Leoline Jenkins 1625-1685

From Book Owners Online

Sir Leoline JENKINS 1625-1685

Biographical Note

Born in Llantrithyd, Glamorgan, son of Leoline Jenkins, yeoman. Matriculated at Jesus College, Oxford 1641, where his studies were disrupted by the Civil War; he returned to Wales for a while in the late 1640s, coming back to Oxford in 1651, before travelling abroad. During some of this time he acted as tutor for royalist families. Fellow of Jesus 1660, DCL 1661, Principal of Jesus 1661-73. He moved to London to practice law in the early 1660s, and was appointed Judge of the Admiralty in 1668, when he entered Doctors’ Commons. He became involved in diplomatic work, was knighted in 1669, and was MP for Hythe 1673 (for Oxford University, 1679-85). Following further involvement in negotiations with the Dutch, he was made ambassador to the Netherlands in 1679. He became Secretary of State in 1680, where he was regarded as loyal, reliable and hardworking, with no love for the controversies in which he became involved; he resigned in 1684.


During his time as Principal at Jesus, Jenkins paid for a number of building projects, including a new library. In his will, he made detailed provision for his books and papers. The large folio Bible which he had been bequeathed by Archbishop Gilbert Sheldon was to be given to Katherine Dolben, wife of Archbishop Dolben of York, to become a family heirloom. Dolben himself was to have “a booke out of my poore study”, and to have returned to him two books loaned to Jenkins. Forty volumes in folio or quarto were to be selected for Doctors’ Commons, “to begin their library”, and the remainder of his books were left to Jesus College, on condition that duplicates could be disposed of, and that some suitable books should be chosen for Cowbridge Grammar School. His manuscripts and papers were to be sifted by his officials and returned to the State Paper Office if appropriate, but drafts and private letters were to be burnt.

Jesus College acquired several hundred volumes, including many books of civil law and canon law, but also including material in theology, classics and history.

Characteristic Markings

The books given to Jesus were marked with one of two printed gift labels.


  • Fordyce, C. and T. Knox, The Library of Jesus College, Oxford, 1937.
  • Henning, B. The House of Commons 1660-1690, London, 1983.
  • Marshall, Alan. "Jenkins, Sir Leoline (1625–1685), lawyer and diplomat." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
  • Morgan, P. Oxford libraries outside the Bodleian. 2nd edn, Oxford, 1980.