Ralph Sheldon 1623-1684

From Book Owners Online

Ralph SHELDON 1623-1684

Armorial stamp of Ralph Sheldon (British Armorial Bindings).
Armorial stamp of Ralph Sheldon (British Armorial Bindings).
Motto of Ralph Sheldon (Durham UL Routh )

Biographical Note

Born at Beoley, Worcestershire, the eldest son of William Sheldon (1589-1659) and Elizabeth (1592-1656) and member of a wealthy Roman Catholic gentry family. Travelled to France and Italy in 1642; married Lady Henrietta Maria shortly after his return to England in 1647. Sheldon devoted himself to studying genealogy, heraldy, and antiquities following the death of his wife in 1663 and created a library at Weston.


Anthony Wood, who helped to catalogue and organise his library at Weston, noted its size and significance. Gave heraldic manuscripts to Jesus College, Oxford, and the College of Arms; books which remained in the family were largely dispersed by auction, 7.9.1781.

Characteristic Markings

Numerous books with his armorial stamps survive; he also used 3 bookplates.


  • British Armorial Bindings.
  • Broadway, Jan. "Sheldon, Ralph (1623–1684), antiquary." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
  • Cliffe, J. The world of the country house in 17th-century England, 1999, p.163-4.
  • Gambier Howe, E. R. J. Franks bequest: catalogue of British and American book plates bequeathed to the ... British Museum. London, 1903, 26649-51.
  • Grinke, Paul, The lost plays of Ralph Sheldon, The Library 7th ser 25 (2024), 165-74.
  • Lee, B. N. British bookplates: a pictorial history. Newton Abbot, 1979. 10.
  • Maggs (catalogues of the London booksellers Maggs Bros): 1075 (1987)/44.
  • Philip, I. G. Sheldon’s manuscripts in Jesus College Library, Bodleian Library Record 1 (1939) 119-23.