Discovery of the Allott Letter
Nelson`s letter aboard the Victory, 1804 to Dean Allott at Raphoe Co. Donegal.
During the initial research work concerning the Richard Allott signature I stumbled across a short article by the Reverend Cecil Isaacson, former Rector of Burnham Thorpe, Nelson`s birthplace. This article was entitled “Family Life,” which related part of Nelson`s childhood.
To my amazement there was just a fleeting mention to the Reverend Dean Allott at Raphoe. This encouraged me to penetrate further into more searching realms of available archival material, an extremely difficult and tedious journey, producing little twists and turns along the way.
In hot pursuit of further information and renewed with a passionate curiosity I soon learned that Horatio Nelson and the Reverend Allott were in correspondence although how often is not discernable but at least the Allott signature produced an English hero.
I have desperately attempted to trace the Dean`s letter of 1804 to Nelson, indeed wondering if it still exists in some repository but without success. However, I have obtained a copy of the reply letter from Nelson to Dean Allott at Raphoe. I was delightfully surprised when I received a copy through the post from Norfolk Record Centre. It was a copy of the actual original letter and not extracted from any of the current books containing much of his correspondence.
Norfolk stated that there was a “bleed through” and that reading the wording was difficult but I have included a copy and a transcript to make it a little easier to decipher.
The Dean`s letter was sent out to the Admiral in January 1804 whilst the reply by Nelson was dated May 1804 on board the Victory- five months later.
Their correspondence established a common respect and friendship towards each other and an obvious willingness on the Captain`s
part to assist with the special request of the Dean. It clearly shows that Nelson acknowledges and remembers the Reverend Bryan Allott, the brother of the Dean, with affection. The wording implies perhaps that he knew his brother better than the Dean but most certainly they were all family friends from Burnham Thorpe.
In Nelson’s letter are some other references to three of the fleet ships. The Leviathan, built in 1790 was captained by Henry Bayntum, the Superb, built in 1798, captained by Richard Keats and the Agincourt, built in 1796, captained by Thomas Briggs.
The gentleman, mentioned in the first paragraph remains at this point, unknown and mysterious.
A certain Lord Camelford is named. This was Thomas Pitt, the second Lord Camelford, who was shot in a duel.
Nelson, as requested, agrees to intercede for Dean Allott and promises to send a letter to the captain of the Agincourt to arrange passage and accommodation back to England for this mysterious gentleman.
I am still very hopeful that perhaps sometime in the future this letter from Allott to Nelson on January 1804 might be found. Many of the items of Nelson are scattered in various places. If the letter does exist, and I`m sure it does, at least the name of the gentleman might be clarified once and for all.