The parish register recording the marriage of Admiral Lord Nelson has been brought back to the UK from its home in the Caribbean for urgent conservation work.
The 190-page document, which contains the entry on Lord Nelson’s marriage, is held in the parish church of St John Figtree on the island of Nevis.
Lord Nelson, then known as Captain Horatio Nelson, married Fanny Nisbet, who later became Viscountess Nelson, on the island on March 11 1787.
In early 2016, The 1805 Club, a UK-based charity, learned that the register had deteriorated badly due to exposure to humidity and high temperatures in the Caribbean.
The charity conserves and maintains monuments, graves and artefacts of the sailing Royal Navy of the Georgian era.
The church on the island of Nevis is within the Diocese of the North East Caribbean and Aruba, which granted permission for the register to be sent to the UK for conservation.
The work is due to be carried out by the Borthwick Institute, part of the University of York and the repository for the archives of the Archbishopric of York.
It is expected that the conservation work will take at least 18 months to complete.
Lord Nelson was commanding the British warship HMS Boreas, protecting British interests in the north east Caribbean, when he married.
It is one of six major commemorative and educational projects relating to the Georgian sailing Royal Navy and Lord Nelson that The 1805 Club is working on.
Funding for the projects has been available through a grant made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in 2017 out of the Libor fines fund.
Bill White, vice-chairman of The 1805 Club, said: “We are very grateful to the Bishop of the North East Caribbean and Aruba for giving us permission for this vital work to be carried out.
“The parish register is very much part of the Royal Navy story and gives a unique insight into the social history of one of its most illustrious figures.”
Chris Webb, keeper of archives at the the Borthwick Institute, said: “It’s a great privilege to be part of this exciting and important work, which will conserve for everyone, now and in the future, not only a part of the Royal Navy’s history, but also a key record in the history of the island of Nevis.”