Sir Thomas Dawes (d. 1655)

Thomas Dawes was the eldest son of Sir Abraham Dawes, of Roehampton. Sir Abraham was a Farmer of the Customs, and one of the wealthiest men of his age. He died around 1640. Thomas married Judith, daughter of Sir Cuthbert Hacket, Lord Mayor of London. He appears to have been an alumnus of St John’s, and was perhaps a fellow-commoner. He was knighted at Whitehall in December 1639, and served as Gentleman-in Ordinary to King Charles’s Bedchamber. During the Civil Wars the Dawes family appears to have sent money to the exiled Royal family, and for a time their estates were sequestered. Thomas died on 5 December 1655.

Dawes' gift

The Benefactor's Book records that Dawes gave "in addition to 40 pounds, a most elegant Bible in English, adorned with silver plates skilfully engraved". This Bible is still in the Library, and a further twelve items also bear his provenance. These are theological works, and include some items of Hebraica.

Provenance markings

The books given by Dawes all bear a full-page inscription. Pictured below is the inscription from the Bible that he gave. In translation this reads:

In the year of our Lord 1647, in the twenty-third year of the reign of King Charles, was this Bible given by Thomas Dawes knight, son of Sir Abraham Dawes deceased; Gentleman-in-Ordinary of the private bedchamber of his said honorable Majesty, from Rowghampton in the parish of Putney in the county of Surrey: given and dedicated to the Library of the College of St John the Evangelist in the University of Cambridge, of which he was once a member, and Master Commissary, for which College he sincerely prays to almighty God that all turns out well.

All the other volumes given by Dawes bear an inscription in a diamond-shaped lozenge, although in a similar style. The inscription in the Bible is dated 1647, whereas all the other volumes bear a date of 1648. The velvet binding with silver plates is also shown, and since this is specifically mentioned in the Benefactors Book may have been made for him.