Samuel Crowther, the first Black Anglican Bishop, at the Wilberforce Oak

Samuel Crowther, James Johnson, Henry Johnson and friends at the Wilberforce Oak in 1873

This image ( Tait 219 f. 119) shows a summer picnic which, as the reverse of the photograph records, took place on 21 June 1873. The photograph includes Samuel Crowther (c.1807-1891), the first black Anglican bishop, consecrated bishop of Western Africa in 1864. Also included are James Johnson (c.1836-1917), later assistant bishop of Western Equatorial Africa, and Henry Johnson, subsequently archdeacon of the Upper Niger.

The resonance of the picture lies in its location. Those picnicking were photographed at the ‘Wilberforce oak’, at Keston in Kent (now part of Bromley borough). William Wilberforce (1759-1833), the politician and philanthropist, often visited the prime minister, William Pitt the younger (1759-1806), who owned the Holwood estate at Keston. Wilberforce’s resolution, ‘after a conversation in the open air at the root of an old tree at Holwood just above the steep descent into the vale of Keston’, to give notice in the House of Commons of his intention to bring forward the abolition of the slave trade, is quoted in the Life published by his son, Samuel Wilberforce (1805-1873), bishop of Oxford and Winchester. The occasion was recorded in an inscription on a memorial seat beneath the oak tree itself. The slave trade in the British empire was eventually abolished in 1807. The bill for the abolition of slavery itself was passed shortly before William Wilberforce’s death in 1833.

The correspondence accompanying this photograph in the Library’s collection records a proposal to build a memorial church to Wilberforce at Keston in recognition of his contribution to the campaign against the slave trade, replacing the small church there which was considered inadequate. This proposal, however, was never implemented.

James Boswell’s copy of “De imitatione Christi” by Thomas à Kempis

Title page to De imitatione Christi (“The imitation of Christ”) is possibly the most widely read Christian devotional work after the Bible. Composed by Thomas à Kempis in the first quarter of the 15th century, the book was immediately popular and was printed in some 745 separate editions before 1650. The Sion College Library collection, now held here at Lambeth, includes a copy of the 1640 edition previously owned by James Boswell (1740-1795), biographer of the essayist and man of letters, Dr Samuel Johnson. The ownership inscription on the book’s flyleaf reads, “James Boswell. Edinburgh 1781”.

James Boswell’s autograph on the flyleaf of his copy of
James Boswell’s autograph on the flyleaf of his copy of “De imitatione Christi” [Sion A68.2/K32 (1640)]
De imitatione Christi was a favourite of Boswell’s and he refers to it in his Life of Johnson; several of those passages have been written in manuscript at the beginning of the Sion copy: “Thomas à Kempis must be a good book [says Boswell], as the world has opened its arms to receive it. It is said to have been printed in one language or others, as many times as there have been months since it first came out.”

Dr Samuel Johnson, essayist and lexicographer. Portrait from James Boswell’s “Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D.”, 1791 [Sion B44.4/J63B]
Johnson himself was apparently in the habit of speaking on the subject of the various editions. One Monday in May 1784, he and Boswell were dining together when Boswell raised the question: “When I mentioned that I had seen in the King’s Library sixty-three editions of my favourite Thomas à Kempis, amongst which it was in eight languages, Latin, German, French, Italian, Spanish, English, Arabic, and Armenian, he said he thought it unnecessary to collect many editions, which were all the same, except as to paper and print; he would have the original, and all the editions which had any variation in the text.” If one thing can be said about the Sion College copy, Boswell’s own, it is certainly not the same as all the rest.

Manuscript notes on pastedown of “De imitatione Christi”, 1640

Library Records Project 2

The project to produce new online descriptions of the early catalogues of Lambeth Palace Library 1610-1785, together with a guide to the catalogues, shelf marks and other physical evidence of the collection, funded by the Friends of Lambeth Palace Library, has continued to make good progress.

Attention has been focused on the restoration of the Library by Archbishop Sheldon in 1664 and the catalogues of the Library (7 volumes) which he commissioned. A new description was also made of LR/F/11, which includes a set of book lists now identified as the packing lists of Sheldon’s personal collection when he moved to London in 1660. A further discovery was the presence in many of Sheldon’s books of shelfmarks reflecting their arrangement while he was Bishop of London (1660-3). The project also brought to light a Sheldon book with his crest, surrounded by a wreath, on the binding (the sole example of this stamp which has come to light at Lambeth), and also two Sheldon books with an engraving by Hollar of his arms as Bishop of London, both hand coloured. These are bookplate-size but appear to have been used only rarely, as frontispieces or embellishments.

