Books on the Move

The personal library which Sir Thomas Hoby accumulated is today largely an enigma. We know little of what it contained, when it was dispersed, or why. The books which have made their way to Audley End have, however, made an important contribution to what is known about the collection. We know that they were moved to Audley End from a house called Billingbear. This house belonged to the Neville family, who inherited Audley End in 1802. It was situated just eight miles from Bisham Abbey, which had been the home of the Hobys, but no longer stands, having been demolished in the 1920s. We know that the books were at Billingbear in the 1780s, but we do not know when or why the books were moved there. The Nevilles and Hobys had been neighbours for more than two centuries, so there are many ways in which the move may have come about.

Audley End Library. Image from the Historic England Archive.

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