Francis Mansell 1579-1665

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Francis MANSELL 1579-1665

Biographical Note

Born at Muddlescombe, Carmarthenshire, son of Sir Francis Mansell. BA Jesus College, Oxford 1609, MA 1611; fellow of All Souls College, Oxford 1613, BD and DD 1624. Principal of Jesus College, 1620, resigned 1623 in the face of opposition, re-elected 1630. Rector of Elmley Chapel, Kent 1631; prebendary of St David's. A royalist during the Civil War, he was ejected from his preferments (including the principalship of Jesus) in the late 1640s, when he moved briefly to Glamorgan before returning to Oxford where he was able to live in Jesus College and continue teaching. He was restored as Principal of Jesus in 1660, but resigned due to infirmity the following year, continuing to live in the College until his death a few years afterwards.


Before leaving Jesus in 1649, Mansell gave the College his library, comprising ca.600 books; these contain the usual mix of theological works with classics, law, medicine, history and other subjects, and include some finely bound presentation copies of early 17th-century books. In his will, Mansell left some of his estate to the College, but all the books in his chamber, together with his clothes and other household stuff, were left to his servant Richard James.


  • C. J. Fordyce & T. M. Knox, The Library of Jesus College, Oxford, Oxford Bib Soc Proc & Papers 5 (1937), 53-115, pp 62-3.
  • P. Morgan, Oxford libraries outside the Bodleian. 2nd edn, Oxford, 1980.
  • Pollard, A. F., and J. H. Curthoys. "Mansell, Francis (1579–1665), college head." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.