Robert Atkyns (topographer)

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Effigy of Atkyns in St Kenelm's Church, Sapperton

Sir Robert Atkyns (1647–1711) was a topographer, antiquary, and Member of Parliament. He is best known for his county history, the Ancient and Present State of Gloucestershire.

Sir Robert was born in 1647, the first son of Sir Robert Atkyns, chief baron of the Exchequer, and sometime speaker of the House of Lords. Thomas Atkyns, who had died in London 1401, had been succeeded in the fourth generation by one David, an eminent merchant in Chepstow, who removed before his death in 1552 to Tuffley, near Gloucester, which continued to be the family seat until the purchase of Sapperton, Gloucestershire, by Baron Atkyns in 1660.

Robert was educated at St Edmund Hall, Oxford (admitted 1663), and Lincoln's Inn (admitted 1661). He was called to the Bar in 1668 but did not practise. He was Deputy Receiver-General of Law Duties (1671–1672), Receiver-General (1672–1673), Comptroller (1673–1679), Commissioner for Assessment for Gloucestershire (1673–1680, 1689–1690) and Deputy Lieutenant for Gloucestershire (1683–1688). He was knighted by Charles II on his visit to Bristol 5 Sep 1663.

He was elected M.P. for the borough of Cirencester (1679–85) and afterwards for the county of Gloucester (1685–1689).

He died at his house in Westminster of dysentery, at the age of sixty-five, and was buried at Sapperton, where his monument is preserved. He had married Louise, the daughter of Sir George Carteret of Hawnes, Bedfordshire circa 1674.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in November 1664.[1] (As he would have been 17 years old at the time there is the possibility that it was his father who was elected).


He is the author of the Ancient and Present State of Gloucestershire, London, 1712. The first edition, now scarce, contains a fine portrait of the author by Van der Gucht, together with a series of views of seats in the county, drawn and engraved by Jan Kip in his earliest manner.

References and sources[edit]

  1. ^ "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 4 December 2010. 

See also[edit]