James Hamilton d.1707

From Book Owners Online

James HAMILTON d.1707

Biographical Note

James Hamilton of Newcastle, afterwards of Bangor, (both in County Down) was born to James Hamilton of Newcastle (d.1646) and his wife Margaret Kynaston. He was a descendant of a prominent Plantation era family. A great nephew of James Hamilton, 1st Viscount Claneboye (1559-1643), he inherited a significant portion of the remains of James I’s grant to his great uncle. In 1605, this had seen the 1st Viscount rewarded with the lordship of upper or southern Claneboye and the Great Ards in County Down; this was for his assistance in the negotiations for James VI to succeed Elizabeth I.

Hamilton married Sophia Mordaunt (d.1735), daughter of John Mordaunt, 1st Viscount Mordaunt (1626-1675) and Elizabeth Carey (1632-1678). His mansion house was in Bangor where he was a patron of the church. Hamilton served as the M.P. for County Down in 1692.


There remain approximately 100 books which belonged to James Hamilton in the library at Castle Ward, County Down. A particular interest in travel and historical geography is evident. Foreign texts tend to be English translations. Amongst the books signed by Hamilton, there are those with prior owners from the first generation of Hamilton settlers, including the 1st Viscount Claneboye. These books are distinct from Hamilton’s as they are learned works in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew from European presses. In his will, Hamilton left his books to his wife, Sophia. She, in turn, left her books (presumably including those of Hamilton) to their two daughters, one of whom married Judge Michael Ward (1683-1759) of Castle Ward. Examples: many at Castle Ward.

Inscription of James Hamilton (Castle Ward)

Characteristic Markings

Hamilton tends to sign his books on the title page, sometimes at the head and at other times with his name divided by a printers mark or similar. He is not a known annotator. Bindings tend to be plain trade bindings.


  • Penge, Edwina, Analysing an Eighteenth-century Irish Booklist Part 1: A Snapshot of Eight Shelves, Library & Information History 38, no. 2 (2022), 132-54.
  • Purcell, Mark, The Big House Library in Ireland, Swindon, 2011, 21-26.
  • Reilly, Emily G.S., Historical Anecdotes of the Families of the Boleynes, Careys, Mordaunts, Hamiltons and Jocelyns, Newry, 1839, 90.
  • The Hamilton Manuscripts, ed. T. Kennedy Lowry, Belfast, 1867.
  • Will of James Hamilton, Public Records Office Northern Ireland D4216/4/2.