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

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

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 {{{shelf}}}]]
  [[Shelf {{{shelf2}}}]]
Illustration of the stoning of Stephen.
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. Even outside of England, the catechism was widely disseminated—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 Biblical criticism and historical study of the lives of saints have made some of the material out of date, while the ethical and moral precepts reflect the social and political presuppositions of Nelson's day."[2]

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 purchased by the Wolf Law Library.

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.

View this book in William & Mary's online catalog.


  1. Alan Cook, [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/19883 "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. Available at http://research.history.org/DigitalLibrary/View/index.cfm?doc=ResearchReports\RR0216.xml
  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.