Ralph Bovey d.1679

From Book Owners Online

Sir Ralph BOVEY, 1st bart d.1679

Biographical Note

Son of Ralph Bovey, of London. Matriculated at St Catharine's College, Cambridge 1632, but did not graduate; admitted at Gray's Inn 1633. Became an attorney at the Court of Common Pleas. Sheriff of Warwickshire 1652-3, of Bedfordshire 1669-70; stood for Parliament in the 1660s, but not elected. Created a baronet in 1660. He acquired several estates, with property in Warwickshire, Cambridgeshire and London; towards the end of his life his main residence was at Stow Hall, Longstowe, Cambridgeshire.


Bovey's probate inventory lists books in various locations; he had 269 books in his town house in Holborn, and 176 books at Longstowe, divided across several closets (41 small books and ca.20 playbooks in a closet near the gallery, 5 folio books in one of the closets adjoining his lodging chamber, and 110 books, including playbooks and sermons, in another closet there). In his will, he bequeathed his library to his "godson" Charles Bovey (1676-1713), his illegitimate son with his "much deserving friend" Mrs Elizabeth Symonds, who inherited much of his personal estate, on condition that she did not marry after his death (Charles was only a child at the time of Bovey's death; the will also makes provision for his education, at Eton and Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and for a grand tour). Bovey had no children with his wife Mary Maynard.

Characteristic Markings

None of Bovey's books have been identified.