British Armorial Bindings

Recently I was visited by Philip Oldfield, fellow Librarian from the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto, and an expert in British armorial bindings. Philip is the compiler and editor of the British Armorial Bindings database launched in 2013. It aims to gather as much information about the impression of coats of arms or crests on the outer covers of books (not armorial bookplates). The project is sponsored by the Bibliographical Society (UK), and is hosted by the University of Toronto. The database contains close to 3000 individual stamps collected from over 400 libraries in the UK, Ireland, the United States, and Canada. Philip and I spent an enjoyable afternoon looking through the collections at Liverpool Hope on the hunt for armorial bindings, some, from the Radcliffe Collection, had previously been recorded but some, from other collections, were brand new discoveries.

Stanley, Charles, 8th Earl of Derby

The Protestant religion is a sure foundation and principle of a true Christian, and a good subject, a great friend to humane society; and a grand promoter of all virtues, both Christian and moral, (to give it its full title) by Charles Stanley, Earl of Derby, Lord of Mann , and the Isles, London, 1671, was bought at auction for the Liverpool Cathedral Radcliffe Library in 1949 for £30. To quote the Quaritch catalogue, “This is a volume of considerable American interest. It contains a translation of the letter of Pope Alexander VI making a grant of the Indies to Ferdinand and Isabella and their heirs for ever, also an anecdote (pp. 16-24) concerning the Indians of Mexico”.

B668_armorial binding Earl of Derby
Crest of Charles Stanley, 8th Earl of Derby (Radcliffe B668)

Charles Stanley was the only son of James Stanley, 7th Earl of Derby, and Charlotte, daughter of Claude de la Trémouille, Duc de Thouars. He was known as Lord Strange during his father’s lifetime. He married, in 1650, Dorothea Helena Kirkhoven, daughter of Jan van der Kirkhoven, Lord of Heenvliet in Zealand, and Maid of Honour to the Queen of Bohemia. He succeeded to the title when his father, captured after the battle of Worcester, was beheaded by the Parliamentary forces at Bolton in Lancashire, 15 October 1651. He joined in Booth’s rising in August 1659 on behalf of the King. He was Lord Lieutenant and Admiral of Lancashire and Cheshire 1660-1672, and joint Chamberlain of Chester for life with his son William in survivorship. The heraldic charges (image above) depict on a chapeau, turned up ermine, an eagle, wings elevated inverted and addorsed, preying on an infant in its cradle with the coronet of an Earl above.

Lumley-Savile, John, 8th Earl of Scarbrough (1788-1856)

Another armorial binding tucked away in the Radcliffe Collection belonged to John Lumley-Savile (1788-1856). He was the second, but only surviving son, of John, 7th Earl, and Anna Maria, daughter of Julines Herring Esq. of Heybridge in Essex. He was educated at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, elected Member of Parliament for Nottinghamshire, 1826-1832, and for North Nottinghamshire, 1832-1835. He succeeded his father as 8th Earl of Scarbrough in 1835, and assumed the name and arms of Savile by Royal licence 14 October 1836. He was Lord Lieutenant and Custos Rotulorum of Nottinghamshire. He died unmarried and left Rufford Abbey and his library to his natural son John who was created Baron Savile in 1888.

B595_Bound by Charles Hering (Jnr)
Bound by Hering, 9 Newman Street, early 19th century. Crest and frame tooled in gold on red goatskin
B595_armorial binding_Savile family of Rufford Abbey
Crest of John Lumley-Savile, 8th Earl of Scarbrough. Bound by Hering, 9 Newman Street (Radcliffe B595)
  • Motto: Bee fast
  • Motto: Murus aeneas conscientia sana
  • Crest: 1. An owl (Savile) 2. A pelican in her piety wings addorsed (Lumley)
  • Arms: Quarterly 1 & 4 – Argent on a bend sable three owls of the field (Savile)
  • Quarterly 2 & 3 – Argent a fess gules between three popinjays (Lumley)
  • Quarterings: 1 & 4 – Argent on a bend sable three owls of the field (Savile)
  • Quarterings: 2 & 3 – Argent a fess gules between three popinjays (Lumley)
  • Coronet: Earl

The book is a 1st edition of the first English translation by Philemon Holland, 1603, of Plutarch’s The Philosophie, commonlie called, the Morals, and just the kind of classical text that would have been printed in a handsome folio edition and consulted by humanists. The item is requested by Dr. Louise Wilson, Lecturer in Medieval and Early Modern Literature, to show English students a fine example of a folio used for discussion reading and education in the early modern period.

