Nathanael Salmon

Nathanael (or Nathaniel) Salmon (22 March 1675 – 2 April 1742) was an English antiquary who wrote books on Roman and other antiquities to be found in the south-east of England. He was not well respected as a scholar in his time or subsequently, but he was industrious and well travelled, and he recorded many local customs and much folklore.

Early life

Nathanael Salmon was born on 22 March 1675 at the rectory in Meppershall, Bedfordshire, the eldest son of Thomas Salmon, the rector of Meppershall, and his wife Katherine Bradshaw. He was educated at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (LLB, 1695).[1]


Salmon was ordained as a priest in 1699, but refused to swear allegiance to Queen Anne in 1702 and thereby reject allegiance to the son of King James II. He resigned his post as a curate and worked for a while as a doctor of medicine. He rejected the offer to become a vicar in Suffolk, although the post carried a stipend of £140 per annum.[1]

He wrote a number of books on local history, collecting folklore and detailing local customs, and he "could turn a pungent phrase."[1] He travelled extensively in England, carefully observing landscape and recording what he was told of the folklore, as well as current life and conditions. His histories are considered inaccurate, but he usefully published much manuscript material.[1]


Salmon died in London on 2 April 1742[2] leaving three daughters.[3] He is said to have been buried in St Dunstan's Church, but it is not known which St Dunstan's is meant.[1]


See also


  1. Powell, W. Raymond (2004). Salmon, Nathanael (1675-1742). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/24555.
  3. "Nathanael Salmon: Hertfordshire's neglected historian" by Stephen G. Doree in Doris Jones-Baker (Ed.) Hertfordshire in history: Papers presented to Lionel Munby. Hertfordshire Publications, Hatfield, 1991. pp. 205–222. ISBN 0954218949
  4. Clark, Benjamin. "Memorial of the parishes of Greensted-Budworth". Netgems.

Further reading

  • Leach, Michael (2016). "Nathaniel Salmon (1675–1742), historian of Hertfordshire, Surrey and Essex". Essex Journal. 4th ser. 7: 224–29.

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