John Robinson 1650-1723

From Book Owners Online

John ROBINSON 1650-1723

Biographical Note

Born at Cleasby, Yorkshire, second surviving son of John Robinson, a cooper, and Elizabeth Potter. Attended a school in Cleasby, and apprenticed in trade at Darlington. Matriculated at Brasenose College, Oxford in 1670 as a ‘pauper puer’, a description rather belying influential connections in his wider family. B.A. 1673; Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford 1675-86; MA 1684; DD 1696 and 1710. Married 1. Mary Langton 2. Emma Cornwallis. A significant part of Robinson’s career was spent in Sweden, where he was an important diplomatic agent from 1683-1709. On returning to England he was appointed dean of Wolverhampton, dean of Windsor, and Bishop of Bristol, and he continued to be involved in high politics, becoming lord privy seal in 1711 and a privy councillor, undertaking further diplomatic activity as one of the plenipotentiaries negotiating the treaty of Utrecht in 1713. He became dean of the Chapel Royal 1713-18, and was consecrated as Bishop of London in 1714.


The extent of his library has not been established.

According to a codicil to his will, ‘my library or Study of Books at Fulham’ was to be equally divided between five people: his domestic chaplains John Berriman and William Sherlock, another young clergyman John Dubordieu, and his nephews John Burnaby and Christopher Robinson. Dubordieu’s ownership of a book from this legacy is recorded in an engraved armorial bookplate in the Franks collection: 25277 (‘E bibliotheca… Johanis Robinson … quam mihi inter alios quinquepartitam moriens legavit April. 11. 1723’). Franks 25278 is the same plate, without Dubordieu’s name.

Examples bearing the legacy bookplate : Chetham’s Library Manchester B.2.89(1-2); St Edmund Hall Oxford BB 44.v.1, 45 v.2 (later donated by Berriman); Wadham College Oxford f.21.14 (with Dubordieu’s name); Folger Shakespeare Library 265-150q.