Roger Townshend 1595-1637

From Book Owners Online

Sir Roger TOWNSHEND, 1st baronet 1595-1637

Biographical Note

Son of Sir John Townshend of Stiffkey, and Raynham Hall, Norfolk, a long-established gentry family there. Made a baronet in 1617, and inherited the Raynham estate in 1618. MP for Orford 1621, and for Norfolk 1628; he held a number of local administrative offices, and was involved in Norfolk politics.


Townshend inherited many books from his grandfather, Nathaniel Bacon (1549-1622). A list of ca.300 books in Townshend’s possession ca.1625 (now Folger Library MS L.d.776), edited as PLRE 3, probably largely comprises those books, and is not a catalogue of the entire family library at that time. It is however wide-ranging in subject (including theology, law, science, philosophy, geography, classics and medicine, in Latin, Greek, French, Spanish and Italian). The extent of the library at the time of Townshend's death is not known.


  • History of Parliament.
  • Fehrenbach, R. Sir Roger Townshend’s book, in R. Fehrenbach (ed) Private Libraries in Renaissance England 1 (1992), 79-135.
  • Reid, P. Proto-bibliophiles amongst the English aristocracy, 1500-1700, Library History 18 (2002) 25-38.
  • West, S. The development of libraries in Norfolk country houses (UEA Ph.D thesis, 2000).