Lyell, James Patrick Ronaldson (1871 -1949)
James Patrick Ronaldson Lyell was educated at Merchant Taylor's School and University College, London. He became a solicitor in 1894, was a partner in the firm of Gard Lyell Betenson & Davidson of Hampstead. In 1910 he unsuccessfully contested East Marylebone as a Liberal. He was an elder of the Presbyterian Church in Hampstead, and Chairman of the Hampstead bench of Magistrates. The chance purchase of a copy of the Complutensian Polyglot Bible, inspired him to collect Spanish books, and English books printed abroad. In 1917 he published a book on Cardinal Ximines and the Complutensian Polyglot, and in 1926 another on Early book illustration in Spain. In 1927 he moved to Oxford, and in 1930 matriculated at New College, and obtained his B.Litt for work based on his collection of books on the Armada. Shortly after this the chance purchase of the Abingdon Cartulary diverted his attention to medieval manuscripts, and these became the absorbing interest of his later years. At his death, he bequeathed the residue of his estate to the University of Oxford for the foundation of the Lyell Readership in Bibliography, and a choice of a hundred manuscripts to the Bodleian Library, out of his collection of two hundred and fifty medieval manuscripts, and some later ones as well. His remaining manuscripts were bought by Quaritch and formed the contents of their catalogue 699 (1952), and the remainder of his library was sold in four sales at auction at Hodgson's 22 June 1950 and 20 July 1950, and at Sotheby's 19 February 1951 and 5 June 1951. His bookplate has the crest as in the stamp with the motto `Viam aut inveniam aut faciam'.