John Warner

From Book Owners Online

John WARNER 1581-1666

Biographical Note

Born in London, son of Harman Warner, merchant tailor. BA Magdalen College, Oxford 1602, MA 1605, fellow 1604-10, BD 1613, DD 1616. Rector of St Michael's, Crooked Lane, London 1614, prebendary of Canterbury 1616, rector of Bishopsbourne with Barham, Kent 1619, rector of St Dionis Backchurch 1625, of Hollingbourne, Kent 1635. Dean of Lichfield 1633, Bishop of Rochester and rector of Bromley 1637. He was impeached in 1641 and in 1643 all his lands and goods were sequestered; he moved to Shropshire to escape persecution but returned to Kent in the late 1640s where he remained during the Interregnum, observing Anglican practice for local congregations. He hoped to be promoted to a new diocese at the Restoration but remained at Rochester. He was always a personally wealthy man, having inherited significant estates from his father and godmother around 1610, and throughout his career he made major benefactions to educational and charitable causes, and the repair of churches and cathedrals.


Warner's gifts during his lifetime included over £1000 to Magdalen College to buy books, and he provided financial support for the publication of scholarly works (e.g. William Somner's Saxon/Latin dictionary of 1659, and Matthew Poole's Synopsis criticorum, which began to appear in 1669). His books were seized in 1643 and he is likely to have had a large library at that time. In his will, he directed that £500 be given to Rochester Cathedral to be spent on books, and a further £50 to Magdalen College for the same. He bequeathed all his printed books and written papers to his nephew John Lee, archdeacon of Rochester (1608/9-1679) and several years after his death the collection was sold by auction in London by Edward Millington, beginning 16 February 1685. Lee's will has no reference to books but left all his household goods, etc to his son Henry Lee.

The sale catalogue, although entitled Bibliotheca Warneriana, consisted "principally" of Warner's books but we do not know how many came from other sources. The catalogue comprises 2481 lots, divided between Latin theology (424), Latin miscellaneous (651), English theology (770), English miscellaneous (227), French (192), Italian (141), Spanish (41), manuscripts (10, mostly 17th century), and bound volumes of tracts/sermons (25).

Characteristic Markings

None of Warner's books have been identified.