Francis Roper (d. 1719)
Originating from County Durham, Francis Roper came to St John's in 1658, and, although he appears to have spent some time at Corpus Christi College in Oxford, graduated BA in 1662-3, MA in 1666, and BD in 1673. He became a Fellow of St John's, and held several Church preferments, including deacon of Peterborough and canon of Ely. Like Thomas Baker he was deprived of his fellowship as a non-juror, but died very soon afterwards.
Roper's bequest to the Library
Roper was a substantial benefactor to the College and over 600 items in the Library bear his provenance. These are mainly of the 17th and early 18th century, and cover a wide range of subjects, although they are predominantly theological. One item of particular interest is an edition of Ovid bearing the autograph of John Donne as a schoolboy.
The books given by Roper bear a book label detailing his bequest. Translated it reads:
Given by the Reverend Francis Roper BD, for many years a most worthy Fellow of this College, thereafter Canon of Ely Cathedral etc. Exceedingly well versed in literature, skilful in business, with an extraordinary sweetness of character, remarkable for the holiness of his whole life. He was such a clever explorer of character that with wonderful ease he would imbue youthful hearts with educated piety. He was conspicuous for his moderation when times were good, and for his firmness in adversity. Sparing with himself, he was generous towards others, above all to this College, which he regarded as his heir, and which he enriched with a splendid inheritance. He died 12 April 1719.