Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Sheldon, Edward

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SHELDON, EDWARD (1599–1687), translator, younger son of Edward Sheldon, esq., of Beoley, Worcestershire, by his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Markham, esq., of Ollerton, was born at Beoley on 23 April 1599. He became a gentleman commoner of Gloucester Hall, Oxford, about 1613, and was admitted a student of Gray's Inn, London, 1 March 1619–20 (Foster, Gray's Inn Admission Register, p. 158). He matriculated as a member of University College, Oxford, 19 Nov. 1621 (Oxford Univ. Reg. vol. ii. pt. ii. p. 401). After travelling on the continent for several years he settled on his patrimony at Stratton, near Cirencester, which eventually he lost or was compelled to leave on account of his attachment to the catholic religion and the cause of Charles I. He died at his house in St. James's Street, Westminster, on 27 March 1687, and was buried under the chapel at Somerset House.

He married Mary (or Margaret), daughter of Lionel Wake of Antwerp, and of Pedington, Northamptonshire, and had several children. One was Lionel Sheldon, D.D., a Benedictine monk, and chaplain to Anne, duchess of York (he died in 1678); another, Dominick Sheldon, was a colonel of horse in the army of James II in Ireland; a younger son, Ralph, equerry to James II, died in 1723, aged 90; and a daughter Mary married Sir Samuel Tuke [q. v.]

He translated from the French: 1. ‘The Holy Life of Monsr. Renty, late Nobleman of France, & sometimes Councellor to King Lewis the 13th,’ London, 1658, 8vo, ‘mangled by an Irish priest when it went to press;’ reprinted, with corrections, 1683. The author was Jean-Baptiste de Saint-Jure. 2. ‘The Rule of Catholick Faith,’ by François Veron, D.D., Paris (verè London), 1660; reprinted 1672. 3. ‘Christian Thoughts for every Day in the Month,’ London, 1680, 12mo. 4. ‘The Counsels of Wisdom,’ by Nicholas Fouquet, marquis de Belle Isle.

His nephew, Ralph Sheldon (1623–1684), antiquary, eldest son of William Sheldon of Beoley, Worcestershire, by Elizabeth, daughter of William, second lord Petre, was born at Beoley on 1 Aug. 1623. He was a munificent patron of learned men, was skilled in the history and antiquities of his county, and spared no expense in forming a fine library at his manor-house of Weston in the parish of Long Compton, Warwickshire. He left his friend Antony à Wood a legacy of 40l. He purchased and bequeathed to the College of Arms the genealogical manuscripts of Augustine Vincent, Windsor herald, and he allowed John Vincent, Augustine's son, an annual pension. In his visits to Rome he collected choice books, coins, and medals. In reward for the sufferings which he and his father had undergone in the civil wars, he was nominated by Charles II a member of the contemplated Order of the Royal Oak. He endured considerable persecution on account of his adherence to the Roman catholic faith, and on 22 Nov. 1678 the high sheriff and under-sheriff of Warwickshire came to his house at Weston with a warrant to imprison him either in Warwick gaol or in London. However, he was a man ‘of such remarkable integrity, charity, and hospitality, as gained him the universal esteem of all the gentlemen of the county; insomuch that he usually went by the name of the Great Sheldon’ (Nash, Worcestershire, i. 68). He died at Weston, sine prole, on 24 June 1684. He married Henrietta Maria Savage, daughter of Thomas, first earl Rivers. She died on 13 June 1663.

He drew up ‘A Catalogue of the Nobility of England since the Norman Conquest, according to theire severall Creations by every particular King,’ with the arms finely emblazoned; a folio manuscript sold at the dispersion of Sir Thomas Phillipps's collection in June 1893, lot 281. Many of Sheldon's manuscripts are preserved in the College of Arms.

[Catholic Miscellany, 1826, vi. 73; Foley's Records, v. 46, 849, 850; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714, iv. 1342; Nash's Worcestershire, i. 66; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, iv. 205, and Life, p. lxx; for the nephew, see Britton's Memoir of Aubrey, p. 57; Chambers's Worcestershire Biography, p. 208; Foley's Records, v. 850 (pedigree); Hamper's Dugdale, pp. 434, 455; Nicolas's Memoir of A. Vincent, pp. 92–9; Bibl. Phillippica, 1893, p. 57; Wood's Life, 1848, p. 260.]

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