Binding-stamp and bookplate of Rachel Bourchier, Countess of Bath (1612/3-1680)
At least three volumes in St John's Library bear the gold-stamped arms of Rachel Bourchier, Countess of Bath, and two of these also bear her bookplate. The volumes all come from different sources: one volume of the works of Marius Mercator (1673) comes from the bequest of Richard Duffield; a copy of Dugdale's Antiquities of Warwickshire (1656) was bequeathed by Thomas Baker; and vol. 2 of Acta Sanctorum Ordinis S. Benedicti (1668) seems to have been bought as a replacement copy for a missing volume from a set of seven given by John Billers, and bears the note "This book was bought of Mr Bateman bookseller in Paternoster Row, London, to whom Eman. Coll. sold it for a duplicate, price 10s. Real value at least 4 pounds. Donum G. Smith."
Rachel was the fifth daughter of Francis Fane, Earl of Westmorland, and married Henry Bourchier, Earl of Bath at the age of 25. After his death in 1654 she married Lionel, Earl of Middlesex, but obtained a royal warrant in 1660 to retain her precedency as "Countess of Bath", as her new husband's title was a later creation. Her bookplate is apparently the earliest English armorial bookplate to have belonged to a woman.