John Drummond 1558-1662

From Book Owners Online

John DRUMMOND, 2nd Earl of Perth 1588-1662

Biographical Note

Born in Perthshire, he was the second son of Patrick Drummond and Lady Elizabeth Lindsay, daughter of David Lindsay of Edzell. In around 1603 he travelled to France, and studied under the philosopher Robert Balfour in Bordeaux, later travelling to Toulouse, and Paris by 1609. In 1611, he succeeded his brother James as Earl of Perth, who had died without a male heir. In 1613, he married Lady Jane Ker d.(1622), eldest daughter of Robert, first Earl of Roxburgh. He was a member of the Scottish Privy Council from around 1634. During the civil war he remained loyal to the royal family, and was taken prisoner at the battle of Philiphaugh in 1646.


Malcolm’s genealogy of the Drummonds states that “he founded a library [in Drummond castle] containing the works of the most eminent ancient and modern authors, a library not for ostentation, but for use; for in all the volumes of that extensive collection, the most material and remarkable passages which he observed are all marked with his own hands” (p.128)

There are at least two books in the Catalogue of Drummond Castle (1912) with John’s provenance. These are:

Plutarque Les Vies des Hommes Illustres Grecs et Romains (Lyon, 1605), inscribed “J Drummond. Paris 7 Mai 1610."

Robert Balfour Commentariorum in lib. Artist. De Philosophia (Burdigaliae 1616-20) inscribed “Joannes Dromenius Perthiae Comes.”

It is unclear whether his books were part of the library of Edward Drummond, 6th Duke of Perth, whose library was sold in Paris in December 1760.

Characteristic Markings

Books identified as John’s are inscribed with his name (see examples above). He had an armorial stamp, used on a copy of Edmund Spenser’s Faerie queene (London, 1609) (Edinburgh University JY1069)


  • British Armorial Bindings
  • Brief Account of the Life of John Earle of Perth, Spalding Club Miscellany, Volume 2, Edinburgh, 1842
  • Catalogue of the rare and most interesting books and manuscripts in the library at Drummond Castle, compiled by G.P. Johnston, Edinburgh, 1910
  • Malcolm, David. A Genealogical Memoir of the Most Noble and Ancient House of Drummond, Edinburgh, 1808