Edward Sheldon (translator)

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Edward Sheldon (born at Beoley, 23 April 1599; died in London, 27 March 1687) was an English translator of Catholic works.


Sheldon was the third son of Edward Sheldon of Weston, Warwickshire[1] and Elizabeth Markham his wife, daughter of Thomas Markham of Ollerton, Nottinghamshire. The antiquary Ralph Sheldon was his nephew.[2] He was a gentleman-commoner at Gloucester Hall, Oxford and then pursued a legal education at Gray's Inn, London, before completing his studies at University College, Oxford. After that he took a foreign tour lasting some years.

Sheldon married Mary (or Margaret) Wake, daughter of Lionel Wake of Pedington, Northamptonshire, and Antwerp, by whom he had nine sons and four daughters. Most of them became active as Catholics and/or Royalists. Two daughters, Frances and Katharine, were maids of honour to Charles II's wife, Catherine, to whom Sheldon dedicated his "Counsels of Wisdom", "Being desirous in these distracted times to offer something that is serious, and may invite People and direct them to the way of Virtue." One of the copies in the Bodleian Library had been given to the antiquary Anthony Wood by Frances Sheldon.[3]

Having led a quiet life on his estate at Stratton, Gloucestershire, Sheldon began to be molested because of his Catholicism and moved to London in 1641. Sheldon or a namesake was among those who surrendered Worcester to Parliament in July 1646. Other accounts say he remained in retirement. He was resident at a house on the east side of St James's Street, Westminster, from 1682 until his death on 27 March 1687.[3][4]


Sheldon's translations demonstrate his commitment to Catholicism. He translated four religious works from the French:

  • The Holy Life of M. De Renty (1658)
  • The Rule of Catholic Faith, by François Véron (1660)
  • The Counsels of Wisdom, by Nicholas Fouquet, Marquis of Belle Isle (1680)
  • Christian Thoughts for Every Day of the Month (1680)

The translation of Véron's work in 1660 has been described as both "hazardous and difficult", in view of the Restoration taking place at that time. That may explain why the place of publication is given falsely as Paris, instead of London.[3]

External links[edit]



  1. ^ Burke's Landed Gentry, Vol II, 1847, p. 1226
  2. ^ Jan Broadway, "Sheldon, Ralph (1623–1684)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Oxford, UK: OUP, 2004 Retrieved 16 December 2015, pay-walled
  3. ^ a b c Thompson Cooper: "Sheldon, Edward (1599–1687)", rev. Jane Griffiths, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, UK: OUP, 2004) Retrieved 16 December 2015, pay-walled.
  4. ^ British History Online Retrieved 16 December 2015.