George Hungerford ca.1637-1712

From Book Owners Online

Sir George HUNGERFORD ca.1637-1712

Biographical Note

Son of Edward Hungerford of Cadenham, Wiltshire; the Hungerfords had been an established family there for many generations. Matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford 1653, but did not graduate; admitted at Lincoln's Inn 1656. Knighted ca.1661, when he became MP for Cricklade; he held parliamentary seats for other Wiltshire constituencies between 1679 and 1701. He is noted as an active MP in the late 1670s and early 1680s, when he was vocal on the anti-Catholic side of debates around the exclusion of the Duke of York from the succession.


Armorial stamp of Sir George Hungerford (British Armorial Bindings)

Hungerford's lengthy will refers to "the honour we had of our name and family" and the various stamps used on his books is doubtless a manifestation of that. The will has no specific mention of books, but directed that all his personal estate be left to a group of friends, as trustees, to be administered so as to pay various annual benefits to members of his family, and to provide for the education of his grandson. He was in financial difficulties – "it will be found after the publication of this will that my affairs are so much intangled and in confusion" – as the estate was mortgaged to Sir John Newton, with an outstanding debt of £1400, and his son Walter had cost him an estimated £2700 in a "groundless and unchristian" suit in Chancery.

Hungerford's library was sold by retail sale in London, beginning 8 April 1713. No catalogue survives; the advertisement in The Daily Courant referred to "a collection of valuable books in divinity, law, travels, history, philological and classical learning, poetry, books of cuts ... also Philosophical Transactions, sermons, plays, state and other tracts, both stitcht and in volumes". His pictures were separately sold in February 1717. Examples: National Art Library Clements M7; Ham House HHN-A-2-10; Yale, Beinecke 1975 +386.

Characteristic Markings

Hungerford used four different binding stamps on the covers of his books, including an armorial crest design and a distinctive, elaborate monogram stamp based on the letters of his surname, within a circular wreath. He sometimes annotated his books; a copy of Churchill's Divi Britannici, 1675, now at Ham House, has a marginal note about the book having been produced in Parliament and given to him by Sir John Coventry.