John Sheffield 1647-1721

From Book Owners Online

John SHEFFIELD, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Normanby 1647-1721

Biographical Note

Son of Edmund Sheffield, 2nd Earl of Mulgrave, from whom he inherited the title and family estates in 1658. He was educated partly in France and at home. He began a career in the Navy in 1666, and saw action as an officer during the 1670s, while becoming involved in court life. He was appointed a gentleman of the bedchamber by James II, and became lord chamberlain in 1685. He switched allegiance to William and Mary, but was not always in favour; he was however made Marquess of Normanby in 1694. He was promoted by Queen Anne, who gave him various offices, and made him Duke of Buckingham and Normanby in 1703. His political career continued to rise and fall, and he was dismissed from his posts on the accession of George I in 1714. He then spent more time on literary and cultural pursuits, which had always been part of his life; he was a close associate of John Dryden, undertook his own writing and translation, including adaptations of Shakespeare. Between 1703 and 1705 he rebuilt Buckingham House in London.


Sheffield used an engraved armorial bookplate (Franks 26643); the extent of his library is not known. His will has no specific mention of books; the bulk of his estate was inherited by his son Edmund, who succeeded him in the Dukedom.