Alexander Davison (1750-1829)

Alexander Davison was born on the 2nd of April 1750 in Lanton, Northumberland. He became a close friend and advisor to Horatio Nelson. Following Nelson's victory at the Battle of the Nile in 1798, Davison spent over £2,000 of his own money on medals for every Royal Navy officer and rating involved in the battle.[1] Davison bought the Swarland Park estate in 1795. Following Nelson's death in the Battle of Trafalgar on the 21st October 1805, Davison constructed a large monument to Nelson at Swarland. He also constructed the Lanton Obelisk in commemoration of his brother, John Davison of Lanton. Davison died in 1829 in Brighton. The Davison family mausoleum is located in the churchyard of St Gregory's Church in Kirknewton - near Lanton in Northumberland.

Alexander Davison (1750–1829) was an English businessman and government contractor. He was a contemporary and close friend of Admiral Lord Nelson.


Davison was born on 2 April 1750 at Lanton, Northumberland. His business career began as a merchant in the British colony in Quebec before and during the American Revolutionary War. At his pinnacle he owned various interests from textile factories to shipping. He also worked as a supply agent for the British government procuring coal and other supplies for the military. Additionally his close friendship with Admiral Nelson brought him business as a prize agent after the Battle of the Nile and the Battle of Copenhagen.

Imprisoned for fraud in May 1804 as a result of his attempt to bribe the voters in one of England's rotten boroughs of Ilchester. He spent a year inside the King's Bench Prison in London. In 1809 Davison was again tried and found guilty on charges of fraud. This time though the accusations related to his activity as a supply agent for the British government. During these dealings he fraudulently (or at least carelessly) charged the government agency fees for goods supplied from his own factories. These fees were meant to compensate agents for the expense and effort of finding the cheapest supplier for the government's contract but Davison earned them as well as the usual profit margins on the goods he supplied from his factory. He served a sentence of twenty-one months inside Newgate Prison starting in May 1809.

Davison is responsible for several acts that glorified Nelson's public image. These included the creation of a medal commemorating the victory at the Battle of the Nile and the creation of the Nelson Memorial at his estate at Swarland, Northumberland. As a close friend of the Admiral he acted as an intermediary when Nelson's marriage to his wife, Frances Nelson fell apart due in large part to his affair with Emma Hamilton.

Davison died in 1829 in Brighton, England.


Davison married Harriett, daughter of the banker Robert Gosling. They had three sons and three daughters. The children included the equerry Sir William Davison (died 1873), the second son. The second daughter, Dorothy, married Samuel Edward Widdrington.

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Churchyard, Church of St Gregory, Kirknewton

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Davison's Obelisk

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Davison Mausoleum
- A stone building, largely submerged in the ground, with pedimented gables and a low pitched roof. There are steps leading down to an iron door at one end, an inscription ...

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Alexander Davison (1750-1829)

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Davison Mausoleum, Kirknewton
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Nelson Memorial, Old Swarland
- Overview About the Monument Map Street View Davison's Obelisk is a monument to Lord Nelson near Swarland in Northumberland, built by his friend Alexander Davison of Swarland Hall in 1807, following ...
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- Overview About Swarland Map Street View Swarland, Northumberland Swarland is a small modern village in the county of Northumberland, England, situated about 7 miles south of the market town of ...
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A monument on Lanton Hill

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Lanton Memorial
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