Robert Vansittart (1728 - 1789)

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About Robert Vansittart

Robert Vansittart (December 28, 1728 – January 31, 1789) was an English jurist, antiquarian and rake.


Elder brother of Henry Vansittart, who was to go on to become Governor of Bengal, he grew up in Shottesbrooke in Berkshire and was educated at Winchester College and Trinity College, Oxford, becoming a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford in 1748. In 1753, he was called to the bar at the Inner Temple. He held a number of minor judicial appointments, including that of recorder of Maidenhead in 1758 and Newbury in 1764, before being appointed Regius Professor of civil law at Oxford in 1767, a chair he held until his death. He published a number of antiquarian works in his spare time.

He was a close acquaintance of Samuel Johnson, William Hogarth and Paul Whitehead and a participant in the debauchery of the Hellfire Club.

He died, unmarried, in Oxford.

A character in one of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's comedies is named for him following a meeting in Italy.

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Robert Vansittart's Timeline

December 28, 1728
January 31, 1789
Age 60