Thomas Sherley 1638-1678

From Book Owners Online

Thomas SHERLEY 1638-1678

Biographical Note

Son of Sir Thomas Sherley of Wiston, Sussex; born in London. Lived with his father in Oxford during the Civil War, where he spent some time at Magdalen College School , and was probably a pupil of the scientist Henry Oldenburg. He studied medicine in France and began practising as a physician in London in the late 1660s. He published several translations of continental scientific works as well as his own Philosophicall essay declaring the probable causes whence stones are produced (1672). He sought unsuccessfully to regain the Wiston estate from the Fagg family, who had purchased it in 1649 after being sequestered.


Sherley’s library, together with that of the nonconformist minister Stephen Watkins (d.1673?) and others unnamed (“atque alterius cujusdam hominis docti dudum decessi”), was sold by auction in London by William Cooper, 2 June 1679. The sale catalogue lists a little over 2500 lots, including Latin theology (528), Latin philology, history and miscellaneous (602), books in oriental languages (95), Latin medicine, chemistry, mathematics and natural history (278), physick in English (79), and miscellaneous English books (907). It also included “Plays” (3), “Catalogues of libraries, and auctions, 8 in number”, and 12 manuscripts. It is not possible to determine which were Sherley’s books within the whole, although the scientific books were presumably largely (if not wholly) his.

Characteristic Markings

None of Sherley’s books have been identified.