Charles Lumsden 1614-1686

From Book Owners Online

Charles LUMSDEN or LUMISDEN 1614-1686

Biographical Note

Born to Charles Lumsden, minister of Duddingston, and his third wife Beatrix Muirhead, in Edinburgh. He was educated at the University of Edinburgh and received his M.A in 1633. He married Margaret Livingstone and had 4 children, and later married Beatrix Melvill, and had more 13 children with her, including his successor Andrew.

In 1640, ten years after the death of his father, he was appointed minister of Duddingston, a post which he held until his death.


As Lumsden’s library was dispersed after his death, its full extent and disposition is unknown, though it does seem likely to have numbered more than one-hundred volumes. D.T Bird lists five sixteenth-century medical books with Lumsden’s provenance, in Edinburgh libraries.

In his study of the library of the Rev. James Nairn’s library, Murray Simpson notes that a significant number of Nairn’s books were previously owned by both Charles Lumsden senior and junior, with approximately twenty from the library of the latter. Examples of this include A Treatise on Melancholy (London, 1586) (EUL JA 378) and a Froben edition of the Italian humanist Raffaele Maffei’s (1455-1522) encyclopaedia Commentariorum urbanorum (EUL N*17.43). Additionally, Nairn’s copy of Thomas Aquinas printed in Venice in 1521, was owned by Lumsden in 1646 (EUL Dd.5.61).

Characteristic Markings

Lumsden inscribed his books with “Carolus Lumisden” or varations of his surname such as “Lummisden”, and often the date of acquisition. An Example of this can be seen on NLS Gray 963 which is inscribed with "Carolus Lumisden. 16 Aprilis 1669."

He is not to be confused with his father Charles Lumsden (1561-1630), who also acquired a large library and inscribed his books with his name. Their signatures are similar, and the most reliable way to distinguish them is by the date of acquisition, which both had a habit of entering into their books. At least two surviving volumes were owned and annotated by both of them, one of which is Seth Calvisius (1556-1615)’s Opus chronologicum : ex autoritate potissimùm sacrae scripturae et historicorum fide dignissimorum (EUL Dh.8.25)

Inscription of Charles Lumsden Junior (NLS Gray.963)


  • Bird, D. A Catalogue of Sixteenth-Century Medical Books in Edinburgh Libraries. Edinburgh, 1982.
  • Scott, Hew et al. Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae: The Succession of Ministers in the Church of Scotland from the Reformation, 9 vols, new edn. Edinburgh, Oliver & Boyd, 1915–61.
  • Simpson, Murray C. T. Scholarly Book Collecting in Restoration Scotland : the Library of the Revd James Nairn (1629-1678). Leiden: Brill, 2020.