Nixon, Robert (DNB00)

NIXON, ROBERT (fl. 1620?), the ‘Cheshire Prophet,’ who is stated by one writer to have been born in the parish of Over, Delamere, Cheshire, in 1467, and by another authority to have lived in the reign of James I, but about whose existence at all there exists some doubt, was the reputed author of certain predictions which were long current in Cheshire. All accounts point to his having been an idiot, a retainer of the Cholmondeley family of Vale Royal, and to his having been inspired at intervals to deliver oracular prophecies of future events, both national and local. These prognostications, generally of the usual vague character, were first published in 1714 by John Oldmixon. A further account of Nixon by ‘W.E.’ was issued in 1716. Innumerable subsequent editions have been published, and the various versions were collated and edited in 1873, and again in 1878, by W. E. A. Axon. Nixon is said to have attracted the royal notice, and to have been sent for to court, where he was starved to death through forgetfulness, in a manner which he himself had predicted. Dickens's allusion in ‘Pickwick’ to ‘red-faced Nixon’ refers to the coloured portraits which occur in some chap-book editions of the prophecies.

[Nixon's Cheshire Prophecies, ed. Axon, 1813 and 1878; Axon's Cheshire Gleanings, 1884, p. 235; cf. also ‘An Irish Analogue of Nixon’ in Trans. Lanc. and Chesh. Antiq. Soc. vii. 130.]

C. W. S.