The project has also covered the reorganisation of the Library by Archishop Sancroft between 1677 and his ejection from Lambeth in 1691. Sancroft rearranged the manuscripts and produced a new catalogue in his own hand. In addition he rearranged the printed books. Amongst the volumes catalogued, a shelf list made by Paul Colomies in 1684 (LR/F/10) has special importance for understanding the collection, especially as it includes an audit of the Library carried out by Sancroft’s chaplains at the time of his ejection in June 1691.

Shelf list by Paul Colomiès, 1684 (LR/F/10 f 26)
Shelf list by Paul Colomiès, 1684 (LR/F/10 f 26)

In all seven catalogues produced during Sancroft’s primacy were described. Three were identified as attempts at an author catalogue of the Library, a project which appears to have remained incomplete. A new description was also made of the catalogue of the Lambeth manuscripts compiled by Henry Wharton in 1688 (MS 580).

Work was also begun on the catalogues produced during the primacy of Archbishop Tenison, 1694-1715, another significant period in the history of the Library.

Community of St Andrew – cataloguing completed

The Community of St. Andrew collection has recently been catalogued and is now available for research. It has taken 4 months to catalogue nearly 50 boxes of archive material and you can search the collection on our online archive catalogue.  The material charts the establishment of the first Deaconess religious community in the Church of England from its beginnings in the 1860s to the present day.

The Community of St. Andrew, or the North London Deaconess Institution as it was called in 1861, moved to Tavistock Crescent in Westbourne Park in the early 1870s where the mother house stayed for the next 130 years.  The community always had a dual purpose of performing prayer and worship for the surrounding community it resided in and performing good works for the community.  The collection contains much material that reflects the dual purpose of the community with many papers documenting the rules that the sisters followed in their daily life and the compassionate work carried out by the sisters.

There is a whole series of papers on ‘The Religious Life’ that contains many papers written by sisters and Mother Superiors in the community which give evidence to the theological motivations for the actions of the community.  Mother Clare who was Mother Superior from 1942-1964 was particularly prolific and the collection contains many addresses that she made to religious conferences during her service as Mother Superior.

There are some records created by the foundress of the community, Elizabeth Ferard, including her Diary that she kept while on Deaconess training at Kaiserswerth in Germany and notes she made during the Deaconess Conference in 1861 where she put forward questions about how she should establish and develop the Deaconess order in England.  An extract of these minutes can be seen below:

Note on deaconess training
Note on deaconess training

The community established many branch houses over its lifetime and there is material that relates to the administration of these houses and the works they undertook.  As the numbers of sisters in the community reduced, these branch houses were closed and sisters who worked there recalled to the Mother House.  The correspondence documenting these closures highlights the effects they had on the sisters involved and how the community as a whole adapted to these changes.

As the numbers of sisters in the community dwindled the need for the larger Mother House at Tavistock Crescent was reduced and the mother house was reduced in size through refurbishment and then finally handed over to the Anglican Communion Office in the early 2000s when the community moved to Verona Court in Chiswick.  They retained an office at Tavistock Road where they still have a presence today.

The collection also has a series of records concerning the Deaconess order in general.  Members of the community were very actively involved in national Deaconess committees and conferences and their activities are documented in correspondence and minutes of meetings.  There is also a sizeable collection of newsletters relating to the Deaconess order.

You can find the collection on the archive catalogue by searching for the order number prefix CSA.  Visit our reading room to see any papers you are interested in.

Pirates and Piracy in Sion College Library

Today, September 19th, is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, but in this post we will not talk like a pirate but about pirates, specifically those to be found within the printed books collection of Sion College Library.

Although Sion College was founded to serve the clergy of London, its library contains much more than ecclesiastical books. Indeed, the subjects covered are wide-ranging, and literature, travel and history are all well-documented. Sion College Library contains several books on the topic of pirates and piracy, many of them wonderfully illustrated.

The history of the bucaniers, 1684 [B85.0/ES6(1)
The history of the bucaniers, 1684, with engraved portraits of famous buccaneers [B85.0/ES6(1)]
The history of the bucaniers is an abridged translation of Americaanse zeerovers, written in Dutch by Alexandre Olivier Exquemelin and published in Amsterdam in 1678.

Title-page and frontispiece of The history of the bucaniers of America [B85.0/ES6(2)]
Title-page and frontispiece of The history of the bucaniers of America [B85.0/ES6(2)]
Sion College Library also owns another copy entitled The history of the bucaniers of America, which is a reissue of the second edition of the complete work published in 1684. The first three parts are by Exquemelin but this edition has also been enlarged with the writings of Basil Ringrose for the fourth part.

