Open main menu

Dickinson, William (1756-1822) (DNB00)


DICKINSON, WILLIAM (1756–1822), topographer and legal writer, whose original name was William Dickinson Rastall, was the only son of Dr. William Rastall, vicar-general of the church of Southwell. He was born in 1756, and became a fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. in 1777, M.A. in 1780 (Graduati Cantabrigienses, ed. 1856, p. 316). On leaving the university he devoted himself to the study of the law. In 1795, at the request of Mrs. Henrietta Dickinson of Eastward Hoo, he assumed the name of Dickinson only. His residence was at Muskham Grange, near Newark, and he was a justice of the peace for the counties of Nottingham, Lincoln, Middlesex, Surrey, and Sussex. He died in Cumberland Place, New Road, London, on 9 Oct. 1822. By his wife Harriet, daughter of John Kenrick of Bletchingley, Surrey, he had a numerous family.

His works are: 1. ‘History of the Antiquities of the Town and Church of Southwell, in the County of Nottingham,’ London, 1787, 4to; second edition, improved, 1801–3, to which he added a supplement in 1819, and prefixed to which is his portrait, engraved by Holl, from a painting by Sherlock. 2. ‘The History and Antiquities of the Town of Newark, in the County of Nottingham (the Sidnacester of the Romans), interpersed with Biographical Sketches,’ two parts, Newark, 1806, 1819, 4to. These histories of Southwell and Newark form four parts of a work which he entitled: ‘Antiquities, Historical, Architectural, Chorographical, and Itinerary, in Nottinghamshire and the adjacent Counties,’ 2 vols. Newark, 1801–19, 4to. 3. ‘A Practical Guide to the Quarter and other Sessions of the Peace,’ London, 1815, 8vo; 6th edition, with great additions by Thomas Noon Talfourd and R. P. Tyrwhitt, London, 1845, 8vo. 4. ‘The Justice Law of the last five years, from 1813 to 1817,’ London, 1818, 8vo. 5. ‘A Practical Exposition of the Law relative to the Office and Duties of a Justice of the Peace,’ 2nd edition, 3 vols. London, 1822, 8vo.

[Gent. Mag. lvii. 424, lxxi. 925, lxxiii. 1045, lxxvi. 1025, xcii. 376; Evans's Cat. of Engraved Portraits, No. 3141; Biogr. Dict. of Living Authors (1816), p. 94; Cat. of Printed Books in Brit. Mus.; Lowndes's Bibl. Man. (Bohn), 2051; Clarke's Bibl. Legum, p. 120; Marvin's Legal Bibliography, p. 266; Upcott's English Topography, ii. 1062–5.]

T. C.