by Thomas Williams ( 1658 - 1726 ) (q.v.) , rector of Denbigh , under the title Cydymaith i Ddyddiau Gwylion ac Ymprydiau Eglwys Loegr . Nelson 's career is fully described by Leslie Stephen in the D.N.B. Though his wife was a Roman Catholic , he was a zealous Protestant , yet sufficiently High-Church to refuse the oath of loyalty to the Revolution Settlement . He was prominent in the religious society movement , in the S.P.C.K. , the S.P.G. Dr. Bray's library scheme , and the charity-school movement . He wrote at least a dozen religious books and pamphlets , including a life of George Bull ( bishop of S. Davids from 1705 till 1710 ). He d. 16 Jan. 1714/5 in the house of his cousin, the daughter of Sir Gabriel Roberts (see under Lewis Roberts ), leaving large sums to various good causes.


  • Based chiefly on the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography


Emeritus Professor Robert Thomas Jenkins, C.B.E., D.Litt., Ll.D., F.S.A., (1881-1969), Bangor

Published date: 1959