Thomas Ravenscroft d.1708
Thomas RAVENSCROFT d.1708
Born in Huntingdonshire, son of James Ravenscroft, lawyer and merchant, and a member of a family whose various branches held property in Wales and several English counties. The family were Roman Catholic and with his brother George (1632/3-83, glass manufacturer) he studied at Douai, and travelled on the continent during the 1650s. Such other biographical information as we have derives largely from his will, made in 1707; he lived then in Orange Street, St Giles in the Fields, Middlesex and he bequeathed most of his estate (including property in Huntingdonshire, Middlesex and Nottinghamshire) between his nephews and his servant Martha Richardson. The will suggests a degree of estrangement with his wife Frances.
Ravenscroft directed in his will that all his books and pictures should be carefully looked after by Martha Richardson (who had a life interest in the Orange Street house), and that after her death they should be inherited by his nephew James Ravenscroft, “desiring him not to sell or dispose of any of them”. His library was however sold by auction in London by Thomas Ballard a year after his death, beginning 7 November 1709. The catalogue included 1729 lots, plus a number of prints, divided between Latin theology, history and philology (815), French, Italian and Spanish books (273) and English books (641). It noted the inclusion of a number of books “printed by Wynkin de Worde, Pynson, and other ancient printers”.
None of Ravenscroft’s books have been identified.
- Bibliotheca Ravenscroftiana, 1709 (ESTC t21610).
- A History of the County of Huntingdon: Volume 2, ed. William Page, Granville Proby and S Inskip Ladds, London, 1932.
- MacLeod, Christine. "Ravenscroft, George (1632/3–1683), merchant and glass manufacturer." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.