Nelson Memorial, Swarland
A relatively obscure memorial to Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson
Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson
Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, 1st Duke of Bronté, KB was a flag officer famous for his service in the Royal Navy, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars. He was noted for his inspirational leadership and superb grasp of strategy and unconventional tactics, which resulted in a number of...

, victor of the Battle of Trafalgar
Battle of Trafalgar
The Battle of Trafalgar was a sea battle fought between the British Royal Navy and the combined fleets of the French Navy and Spanish Navy, during the War of the Third Coalition of the Napoleonic Wars ....

, is situated by the old A1 (the great road between Morpeth
Morpeth, Northumberland
Morpeth is the county town of Northumberland, England. It is situated on the River Wansbeck which flows east through the town. The town is from the A1, which bypasses it. Since 1981, it has been the administrative centre of the County of Northumberland. In the 2001 census the town had a population...

 and Alnwick
Alnwick is a small market town in north Northumberland, England. The town's population was just over 8000 at the time of the 2001 census and Alnwick's district population was 31,029....

, according to an 1868 gazetteer ), at Swarland
 Swarland is a small modern village in the county of Northumberland, England, situated about south of the market town of Alnwick and north of the city of Newcastle upon Tyne. Swarland's 'village rival' is Felton.- History :...

 in north Northumberland
Northumberland is the northernmost ceremonial county and a unitary district in North East England. For Eurostat purposes Northumberland is a NUTS 3 region and is one of three boroughs or unitary districts that comprise the "Northumberland and Tyne and Wear" NUTS 2 region...

, England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

. The Nelson Memorial, Swarland is a white freestone obelisk
An obelisk is a tall, four-sided, narrow tapering monument which ends in a pyramid-like shape at the top, and is said to resemble a petrified ray of the sun-disk. A pair of obelisks usually stood in front of a pylon...

 erected in 1807, two years after Nelson's death, by his friend and sometime agent, Alexander Davison
Alexander Davison
Alexander Davison was an English businessman, born on 2 April 1750 in Lanton, Northumberland, England and who died in 1829 in Brighton, England. He was a contemporary and close friend of Admiral Lord Nelson....

, who owned an estate centred around the now demolished Swarland Hall. It is a Grade II listed monument.

Davison made his fortune in the late 18th century after travelling to Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

, where he met and became friends with the 24-year-old Nelson, who was commanding HMS Albemarle
HMS Albemarle (1779)
HMS Albemarle was a 28-gun sixth rate frigate of the Royal Navy. She had been built as the French merchantman Ménagère and was subsequently purchased for service in the French Navy...

, which was docked at Quebec City during the War of American Independence. Later in life, Nelson engaged Davison as an agent to represent him at naval tribunals dealing with the distribution of the spoils of battle.

The obelisk is not the only Nelson memorial extant at Swarland. A line of trees on the estate represents the Nile
The Nile is a major north-flowing river in North Africa, generally regarded as the longest river in the world. It is long. It runs through the ten countries of Sudan, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Egypt.The Nile has two major...

 delta, whilst other groups of trees represent the positions of French and British ships engaged in the Battle of the Nile
Battle of the Nile
The Battle of the Nile was a major naval battle fought between British and French fleets at Aboukir Bay on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt from 1–3 August 1798...

. The Nile Clumps
Nile Clumps
The Nile Clumps are a series of tree clumps near Amesbury on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England, purportedly planted to commemorate the Battle of the Nile.-Background:...

 near Amesbury
Amesbury is a town and civil parish in Wiltshire, England. It is most famous for the prehistoric monument of Stonehenge which is in its parish, and for the discovery of the Amesbury Archer—dubbed the King of Stonehenge in the press—in 2002...

 were also planted to commemorate the Battle of the Nile.

There are three inscriptions on the monument; from top to bottom:
  • England expects every man to do his duty
    England expects that every man will do his duty
    "England expects that every man will do his duty" was a signal sent by Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson from his flagship HMS Victory as the Battle of Trafalgar was about to commence on 21 October 1805. Trafalgar was the decisive naval engagement of the Napoleonic Wars...

  • Victory 21 October 1805 (the date referring to the Battle of Trafalgar)
  • Not to Commemorate the Public Virtues and Heroic Achievements of Nelson, which is the duty of England; But to the Memory of Private Friendship, this erection is dedicated by Alexander Davison, Swarland Hall

The erection of the memorial arguably represented the zenith of Davison's social standing; he was imprisoned for a year for fraud in 1808, and never recovered his position.

In contemporary times, the memorial has become obscure since the course of the road has changed as the A1 passing Swarland was converted to a dual carriageway
Dual carriageway
A dual carriageway is a class of highway with two carriageways for traffic travelling in opposite directions separated by a central reservation...

. Davison's obelisk lies on the old A1, used only by local traffic, hidden from the main road by a stand of trees. Carved onto the obelisk is an Ordnance Survey
Ordnance Survey
Ordnance Survey , an executive agency and non-ministerial government department of the Government of the United Kingdom, is the national mapping agency for Great Britain, producing maps of Great Britain , and one of the world's largest producers of maps.The name reflects its creation together with...

 trig point
Trig point
A triangulation station, also known as a triangulation pillar, trigonometrical station, trigonometrical point, trig station, trig beacon or trig point, and sometimes informally as a trig, is a fixed surveying station, used in geodetic surveying and other surveying projects in its vicinity...

, and maps indicate the height of the mark as 117 metres above sea level. The stonemason's name is carved on the top of the plinth on the north side..

The monument and site has recently been restored by the local authorities, and a plaque erected.

External links

  • Lord Nelson: Hero and...Cad! Article in the Smithsonian Magazine, by Michael Ryan, touching on the Nelson - Davison relationship, in the context of Nelson's adulterous affair with Emma Hamilton (PDF
    Portable Document Format
    Portable Document Format is an open standard for document exchange. This file format, created by Adobe Systems in 1993, is used for representing documents in a manner independent of application software, hardware, and operating systems....

  • Maritime Monument listing for M4322, the Obelisk at Swarland.
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