William Northey ca.1690-1738

From Book Owners Online

William NORTHEY ca.1690-1738

One of Northey's bookplates (British Museum Franks Collection *224)

Biographical Note

Eldest son of Sir Edward Northey and Ann (Joliffe); brother of Edward Northey. Attended Eton, and in 1705 admitted Fellow Commoner at King’s College Cambridge. Admitted Middle Temple 1710 and called to the bar 1712. MP for Calne 1713-15 and Wootton Bassett 1715-22. In 1721 he married Abigail Webster.


Northey used engraved armorial bookplates: Franks 22044 (dated 1703, reworking his father’s bookplate); *224 (another impression); 22045 (dated 1708); *501 (another impression).

He inherited the bulk of his father’s library. In his will he bequeathed ‘my Son Thomas my Chambers in the Middle Temple and all my Law Books (except my Fathers Manuscripts)’. However, he revoked this bequest (which had allowed for the legal books to be sold) in a codicil, following the realisation or assumption that Thomas was the illegitimate son of ‘that most Wicked and Ungratefull of Women my Wife’. To his eldest son William he bequeathed ‘All the Rest of my Books’ along with Sir Edward’s manuscripts, reiterating the stipulation the latter had made in his own will that those were never to be printed, and enjoining that they should remain in family custody.