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Philip Powys (1704-1779)

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I discovered this bookplate, two of them in fact, in August 2004 in a spare copy of one of the small books by my gt-gt-grandfather. The book had been owned by Rev C R Powys, his half-brother; I presume that CRP had discovered them himself and put them there for safe keeping.

The curious things about these bookplates (they are identical, both off the same press) are:

  1. The surname is spelt wrongly, with an 'i'
  2. The helmet is open and forward facing, that of a knight's
  3. The name is just "Philip Powys", no second forename of "Lybbe"
  4. There is no motto.
Taking these in order:
First it is likely that this spelling error is by the engravers, though this spelling was used by others in the 17th century.

Second I suspect that this bookplate was copied from one for, or from the arms of, Sir Thomas Powys, father of the first Philip Powys (I wonder if he was not named after his maternal grandfather, Sir Philip Meadows?). Sir Thomas was a knight of course so this open, facing helm would have been correct.

Third, in all formal documents, the Powyses with a Lybbe forename always used it. There were no Philip Powyses without Lybbe as a forename except, of course, the one who married Isabella Lybbe.

Fourth mottoes were a late feature of heraldry and may well not have been used by early Powyses.

My conclusion is that these two bookplates were Philip Powys' who lived from 1704 to 1779 and served once as High Sheriff of Oxfordshire.

Further I surmise that this pair was a printer's proof and was probably rejected because of the two errors, the knight's helm and the misspelt surname. But they have survived for three centuries!

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