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Obituary of Sir Nathanial Conant
In Portland Place, April 12, in his 77th year, after a gradual decay, and a short illness
occasioned by an accidental fall, Sir Nathaniel Conant, Knt.
He was born at Hastingleigh, in Kent, of which place his father the Rev. John Conant
(of Pembroke Hall, Oxford, MA 1730) was Rector from 1734 and vicar of Elmsted from 1736
till his death April 9, 1779. He was great grandson of the celebrated Dr John Conant,
Regius Professor of Divinity, and head of Exeter College, Oxford, in 1649; afterwards
Archdeacon of Norwich, and vicar of All Saints Northampton, near which place he possessed
considerable property, part of which is still in the family. He was an eminent Divine, and a
distinguished Author of Sermons, of which several volumes were published; and many others,
with a Life of him by his son, the Rev. John Conant of Merton College Oxford B and DCL 1683,
remain in the possession of his descendants. Some interesting anecdotes of him may be seen
in Chalmer's 'Biographical Dictionary' and an elegant testimonial to the remarkably early
learning of the famous Linguist Dr William Wotton in the 'Library Anecdotes' vol IV p.255.
He died in 1693 aged 86
Sir Nathaniel was brought up at Canterbury School, and intended for business, which however
he early relinquished, and in 1781 was placed in the commission of the Peace for Middlesex.
He was the first who suggested the idea of the new establishment of the Police in 1792, and
was very instrumental in forwarding the design. He was thereupon appointed one of the
Magistrates at Marlborough Street office where he continued till 1813 when he became chief
magistrate of Bow Street, and received the honour of Knighthood; and that situation he resigned
in 1820, on account of the declining state of his health. He possessed a very
clear understanding and promptness of decision, which added to a great mildness of disposition
and manner, peculiarly fitted him for the situation he held, and ere evinced on many trying occasions,
when he was intrusted with the particular confidence of Government. He married Sarah eldest
daughter of John Whiston of Fleet Street, Bookseller and granddaughter of William Whiston the
celebrated scholar and mathematician. By her he had four children now living; and he was buried
near her in Finchley Church, Middlesex.