Anthony Ashley Cooper 1621-1683

From Book Owners Online

Anthony Ashley COOPER, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury 1621-1683

Biographical Note

Of St Giles, Wimborne, Cooper inherited a house and estate there from his mother Anne Ashley. Entered Exeter College, Oxford in 1637 and Lincoln's Inn in 1638. MP for Tewkesbury in 1640. He fought in the civil wars initially as a royalist, switching to the parliamentarian side in 1644. He served on the English Council of State under Oliver Cromwell during the interregnum. A colonialist, Cooper invested in the Royal African Company and had partial ownership of a sugar plantation in Barbados. He was created Earl of Shaftesbury in 1672. A supporter of the Exclusion Bill, Shaftesbury was central to the birth of the Whig party. After the Exclusion Bill failed, he was arrested for high treason but the charges were shortly dropped. In 1682, fearing a second arrest, he fled to Amsterdam where he remained until his death in 1683.


An inventory of the estate made in 1639 lists “the books that were in the study next to the white room most of them now being removed by Sir Anthony”, valued at £10. The probate inventory of the 2nd Earl, Anthony Ashley Cooper (1652-1699) made in 1699, lists “Books in several volumes bought by my late Lord (the great Library being the present Earl’s)”.