A Companion for the Festivals and Fasts of the Church of England, with Collects and Prayers for Each Solemnity

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by Robert Nelson

A Companion for the Festivals and Fasts of the Church of England

Title page from A Companion for the Festivals and Fasts of the Church of England, George Wythe Collection, Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary.

Author Robert Nelson
Editor {{{editor}}}
Translator {{{trans}}}
Published London: Printed by W. Bowyer for R. Bonwick, T. Goodwin, J. Walthoe, M. Wotton, B. Tooke, R. Wilkin, R. Smith, and T. Ward
Date 1720
Edition Eleventh
Language English
Volumes {{{set}}} volume set
Pages xxii, [4], 636, [16]
Desc. 8vo (20 cm.)
Location Shelf B-1
  [[Shelf {{{shelf2}}}]]

Robert Nelson (1656 – 1715) was a London-born religious writer and philanthropist. The catechism, as the title suggests, provides an account of a particular saint for every day of feast and fast found in the Book of Common Prayer in 1622. Appropriate prayers, and a homily on which aspects of Christian life were associated with the particular festival or fast, followed each entry. The catechism was widely disseminated even outside of England—there were more than forty editions— and it was used by the clergy for sermon ideas on holy days.[1] "It is firmly of its time. Biblical criticism and historical study of the lives of saints have made some of the material out of date, while the ethical and moral precepts reflect the social and political presuppositions of Nelson's day."[2]

Illustration of the stoning of Stephen.

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Wythe purchased "Nelson's Festivals" from the Williamsburg Printing Office for 12/6 in 1764.[3] All four of the Wythe Collection sources (Goodwin[4], Dean's Memo[5], Brown's Bibliography[6] and George Wythe's Library[7] on LibraryThing) list this title. Dean suggests the 1704 edition, while the other three sources list the 1720 edition based on the copy Thomas Jefferson sold to the Library of Congress in 1815.[8] The Wolf Law Library purchased a copy of the 1720 edition.

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

Bound in early full leather with ink signature of "John Champion" at the top of the title page. Purchased from Appleford Bookroom.

Images of the library's copy of this book are available on Flickr. View the record for this book in William & Mary's online catalog.

Full text

See also


  1. Alan Cook, "Nelson, Robert (1656–1715)" in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004- ), accessed 11 Nov 2013.
  2. Ibid.
  3. The Virginia Gazette Daybooks, 1750-1752 & 1764-1766, ed. Paul P. Hoffman (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1967).
  4. Mary R. M. Goodwin, The George Wythe House: Its Furniture and Furnishings (Williamsburg, Virginia: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Library, 1958), LII.
  5. Memorandum from Barbara C. Dean, Colonial Williamsburg Found., to Mrs. Stiverson, Colonial Williamsburg Found. (June 16, 1975), 8 (on file at Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary).
  6. Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012) Microsoft Word file. Earlier edition available at: https://digitalarchive.wm.edu/handle/10288/13433.
  7. LibraryThing, s.v. "Member: George Wythe," accessed on June 28, 2013.
  8. E. Millicent Sowerby, Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, (Washington, D.C.: The Library of Congress, 1952-1959), 2:163 [no.1636].