John Cale 1722-1777

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John CALE 1722-1777

Biographical Note

Cale was born in Abbots Langley, Hertfordshire, the son of John Cale (1675-1730) and his wife Bridget Row. He was educated at Hart Hall, Oxford, having matriculated there in 1739. On 10 October 1741 he was admitted to the Inner Temple and later practised as a barrister in East Barming, Kent, where he died without issue in 1777.


Cale amassed a large library covering a wide range of subjects including horticulture, drama, economics and science. Within the collection are books which belonged to his father and to his aunt Phebe Cale (who was married to the author Charles Hayes). He bequeathed his collection to Hertford College (as Hart Hall was now called, having been incorporated as a College in 1740) in 1777 and left detailed instructions for the delivery of the books to the College, for the appointment of a librarian, and for a catalogue to be made, as well as provision for their general care and upkeep. It is impossible to say if any of this was done as no records remain from the period. Examples: many in Hertford College Library.

Characteristic Markings

Cale only occasionally inscribed his name in his books. Most are identified by a manuscript “Cale” on the inside of the upper board (probably by a later librarian). He seems to have favoured a type of calf marbling for the binding of his books, often with gold tooled hatching to the board edges.