Robert Naunton 1563-1635

From Book Owners Online

Sir Robert NAUNTON 1563-1635

Armorial stamp of Sir Robert Naunton (British Armorial Bindings)

Biographical Note

Born at Alderton, Suffolk, son of Henry Naunton, master of horse to the dowager Countess of Suffolk. BA Trinity College, Cambridge 1582, fellow 1585, MA 1586; fellow of Trinity Hall 1592-1616, public orator 1594-1611. Worked on the continent as a political agent for the Earl of Essex during the 1590s. MP for Helston 1605, for Camelford 1614; knighted 1614. Surveyor of the court of wards 1616, master 1624; secretary of state and privy councillor, 1618, but dismissed in 1623 following political intrigues. MP for the University of Cambridge 1621, for Suffolk 1626. Towards the end of his life his political influence waned and moves were made to oust him from the court of wards. His book Fragmenta regalia on Elizabeth I and her court, published posthumously in 1641, was written to try to retain the King’s support. He was noted for his strongly protestant views.


The survival of books with Naunton’s armorial stamp in numerous libraries shows that he originally had a library of some size, though its extent and contents are unknown; traced books are all early 17th-century imprints, in English, French and Latin, suggesting that he purchased new but not second-hand. In his will, he directed that his library of books, with his two globes and all his maps at his houses at Charing Cross and Nelmes Lodge should be given to a new college in Cambridge to be founded in his name, using money owed to him by the government. If this did not happen (as was the case), the books, globes and maps were to go to his son in law, Paul, Viscount Bayning. Inscriptions in surviving books suggest that the collection was dispersed very soon after Naunton’s death. Schreiber notes that there Naunton's personal papers have not survived, having probably been destroyed in a fire at his daughter's house in the 1640s. Examples: British Library C.108.a.7; Cambridge UL J.1.22-25; Christ Church, Oxford W.O.2.10; Balliol College, Oxford 9.s.a.18.

Characteristic Markings

Naunton’s books typically carry one of two stamps of his full coat of arms. They do not generally have any other inscriptions or annotations by him.