Monro, Sermons Preached upon Several Occasions (1693)

Alexander Monro was a Presbyter of the Church of Scotland and Principal of the College of Edinburgh who published a number of polemical religious works between 1691 and 1696. The title page of this particular publication tells us that most of the aforesaid sermons were preached at St. Giles Church in Edinburgh before an audience of judges and magistrates.

The copy here is signed “Anne Cornwall” on the imprimatur page in a contemporary hand. She is one of the many female book owners whose too-common name complicates her identification, but the binding may lend some clues.

The gilt stamp on the binding is that of Sir George Steuart, 5th Baronet of Grandtully and Murthly in Perthshire, Scotland (1750–1827) [1]. The stamp features a helmet with three plumed feathers at the top, two bees within the circle beneath, and an apparent saltire in the base. The book, then, was owned by a Scotsman, which makes a certain amount of sense since the author too was Scottish. We might guess that Anne, whose signature appears to predate the binding, was also Scottish.

She does not appear to have an obvious familial connection to Sir Steuart; his mother was Clementina and his sisters were Clementina and Grizell. It may simply be that Steuart obtained the book as a secondhand purchase and has no link whatever Anne.

The Folger Shakespeare Library holds a copy of Antoinette Bourignon’s The Confusion of the Builders of Babel (1708), which is bound with Parts I through III of the author’s The Academy of Learned Divines and signed Anne Cornwall. It would be interesting to note if the hand is the same and, if so, whether the Folger volume has any further clues to Anne’s identity.

Update June 7, 2022: While updating the website’s finding aid, Martine Van Elk noticed that we had previously featured a Lady Anne Cornwall in April 2020. The hand in the 1618 Bible is not dissimilar, but Lady Anne Cornwall died in 1657, so naturally she could not have been the owner of the 1693 Monro sermons. However, she did have a daughter of the same name and it is quite likely that one or more of her sons would have also named their daughters Anne Cornwall. At this time, a relation between the two Annes cannot be proven, but Lady Anne’s Bible hints at a possible identity of the later Anne Cornwall.


“Steuart, George, Sir, 5th Baronet (1750 – 1827) (Stamp 1).” British Armorial Bindings, University of Toronto Libraries. Accessed 25 April, 2022.

Source: Book offered for sale by robinrarebooks in April 2022. Images used with permission.

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