Opposite the title-page is an engraved frontispiece portrait of Sir Henry Morgan, better known as the notorious Captain Morgan. Although the book also deals with other buccaneers such as Captain Cook and Captain Sharp, the emphasis is on Morgan and many of the illustrations depict events from his remarkable life.

Sack of Puerto del Principe [B85.0/ES6(2)]
Sack of Puerto del Principe [B85.0/ES6(2)]
Sack of Puerto del Principe
(engraving beginning of part 2, chap 5)
Some account of the Island of Cuba. Captain Morgan attempteth to preserve the Isle of St. Catherine, as a Refuge and Nest unto Pirats; but faileth of his designs. He arriveth at and taketh the Village of el Puerto del Principe”

Sea battle against the Spanish Armada
(engraving beginning of part2, chap 7)
Captain Morgan taketh the City of Maracaibo on the Coast of Nueva Venezuela. Piraces, committed in those Seas. Ruine of three Spanish Ships, that were set forth to hinder the Robberies of the Pirates.”

Sea battle against Spanish Armada [B85.0/ES6(2)]
Sea battle against Spanish Armada [B85.0/ES6(2)]
The fourth part, written by Basil Ringrose, features maps and topographic drawings of the different capes.

Capes and their topographic specifics [B85.0/ES6(2)]
Capes and their topographic specifics [B85.0/ES6(2)]
Those books were published only a few years after the events occurred and they continued to fascinate people throughout the 18th century.

One of the major works on piracy during the 18th century, A general history of the robberies and murders of the most notorious pyrates, first published in 1724, was believed to have been written by Charles Johnson, but the book has also been attributed to Daniel Defoe. Sion College Library possesses a copy of the third edition (with a different title), A general history of the pyrates, from their first rise and settlement in the island of Providence, to the present time.

A general history of the pyrates, 1725 [B82.3/J62]
A general history of the pyrates, 1725 [B82.3/J62]
A portrait of the formidable Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, faces the title-page.

Bartholomew Roberts [B82.3/J62]
Bartholomew Roberts [B82.3/J62]
The work also features the exploits of Black Bart, i.e. Bartholomew Roberts, a Welsh pirate and one of the most successful of his day.

Although male figures frequently dominate pirate literature, this volume also includes the stories of two iconic female pirates, Anne Bonny and Mary Read.

Ann Bonny & Mary Read, most famous female pirates [B82.3/J62]
Anne Bonny & Mary Read, infamous female pirates [B82.3/J62]
Little is known about the two women and most of the information comes from this work by Charles Johnson. Both Bonny and Read were part of the crew of John “Calico Jack” Rackham and all were captured at the same time. According to Johnson, before Rackham was hanged Anne said to him “that she was sorry to see him there, but if he had fought like a Man, he need not have been hang’d like a Dog“. Mary Read died of fever in prison while pregnant but Johnson remains vague regarding Anne’s fate, finishing his chapter on her life by simply writing: “She was continued in Prison, to the Time of her lying in, and afterwards reprieved from Time to Time; but what is become of her since, we cannot tell; only this we know, that she was not executed“.

For centuries, stories of pirates have captured the imagination of people everywhere. The books we hold in the Sion collection contain the contemporary accounts of these fascinating buccaneers on which many later novels and films have been based. Those who truly wish to ‘Talk Like a Pirate’ would do well to take heed.

With a little help from our Friends 4: A Rare Sarum Missal & a Unique Set of Prayers for Mary I

The Friends of Lambeth Palace Library not only help to purchase material for the Library but they also facilitate other parties who wish to donate books or manuscripts to the Library. A significant accession that has come to us in this way is a copy of Missale secundu[m] vsum insignis ecclesiae Sa[rum] printed in Rouen in 1510 for the English market, and which is only otherwise known from a surviving fragment. It was presented to the Library through the Friends of Lambeth Palace Library by the Green family of Oklahoma City in 2014.

Title page
Title page showing St George slaying the Dragon.

It is a very attractive volume and retains a contemporary blind-tooled Cambridge calf binding over wooden boards (although it has been re-backed). Printed in red and black, it has typeset music on a four-line stave, as well as several fine woodcuts. As with many missals that were printed on paper at this time, the four leaves of the Canon of the Mass are printed on vellum. As this was the most used part of the book, vellum was used for durability. The Canon also contains two full-page illustrations (The Crucifixion and God the Father) with contemporary hand-colouring (see below).

