William Boothby 1637-1707

From Book Owners Online

Sir William BOOTHBY, 1st bart 1637-1707

One of Boothby's armorial stamps (British Armorial Bindings)
One of Boothby's armorial stamps (British Armorial Bindings)

Biographical Note

Son of Sir Henry Boothby and a member of a Derbyshire family of landed gentry. Knighted 1660, Sheriff of Derbyshire 1661-2. Bought Ashbourne Hall, Derbyshire, 1671. His letterbooks and a diary survive in the archives of Fonmon Castle (now in British Library, Add. Ms 71689-72).


Boothby’s letters include extensive correspondence with booksellers in London and the Midlands, ordering books and bindings. He purchased across a wide range of subjects – theology, classics, philosophy, history, geography, travel, law, medicine, rhetoric and poetry – and he was clearly interested in keeping up to date with new publications, and with opportunities to buy books at auction. He referred to his books as “the great joy of my life” and his memorial plaque, in Ashbourne church, refers to his collection of 6000 books. The collection was dispersed during the 18th century. Examples: British Library RB.23.a.10857, C.67.h.5; National Art Library Clements L13; Christopher Edwards catalogue 79 (2020)/146.

Boothby's inscription, from a copy of An essay for the raising of a national fishery, 1700, Yale Beinecke Library Ndx 75 G5 700e

Characteristic Markings

Inscribed his name “Will: Boothby” on titlepages, sometimes adding the price and date of acquisition. Used three armorial stamps, incorporating the family crest.