Scipio Le Squyer 1597-1659

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Scipio LE SQUYER 1597-1659

Biographical Note

Born (probably) in Devon, son of Edmund Le Squyer, Rector of King’s Nympton, Devon. Studied at New Inn Hall, Oxford 1599-1603; admitted at Gray’s Inn 1627. Marshal to John Doddrige of Devon, 1603-28; Deputy Chamberlain in the receipt of the Exchequer, 1620; Chamberlain of the Exchequer , and Keeper of the Records, 1655. Acting Escheator of Devon and Cornwall, 1643. Granted £10 in 1627 for his “extraordinary service” in sorting the Treasury records. A member of the informal circle of London antiquaries of the early 17th century, and a friend of (e.g.) Robert Cotton, William Dugdale and Simon d’Ewes. Much of his professional activity was directed towards preparing calendars and other finding aids for the public records.


A catalogue of his library made in 1632 shows a collection of ca.500 printed books and 296 manuscripts, divided into various subject headings; the printed books included theology (131 vols), history (131), poesy (83), morality (46), law (32), dictionaries and grammars (27), medicine (13), herbals (8). They included a small section of “books that my dead wife left” (9 vols, all English devotional works). Examples: British Library ms Cotton Vit.D.ix; Manchester UL ms Lat.224; Yale UL Eliz 188; Christopher Edwards 39 (2008)/9.


  • Birrell, T. Reading as pastime: the place of light literature in some 17th-century gentlemen’s libraries, in R. Myers (ed), Property of a gentleman, Winchester, 1991, 113-131, 119-21.
  • Ovenden, R. Scipio le Squyer and the fate of monastic cartularies, The Library 6th ser 13 (1991), 323-37.
  • Ramsay, Nigel. "Le Squyer, Scipio (1579–1659), record keeper and antiquary." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
  • Taylor, F. The books and manuscripts of Scipio Le Squyer, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 25 (1941), 137-64.