Hand-coloured woodcut of God the Father from the Canon of the Mass
Hand-coloured woodcut of God the Father from the Canon of the Mass

The book was purchased by the Greens in 2013 from the sale of the Mendham Collection by the Law Society and they subsequently offered it to the Lambeth Palace Library. Mr Richard Linenthal of the Friends looked after the practicalities and legalities of the transfer. In 2014 Mr Steve Green (see below) presented the book to Lord Salisbury, Chairman of the Friends of Lambeth Palace Library, who formally accepted it on the Library’s behalf.

Lord Salisbury accepts the book from Mr Steve Green on behalf of the Friends

The Mendham Collection was substantial library of Catholic and anti-Catholic books and manuscripts assembled by the Anglican clergyman and controversialist Joseph Mendham (1769–1856) and this item contains a number of notes in Mendham’s own hand. Mendham bequeathed his extensive collection to his nephew, the Rev. John Mendham. Subsequently, John’s widow, Sophia, placed the books in the care of Charles Hastings Collette, a solicitor in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, who presented many of the books to the Incorporated Law Society in Chancery Lane. The books had been on loan to the University of Kent since 1965 and were being held at Canterbury Cathedral Library when the controversial decision to sell the collection was taken.

However, Mendham was not the only owner of the book to leave marks of provenance in the book. The book also has the armorial bookplate of the Coventry antiquary Thomas Sharp (1770-1841), which has been initialed by him. The earliest owner of the book that we can discern was Sir Adrian Fortescue (1476-1539), a relation of Anne Boleyn. Sir Adrian was arrested as a precaution in 1534 after his son-in-law, Silken Thomas, launched his rebellion but was released later that year. He was arrested again in 1539 and was included in the act of attainder of that year. Condemned to death for treason he was executed on Tower Hill on 9 July 1539. No details of Sir Adrian’s alleged treason were ever given. It has been speculated that the allegation of treason was due to his refusal to accept Henry VIII as supreme head of the Church of England. However, Richard Rex thinks this is unlikely, pointing out that not only did he cross out the papal title in his book of hours and missal but also used bidding prayers which recognised Henry VIII as head of the Church. Indeed, there is a note in the missal in his own hand dated 1536, affirming Henry VIII’s authority over the English church and ending “God save the kyng”. Rather, Rex thinks that the reason for Sir Adrian’s execution might have been his connection with the Pole family through his wife. During the sixteenth century Sir Adrian came to be venerated as an English martyr and was beatified in 1895.

Notes in the hand of Sir Adrian Fortescue
Notes in the hand of Sir Adrian Fortescue

Pasted into this book is another rare item, a single sheet containing three prayers in Latin (Oratio, Secreta and Postcommunio) for Mary I entitled Prayers or collectes to be sayd in the Masse for the Quenes highness, beinge with childe (see below). Mary married Philip of Spain in July 1554 and was thought to be pregnant by autumn 1554, with a celebratory procession and mass being held in St Paul’s in November. By early the next year it was clear that Mary was not pregnant and therefore it is likely that this sheet was printed in late 1554. It is the only known printed copy of these prayers to survive but there is another version of these prayers copied into a missal printed in Paris in 1516 for the bookseller Jean Petit that is now at York Minster Library. Michael Carter notes that there are some minor differences between the printed and manuscript version of the prayers but concludes that they are so minor that there can be little doubt that the version of the prayers in the missal at York is based on the printed sheet.

Prayers for Mary
The only existing copy known of three prayers for Queen Mary during her supposed pregnancy

We are most grateful to the Green family for saving this wonderful book for the nation and to the Friends for facilitating the gift.

Further Reading

Richard Rex, ‘Blessed Adrian Fortescue: a Martyr Without a Cause?’, Anelecta Bollandiana, 115 (1997), pp. 307-353.

Sotheby & Co., Highlights from the Mendham Collection : the property of the Law Society of England and Wales. London: Sothebys, 2013.

Michael Carter, ‘Unanswered Prayers: a Cistercian Missal at York Minster Library’, The Antiquaries Journal, 95, (2015), pp. 1–11 (available at doi:10.1017⁄s0003581515000414).

An Unrecorded Cheap Repository Tract: The Rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram

A guest post by Dr David Stoker, formerly of the Department of Information Studies, Aberystwyth University.