In 1794 Charles Ernst Christian Hering, a German immigrant set up a business as a master bookbinder in St. Martin’s Street, Leicester Square and soon built up a reputation for fine craftsmanship through the accuracy and elegance of his work. By the time of his death in 1815, Charles Hering had a successful and prosperous bookbinding business that was continued by John and Charles Hering (Jnr), brother and eldest son respectively. This edition of Plutarch’s Morals was beautifully bound in red goatskin, decoratively tooled in gold with gilt edging crafted by J. Hering at the new premises, 9 Newman Street. The firm continued to be recognised as producing good quality craftsmanship even after Charles Hering’s death and the business went from strength to strength, remaining in the Hering family until 1845.

Sir Thomas Parry (d.1616)

Sir Thomas Parry, of Hampstead Marshall in Berkshire, was the eldest son of Sir Thomas Parry, Comptroller of the Household, and Anne, daughter of Sir William Reade of Boarstall in Buckinghamshire. His grandfather was Henry Vaughan of Tretower in Breconshire (Parry = Ap Harry). He succeeded his father in 1560, and was Sheriff of Berkshire in 1576 and 1588, Deputy Lieutenant 1596, Member of Parliament for Berkshire, 10 October 1586, Ambassador to France 1601-1605, a Privy Councillor and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, 30 December 1607, Member of Parliament for St Albans in 1610, and in 1614 for Berkshire. He was knighted in 1601. He married Dorothy Brooke of Bristol, a Maid of Honour to Queen Elizabeth, but they had no issue.

Talbot_armorial binding Sir Tho Parry
Family crest of Sir Thomas Parry (Talbot Library)

The heraldic charges include a bull’s head, three cocks, a rampant lion, three mullets, three spearheads embrued, and three boys heads couped at the shoulders with snakes wound round their necks and a chevron between. This multiple volume set of Bibliothecae veterum patrum et auctorum ecclesiasticorum was printed in Paris in 1610 and is held in the Talbot Library, newly deposited at Liverpool Hope by the Diocese of Lancaster in 2016.



Botfield, Beriah (1807 -1863)

The book entitled A short instruction into Christian Religion being a catechism set forth by Archbishop Cranmer in MDXLVIII [1548]: together with the same in Latin translated from the German by Justus Jonas in MDXXXIX [1539], published by Oxford University Press in 1829, was discovered in the Gradwell Collection having once belonged to Beriah Botfield, of Norton Hall, Daventry, in Northamptonshire, and Decker Hill in Shropshire. He was the eldest son of Beriah Botfield, of Norton Hall, and Charlotte, daughter of William Withering Esq., M.D. of the Larches, Edgbaston, near Birmingham. His father, whom he succeeded 27 April 1813, was owner of a successful Shropshire ironworks. Educated at Harrow School and Christ Church, Oxford, he matriculated 9 December 1824, aged 17, took his B.A. in 1828, and his M.A. in 1847, and incorporated at Cambridge in 1861. He was married in 1858 to Isabella Leighton (d. 7 April 1911) daughter of Sir Baldwin Leighton, 8th Baronet. Botfield was High Sheriff of Northamptonshire in 1831, Member of Parliament for Ludlow from 1840 to 1847 and from 1857 until his death. His other posts include Treasurer of the Roxburghe Club, a Chevalier of the Order of Albert the Brave of Saxony, and a Knight of the Order of Leopold of Belgium, a Fellow of the Royal Society, and of the Society of Antiquaries.

Talbot_armorial binding_Beriah Botfield

Motto: J’ai bonne cause
Crest: A reindeer statant
Arms: Barry of twelve or and sable

Botfield wrote much about books, and printed some of his works himself at his private press at Norton Hall, showing a fondness for very small editions and extra copies printed on coloured paper. A selection of his library was sold at Christie’s on 30 March 1994. Unfortunately none are held at Liverpool Hope University Special Collections, as far as we know.



With thanks to Philip Oldfield and the British Armorial Bindings database from which I gleaned most of the family armorial information.

Karen Backhouse, Special Collections Librarian


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