Henry Sheres 1641-1710
Sir Henry SHERES 1641-1710
Born at Deptford, son of Henry Sheres, a naval captain. Nothing is known of his early years and education; in the late 1660s he was engaged in English diplomatic and military work abroad, including the building of a breakwater at Tangier. In 1676 he was put in charge of this project, and was militarily involved in the siege of Tangier in 1680. He was acquainted with Samuel Pepys, who helped further his career. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1675, and in 1685 was knighted and appointed surveyor of the ordnance. He continued in this role through William III's reign, though came under some suspicion as a Jacobite. He published several books, including his Discourse touching Tanger (1680), a translation of Polybius (1698), an edition of Thomas Digges' Discourse of sea-ports (1700), and various poems.
In his will, Sheres left much of his estate to female "servants" and their relations, including "all my books and firearms" to Henry Overton of Trinity College, Oxford, son of Mrs Anne Overton "who was heretofore my servant". Henry (1681/2-1722) graduated BA at Trinity in 1702, MA 1705, BD 1714, and was vicar of Kenton, Devon from 1715. He did not retain Sheres's books for long, as his library, together with that of "an ingenious gentleman lately come from travel, deceased" was sold by retail sale in London, beginning 17 June 1713. The sale catalogue lists 862 lots, subdivided into Mathematical books, Greek, Latin, French and English (123), Latin books (239), English mathematical books (64), miscellaneous English books (394), French, Spanish and Italian books (21); it is not possible to identify which books came from which source, but the mathematical books were presumably Sheres's.
None of Sheres's books have been identified.
- A catalogue of the libraries of the learned Sir Henry Sheeres ..., 1713, (ESTC t7953).
- Davies, J. D. "Sheres, Sir Henry (bap. 1641, d. 1710), military engineer and author." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.