The tile page of The Rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram
The tile page of The Rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram

The publications of the Cheap Repository for Moral and Religious Literature (usually known as the Cheap Repository Tracts) were the literary sensation of the last five years of the eighteenth century. Around one hundred and twenty seven titles were published by the English religious writer and philanthropist Hannah More, together with a small band of helpers, to counteract the ‘corrupt and vicious little books and ballads which have been hung out of windows in the most alluring forms or hawked through town and country.’ They were a means of providing the common people with ‘religious and useful knowledge … an antidote to the poison continually flowing thro’ the channel of vulgar and licentious publications.’ A committee was established which issued a prospectus for the project early in 1795. The tracts sought to point out the pitfalls of drunkenness, debauchery, idleness, gambling, riotous assembly, and seeking to rise above one’s station, whilst simultaneously praising the virtues of honesty, industry, thrift, patience and an acceptance of one’s pre-ordained place in society. Others dealt with contemporary political issues such as the evils of slavery or corrupt electoral practices. They did so by means of ballads and short instructive tales published as chapbooks or broadside ballads, emulating traditional forms of Street literature. One in three were designated ‘Sunday Reading’ and contained simplified Bible stories or else a specifically religious message.

The scheme proved to be enormously successful. During the first six weeks (March 3-April 18, 1795) 300,000 copies were sold wholesale. This figure had more than doubled by July; and by March 1796 two million had been disposed of. They were not just a publishing phenomenon in Great Britain. Separate editions were printed in Dublin and copies were soon taken to America and reprinted there. Beilby Porteous, the Bishop of London, sent copies to the West Indies and to Sierra Leone, and hoped that missionaries would introduce them into Asia.

There are five series of the English tracts: the earliest examples were printed by Samuel Hazard of Bath between March and May 1795. By May 1795 he could no longer cope with the demand and was joined by John Marshall, an established London printer and publisher of Street literature. Between January 1796, and November 1797, Hazard was demoted to the role of distributor and Marshall took over as sole printer. However, following a dispute with Hannah More in November 1797, he was dismissed from his post and the printing contract given to his rival, John Evans. Marshall was unhappy with his treatment by More so during 1798 and 1799 he published a further seventy three titles of his own, which are similar in content and appearance to the official tracts and are often confused with them. Most of the titles went through several editions and there has been widespread confusion in the bibliographical record, with many editions remaining unlisted and numbers of ghost entries with the same edition being listed twice but under different formats.

From visits to libraries in the UK and North America, I have amassed a large number of digital photographs of title pages and other bibliographical details, which has proved to be the most effective way of identifying editions. I began reporting this information to the English Short-title Catalogue (ESTC) about two years ago, and John Lancaster, a volunteer editor of the ESTC database, has been working with me since then. We have discovered many new editions and variants to existing editions, and have removed a number of ghost entries, but we had no expectation of finding an entirely new title. This is because virtually all of the known titles also appear in one or more collected editions of the tracts published between 1796 and the 1830s. However, a visit to Lambeth Palace Library in March of this year identified the following.

The rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram; shewing the dreadful end of them and their party. Being a story calculated to instruct all persons belonging to the Societies of United Englishmen, or United Irishmen; and earnestly recommended to such as may be invited to join them, Sold by J. Evans, (Printer to the Cheap Repository for Moral and Religious Tracts,) No. 41 and 42, Long-Lane, West-Smithfield; and J. Hatchard, No. 173, Piccadilly, London. By S. Hazard, Bath. And by all booksellers, newsmen and hawkers, in town and country.

The work contains the usual series title ‘Cheap Repository’ on the title page, but does not appear in any of the collected editions, nor is it mentioned in the major published studies of the tracts. It does not appear on the Worldcat database, or the catalogues of the British Library, Bodleian, or Cambridge University. One copy only is listed on the UK COPAC database – the one I saw at Lambeth Palace Library. At the time of its discovery it did not appear on ESTC (but has now been added under the reference number N504854).

The tract is a retelling of the Biblical story of Korah and his brothers who rebelled against Moses and of their subsequent destruction; drawing parallels with the contemporary situation in Ireland and warning the populace of the dangers of insurrection. From the opening phrase – ‘At a time when rebellion has broken out in Ireland,’ the tract can be dated, quite accurately to the early summer of 1798, when there were fears that the continuing Revolution in France might give rise to a similar situation in the British isles. The date is confirmed by the names and addresses given in the imprint. There are no indications of authorship but Hannah More wrote more than half of the official tracts and remained associated with the scheme throughout 1798, although the title does not appear in her collected works. In common with other Cheap Repository Tracts the title page contains the statement ‘Entered at Stationers Hall’ but no trace of any entry has been found in the microfilm copies of the Stationers’ Register.

Exactly why this tract was not reprinted .with the other Cheap Repository Tracts and why only a single copy now appears to survive, is not clear. The virtual suppression of the Rebellion by mid-July of 1798, leading to the Act of Union in 1800 may have been a factor.