John Richardson ca.1564-1625

From Book Owners Online

John RICHARDSON ca.1564-1625

Biographical Note

Born at Linton, Cambridgeshire. BA Clare Hall, Cambridge 1581, MA Emmanuel College, Cambridge 1585, BD 1592, DD 1597; fellow of Emmanuel 1585, regius professor of divinity 1607-17, Master of Peterhouse 1609, of Trinity College, Cambridge 1615. Vice-Chancellor of the University 1617-18. Rector of Upwell, Norfolk 1595, and of Algarkirk, Lincolnshire 1608. Richardson was a noted Biblical and Hebrew scholar, and was one of the translators of the Old Testament for the 1611 authorised version of the Bible; he was also one of the earliest Cambridge academics to support the ideas of Arminianism against the prevailing Calvinist theology.


Although Rasmussen & Bush in their monograph on Emmanuel College Library describe Richardson’s gift as a bequest of £120 for the purchase of books, his will makes clear that he bequeathed “all my books in folio and in quarto which are not in their library already”. The gift brought at least 170 volumes, and probably more, to the College and significantly expanded the Library as it then stood. The books received cover history, law and geography as well as theology, patristics and Biblical Studies; all those surviving are identified in Rasmussen & Bush’s catalogue. Isaac Casaubon is said to have studied in Richardson’s personal library at Peterhouse. The total size of his collection, and the disposal of his smaller books, are not known; the residue of his goods was bequeathed to his brother Philip Richardson.

Characteristic Markings

The books given to Emmanuel were marked with a printed gift label dated 1625 (Lee 66; there are two states, with different ornaments). Otherwise, Richardson’s books typically have no personal ownership markings or annotations.


  • "Richardson, John (d. 1625)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
  • Richardson's will, Cambridge University Library Vice-Chancellor's Court Wills, vol.3 fo.147r-148r.
  • Bendall S. et al, A history of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, Woodbridge, 1999.
  • Bush, S. & C. Rasmussen, The Library of Emmanuel College, Cambridge 1584-1637, Cambridge, 1986.
  • Lee, B. N. Early printed book labels. Pinner, 1976.