Adam Ottley 1655-1723

From Book Owners Online

Adam OTTLEY or OTLEY 1655-1723

Biographical Note

Adam Ottley was born at Pitchford, Shropshire, the second son of Sir Richard Ottley and Lettice Ridgeway. He studied at Trinity College, Cambridge and attained Doctor of Divinity in 1691. He rose through the clerical hierachy becoming Archdeacon of Shrewsbury in 1687 and then elected as Bishop of St David's, a large diocese covering Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire, in 1713. He married Ann Baldwyn in 1688 but they had no children. He resided in his diocese, restoring the episcopal palace at Abergwili. He brought about a number of reforms amongst the clergy in an attempt to enforce strict traditional practice. In particular, he tackled the itinerant, but very popular, preaching of Griffiths Jones.


Bishop Ottley was a strong supporter of Welsh literature, being a regular subscriber in several such titles. In 1714, he appealed to the The Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge to publish a new translation of the Welsh Bible. He also lent support to the founding of a diocesan lending library in Carmarthen. Most of his estate and many debts was left to his nephew, also Adam Ottley, who organised the transport, via boat, of his large library to London for auction. This was carried out through the bookseller Thomas Ballard in May 1725 and raised 100 guineas, the booksellers being the chief buyers. No catalogue survives, and there is no evidence that he used a bookplate. His papers and correspondence, often referring to his books, are now in the National Library of Wales.


  • Alston, R. C., Inventory of sale catalogues ... 1676-1800, St Philip, 2010.
  • Clement, M. editor. Correspondence and minutes of the S.P.C.K. relating to Wales 1699 – 1740. Cardiff: University of Wales Press,1952.
  • National Library of Wales, Ottley (Pitchford Hall) Correspondence/2870. Charles Baldwyn at Lincolns Inn [London] to his cousin Adam Ottley at Pitchford, 1 May 1725.