Francis Carswell d.1709

From Book Owners Online

Francis CARSWELL d.1709

Biographical Note

BA Exeter College, Oxford 1660, MA 1664, BD and DD 1681. Vicar of Bray, Berkshire 1667 until his death; chaplain to Charles II. Described by Thomas Hearne as an unpopular miser, he has sometimes been identified as the Vicar of Bray in the ballad of that name, written ca.1720, about a clergyman who keeps changing his principles to fit the prevailing political mood, but it is generally thought to refer to earlier incumbents. Hearne also noted that he had “a very curious study of books”. Two of his sermons were published in the 1680s.


In his will, Carswell directed that 48 of his English books should be selected by his executors to divide between his widow and three daughters (four books each in folio, quarto and octavo); the rest of his books (together with his other household goods, and plate) were to be sold and the proceeds used towards various monetary bequests. His library was sold by auction in London by Thomas Ballard, 9 January 1710. The catalogue lists 1735 lots, divided between Latin (all subjects, 1085) and English (650).

Characteristic Markings

None of Carswell’s books have been identified.


  • Bibliotheca Carswelliana, 1710, ESTC t21575.
  • Doble, C. (ed), Remarks and collections of Thomas Hearne, v.1-2, 1885-86.
  • Foster, J., Alumni Oxonienses, Oxford, 1891.