Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Phelps, William
PHELPS, WILLIAM (1776–1856), topographer, son of the Rev. John Phelps of Flax Bourton, Somerset, matriculated from Balliol College, Oxford, in 1793, and graduated B.A. from St. Alban Hall in 1797. He took holy orders, was vicar of Meare and Bicknoller, Somerset, from 1824 till 1851, when he became rector of Oxcombe, Lincolnshire. There he died on 17 Aug. 1856. He published 'A Botanical Calendar' in 1810 and guide-books to the Duchy of Nassau (1842) and Frankfort-on-the-Main (1844). But his chief work was a very elaborate 'History and Antiquities of Somersetshire,' with a learned historical introduction and illustrations. Seven parts were issued between 1835 and 1839, when they reappeared in two volumes. The undertaking was left incomplete.