Salmon, Nathanael (DNB00)

SALMON, NATHANAEL (1675–1742), historian and antiquary, born on 22 March 1674–5, was son of Thomas Salmon (1648–1706) [q. v.], who married Katherine, daughter of Serjeant John Bradshaw [q. v.] Thomas Salmon (1679–1767) [q. v.] was a brother. He was admitted at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, on 11 June 1690. In 1695 he took the degree of LL.B., and, having been ordained in the English church, was curate at Westmill in Hertfordshire. Though he had taken the oath of allegiance to William III, he declined to acknowledge Queen Anne as his sovereign. He thereupon resigned his charge and adopted medicine as his profession, settling first at St. Ives in Huntingdonshire, and then at Bishop Stortford in Hertfordshire. A friend offered him a living in Suffolk, valued at 140l. per annum; but he refused, though in great poverty, to submit to the necessary qualifications. Soon afterwards he came to London and engaged in literary compilation. The publication of his ‘History of Essex’ is described by Gough as ‘his last shift to live.’ He died in London on 2 April 1742, and is said to have been buried in St. Dunstan's Church. He left three daughters.

Salmon paid particular attention to the study of Roman remains in Great Britain. His works consisted of: 1. ‘Roman Stations in Britain upon Watling Street and other Roads,’ 1726. 2. ‘A Survey of the Roman Antiquities in some of the Midland Counties of England,’ 1726. These volumes were subsequently expanded into: 3. ‘A new Survey of England, wherein the Defects of Camden are supplied,’ 2 vols., 1728–9. This work came out in parts, and was reissued with a new title-page in 1731. His observations were often acute, but were sometimes paradoxical and eccentric. 4. ‘History of Hertfordshire,’ 1728. A copy in the British Museum has some manuscript notes by Peter Le Neve. 5. ‘Lives of the English Bishops from the Restauration to the Revolution’ [anon.], 1733. It shows his nonjuring views and his hatred of Bishop Burnet. 6. ‘Antiquities of Surrey, collected from the most Ancient Records,’ 1736. 7. ‘History and Antiquities of Essex, from the Collections of Thomas Jekyll and others,’ 1740. Unfinished, ending at p. 460. Gough says that, however extravagant his conjectures may appear, it was the best history of the county then extant (Brit. Topogr. vol. i. p. x). A ‘Critical Review of the State Trials,’ 1735, is assigned to him in the catalogue of the Forster collection at South Kensington, and he made some collections for a history of Staffordshire.

[Nichols's Illustr. of Lit. iii. 572, iv. 350, 668, viii. 580; Nichols's Lit. Anecdotes, ii. 132; Masters's Corpus Christi Coll. Cambr. p. 486; Bibliotheca Typographica Britannica, iii. 135–40, 149–54, 259; Stukeley Memoirs (Surtees Soc.), ii. 191–6; Gent. Mag. 1742, p. 218; Shaw's Staffordshire, vol. ii. p. vii; Letters of Eminent Lit. Men (Camden Soc.) p. 360.]

W. P. C.