Born 1800, his Irish family came to England where he was born. His middle name came from his godfather, Lord Admiral Nelson. He became an Anglican priest. He went to Ireland to convert Catholics to Anglicism. He revolted against the idea of having the new converts swear loyalty to King George IV. He resigned.
In 1827, he fell off a horse headlong. While recovering from his injuries in a hospital, he came up with his theology of Dispensationalism. He divided history to 7 ages. The last age was the End Times. He saw the telegraph as sure sign that he was living in the End Times. He founded Plimouth Brethren, an ultra-fundamentalist group. He came up with what fundamentalists called Pre-Tribulation Rapture, that is the true believers will go to Heaven before the big troubles come, The Tribulations.
In 1862, he came to America, hoping to convert people to the Plimouth Brethren, but was unsuccessful, but influenced lots of Christian sects, Millerianism still going strong in America. Americans were ready for End Times theology. The Baptists were the most reluctant. Cyrus Scofield was influenced and came out with the Scofield Bible. The biggest fundamentalist seminar, Dallas Theological Seminar, adapted Darby’s Dispensational theology. In turn, Hal Lindsey and Tim LaHaye were influenced by Darby, but none gave him any credit. Meanwhile, Anglican theologians said that Darby treated the Bible like a picture puzzle box and only he can put it together. He died in 1882 of the flu.