The National Archives Trafalgar Ancestors
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Letter from Captain Mark Robinson, HMS Worcester, to the Admiralty, 16 April 1777

Nelson was called Horatio, a classical name, after a deceased brother. It was also a favourite name of his mother’s relations the Walpoles and had been used by them since 1678. Nelson’s godfather was Horatio Walpole. However, in his youth Nelson preferred to be called Horace, ‘an English name for an Englishman’ (Oman, page 72). Moreover, he used the name Horace Nelson when he first joined the navy and was still using it up until 1777 when he was aged 19. It is not clear exactly when and why he decided to switch to using the more classical sounding name Horatio.

Catalogue reference: ADM 1/2390

Letter requesting Nelson’s appointment to HMS ‘Worcester’. 16 April 1777. Cat ref: ADM 1/2390. Crown copyright.
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