Charles Barnwell 1679-1750

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Charles BARNWELL 1679-1750

The first Charles's bookplate (British Museum Franks Collection 1570)

Biographical Note

The first Charles was the son of Charles Barnwell of Mileham, Norfolk, a member of a long-established gentry family there. Matriculated at St Catherine's College, Cambridge 1695, but did not graduate; admitted at Lincoln's Inn 1699. He lived the life of a country gentleman thereafter, with 3 marriages and 15 children. His eldest son, also named Charles, inherited the Mileham estate.

The version of the plate used by Charles the son (British Museum Franks Collection 1569)


The elder Charles used an engraved armorial bookplate labelled "Charles Barnwell Esqr. Mileham Norfolk" (Franks 1570); his son continued to use the plate, but had the bottom line of text ("Mileham Esqr. Norfolk") removed (Franks 1569). An anonymous version of the plate, with no wording beneath the arms, is likely to have been used by another, later member of the family. The extent of the library is not known, but we assume it largely passed down the family through the generations; the will of the rector's eldest son, another Charles (1736-1802) mentions "all my printed books" as part of the inheritance of his brother William (1740-1810), after whose death they were to go to William's son George (1768-1822).