Thomas Sheppard d.1763
Thomas SHEPPARD d.1763
There are many surviving examples, in libraries around the world, of books carrying a late 17th or early 18th century black ink stamp showing a heraldic crest of a ram standing between two olive branches, with the name "SHEPPARD" beneath. These stamps usually also have a large ink-stamped number beneath, and sometimes a letter written over the back of the ram. They suggest a family library of some size, and as the numbers are not unique to individual books - there are multiple examples carrying the same numbers - they are evidently not a sequential numbering system, book by book, but presumably reflect shelves or perhaps some kind of subject classification.
It has been suggested that the stamp is associated with the family of Thomas Sheppard, of Lydcott or Littlecote, Buckinghamshire, who is recorded as a "gentleman" there, who was involved in managing £4000 on behalf of the Buckinghamshire local administration in the late 1730s, and who left in his will his "study of books" (along with other goods) to his eldest son Thomas. There was also a family of Sheppards in Frome, Somerset who were prominent cloth manufacturers and merchants between the 17th and 19th centuries, owning significant property there. The crest of a ram (or lamb) passant between two olive branches could apply to any of these families. At the present time, definite identification of the owner(s) of these books is uncertain.
Examples: Philip Allfrey has compiled a spreadsheet listing over 40 examples, but there are more surviving.
- Will of Thomas Sheppard, The National Archives PROB 11/886/147.
- Cornwall, J., The county treasurers 1678-1889, Buckinghamshire Archaeological Society.
- The Sheppard of Littlecott genealogy.
- The Sheppard family, Frome, Wikipedia.
- Information from Philip Allfrey, Sam Brown, Stephen Ferguson.