James Brydges 1674-1744

From Book Owners Online

James BRYDGES, 1st Duke of Chandos 1674-1744

Brydges' armorial stamp (British Armorial Bindings)

Biographical Note

Born at Dewsall, Herefordshire, son of James Brydges, 8th Baron Chandos, from whom he inherited the title and family estates in 1714. Matriculated at New College, Oxford 1690, but did not graduate; he continued his education in Germany. MP for Hereford 1698, commissioner of the Admiralty 1703, paymaster of the Queen's forces 1705. Elected to the Royal Society in 1694, Brydges developed interests in literature and music, and combined a commercial and political career with a rising reputation as a patron of culture. He was very wealthy and after acquiring Cannons House near Edgware in 1712 he invested large sums in developing it and stocking it with works of art and fashionable furnishings. He became Duke of Chandos in 1719 and held numerous other administrative and state offices.


A well-stocked library was one of the features of Cannons House, and Brydges was active in acquiring books throughout his life; he was a regular subscriber to new publications. He bought a large part of the library of Henry Hyde, 2nd Earl of Clarendon, in 1709, including significant holdings of Irish manuscripts from the library of Sir James Ware. He also bought books extensively from the continent. He used two bookplates, made before his father's death in 1714 (Franks 4191-2); "a man was busy for three days" pasting these into his books ca.1700 (Baker and Baker, p.38). He also used an armorial binding stamp. Cannons was sold and demolished soon after his death, and his library was auctioned in London, beginning 12 March 1747 (4298 lots).


  • British Armorial Bindings.
  • Alston, R. C., Inventory of sale catalogues ... 1676-1800, St Philip, 2010.
  • Baker, C.H.C and M.I., The life and circumstances of James Brydges, Oxford, 1949.
  • A catalogue of the large and valuable library of ... James Duke of Chandos, London, 1747, ESTC t97566.
  • Johnson, Joan. "Brydges, James, first duke of Chandos (1674–1744), politician and patron of music." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
  • Gambier Howe, E. R. J. Franks bequest: catalogue of British and American book plates bequeathed to the ... British Museum. London, 1903-4.