Lambe, Robert (DNB00)

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LAMBE, ROBERT (1712–1795), author, the son of John Lambe, mercer, was born at Durham in 1712. He was admitted a sizar of St. John's College, Cambridge, 13 April 1728, and graduated B. A. in 1733-4. Taking holy orders, he was successively a minor canon of Durham Cathedral, perpetual curate of South Shields, and from 1747 vicar of Norham in Northumberland. He was of eccentric disposition. Suddenly determining to marry Philadelphia Nelson, the daughter of a Durham carrier, whom he had seen only once, and that many years before, he sent a proposal to her by letter, inviting her to meet him on Berwick pier, and bidding her carry a tea-caddy under her arm for purposes of identification. On the appointed day, owing to his habitual absent-mindedness, he failed to meet her, but the marriage took place on 11 April 1755. He died at Edinburgh in 1795, and was buried in Eyemouth churchyard, Berwick-on-Tweed. His wife had died in 1772. A daughter, Philadelphia, married Alexander Robertson of Prenderguest in Berwickshire; two sons died young.

Lambe wrote 'The History of Chess,' London, 1764; another edition, 1765. His chief work, however, was 'An Exact and Circumstantial History of the Battle of Flodden, in verse, written about the time of Queen Elizabeth,' Berwick, 1774, 8vo; Newcastle, 1809, 8vo. This is said to be published from a manuscript in the possession of John Askew of Pallingsburn, Northumberland; the notes, especially those on etymology, are numerous and very curious. Lambe was also the author of the ballad 'The Laidley Worm of Spindleston Heugh,' which Hutchinson thought ancient, and inserted in his 'History of Northumberland.' Percy, in the preface to his 'Reliques,' mentions Lambe as one who had been of service to him.

[Notes and Queries, 5th ser. iv. 308, 392, 418, 492, 520, v. 178, x. 337, xii. 356; Nichols's Lit. Illustr. vii. 391-3; Child's Ballads, i. 281.]

W. A. J. A.