William Nicolson - Encyclopedia




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WILLIAM NICOLSON (1655-1727), English divine and antiquary, was educated at Queen's College, Oxford (M.A., 1679;1679; fellow, 1679-1682). After visiting Leipzig to learn German he was made prebendary of Carlisle in 1681, archdeacon in 1682. Twenty years later he was appointed bishop of the same diocese, where he remained until his translation to Derry in 1718. In 1727 he was nominated archbishop of Cashel and Emly, but died before he could assume charge. Nicolson is remembered by the impulsiveness of his temperament, which led him into a good deal of strife as a bishop, and more happily by his 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).

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