John Carey, Earl of Dover (1608-1677)
John Carey became a fellow-commoner of St John's in 1624, and was styled Viscount Rochford from 1628, and Baron Hunsdon from 1640. He was Colonel of a regiment of foot in the Royalist army, but was accused of High Treason in 1644. He was also briefly Speaker of the House of Lords in 1647. On his death both the Earldom of Dover and the Viscountcy of Rochford became extinct.
Carey's bequest to the Library
Carey gave books to the value of £100 to St John's, where his arms are inscribed in the west window of the Upper Library. This gift comprised 90 or so books, being the usual mix of classical authors, Church Fathers and scholastic theology for the period. Among them, however, are a fair number of early editions of polyglot, Arabic, Syriac and Hebrew texts. Items of interest include the following:
- One of three copies in the Library of the first printed polyglot volume, the Pentaglot Psalter printed by Porrus (1517), bearing a dedication to Henry VIII.
- The 1562 reprint of the first book printed in Syriac, the Peshitta version of the New Testament, originally produced by Michael Zimmerman in 1555.
- The earliest Arabic printing of Euclid's Elements (1594).
- The first European edition of the New Testament in Arabic (1616).
All the volumes given by Carey bear his arms, with the motto
"Comme le trouve", stamped in gold on both covers, and have a book label detailing the bequest inserted inside the front cover. Translated it reads:
To this College the renowned John, Lord Carey of Hunsdon, Viscount Rochford, firstborn son of the Most Noble Lord Henry Earl of Dover, gave this book, together with many others to the value of one hundred pounds, after having succeeded in his studies of good literature here with us for a while, in remembrance of this, on account of his honour and gratitude.