James Compton 1622-1681
James COMPTON, 3rd Earl of Northampton 1622-1681
Son of Spencer Compton, 2nd Earl of Northampton (1601-1643). Admitted to Queen’s College, Cambridge, 1634. MP for Warwickshire 1640-1642. Fought on the Royalist side in the Civil War, compounded for his estates in 1646. He was imprisoned during the Interregnum, during which time he wrote and translated plays. After the Restoration he became lord lieutenant of Warwickshire and recorder of Coventry. He was elected fellow of the Royal Society in 1663. He was privy councillor 1673-9, constable of the Tower 1675-9, and a lord of trade in 1677. He married twice, first to Isabella (1622-1661), daughter of Richard Sackville, 3rd earl of Dorset (d.1624) and then after her death to Mary (d.1719), daughter of Baptist Noel, third viscount Campden and had eleven children in total.
Ca.250 books, valued at £57 3s 6d, were seized from his home by the London Committee for Sequestration in 1643, and sold. An inventory survives in the Committee's records in The National Archives. His manuscript plays and translations, long held at Castle Ashby, are now in the British Library.
- Priced list of delinquents' books sold, The National Archives SP 20/7.
- Kelliher, W. H. "Compton, James, third earl of Northampton (1622–1681), playwright and translator." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
- Roy, I. The libraries of Edward, 2nd Viscount Conway, and others, Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research 43 (1968), 35-46.
- Williams, W. P. The Castle Ashby manuscripts, The Library 6th ser 2 (1980), 391-412.