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Thomas Jelf Powys
(d. c. 1832)

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I was pleasantly surprised to be offered this by the Treasurer of the Bookplate Society as it was a duplicate that he had acquired. A very modest fee and a few days later it was mine!

This bookplate contains the Powys arms. But by the rules of the English game of heraldry, I would doubt that he had the right to use them. He was indeed a Powys and these are indeed the Powys arms and crest. But they were first granted to Thomas Powys (of Henley, Salop) who lived in the late 17th century and the common ancestor of these two branches lived in the late 16th century.

Interestingly the College of Arms ignored this lack of right to the Powys arms when Thomas Jelf left his estates to his daughter's second son on the condition that he changed his name to Powys and his arms likewise. In 1832 a herald at the College obtained a Royal Licence to acheive just this. By a curious route the exemplification of this has come into my hands and the arms that this grandson inherited are precisely those of Powys.

We know little or nothing about these Powyses of Berwick, Shropshire. They are descended from the youngest son of one William Powys who was a small-time farmer and merchant of Ludlow dying in 1577. Somehow this line made good, doing what I know not. Slowly they acquired larger and larger properties and Thomas Jelf's daughter was thought socially respectable enough to marry the eldest son of an earl, and the earldom then went to her eldest surviving son and is held by his descendants to this day.

I know nothing about the provenance of this bookplate.

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