Rare Book of the Month: #Throwback

In this regular feature we re-post the rare book of the month articles that were originally published on the Middle Temple website. Below is the rare book which first appeared in July 2017.

Title page.

The July 2017 rare book of the monthis De primatu Petri et Apostolicae Sedis potestate libri tres … contra Centuriarum auctores (“Three Books on the Primacy of Peter and the Power of the Apostolic See … against the Authors of the Centuries”), by Onofrio Panvinio. This book, printed in Venice in 1591, aimed to counter the arguments of Protestants against papal primacy. Since the Reformation, Protestants had rejected the idea that the Roman pontiff had supreme episcopal jurisdiction as pastor and governor of the Universal Church.

The Italian church historian Onofrio Panvinio (1530-1568) was born in Verona. At the age of eleven he entered the Augustinian Order. He was sent to Naples and Rome to study theology. From his adolescence Panvinio, however, was captivated by history. At the age of nineteen he wrote a chronicle of the order; two years later he would transcribe the calendars of ancient Rome (the Fasti Capitolini), numerous fragments of which had been found in the Roman Forum. There followed research into the history of several noble Roman families, ancient Roman history, the history of the Popes and, from 1559 onward, the history of papal elections.

De primatu Petri was a digest of sources relating to the primacy of St Peter. It was originally to be dedicated to Pope Pius V in 1566. The manuscript remained stuck, however, with the ecclesiastical authorities. These were keen to ensure that special care was taken in approving a book of such high significance. Until his death in 1568, Panvinio was unable to get the manuscript back from Cardinal Marcantonio Colonna and was thus unable to send it to another Cardinal, Otto von Waldburg, who wanted to have it published. The commission charged in 1570-1572 with finding Catholic answers to the most influential Protestant church history (Ecclesiastica historia, known as the Magdeburg Centuries) may have considered publishing De primatu Petri, but, if so, the plan was aborted.

In De primatu Petri, Panvinio aimed to counter the arguments of the Centuriators of Magdeburg by collecting and ordering testimonies, starting from the Bible, which proved that the primacy was given to St Peter by Christ, that Peter exerted it during his lifetime (Bk I) and that all the succeeding popes used it as well (Bk II). Panvinio took pride in answering the Centuriators’ polemical and insulting language, and their mixture of truth and lies, with a factual and orderly presentation of testimonies from authors who wrote mainly before the time of Emperor Charlemagne (d. 814) (“conviciis et maledictis a quibus ego vehementer abhorreo”; preface to Bk I).

Bk I (the only one published) contained two chapters dealing with the arguments of the Magdeburg Centuries against the primacy and a very long chapter where he picked apart the entire treatise of Ulrich Velenus from 1520 (who claimed that Peter had never come to Rome), citing all of it and trying to refute it passage by passage (see M. Flacius et al., Ecclesiastica historia, 13 vols, Basel 1559-74, Centuria I, cols 524-30, “Argumenta contra primatum Petri”; U. Velenus, In hoc libello … probatur Apostolum Petrum Romam non venisse, s.l. ca. 1520).

Beginning of the second part of the work (pars secunda).

Popes Gregory XIII and Sixtus V in 1585 granted Paolo Panvinio (Onofrio’s brother) and Marco Antonio Lanfranchi the privilege to publish the work as soon as it had been examined by the Inquisition. It was held back by the Inquisitors for another four years and was finally printed in 1589. In the dedication of the first edition to Sixtus V, Cardinal Colonna (the head of the Congregation of the Index of Prohibited Books) did not mention the Inquisition at all: he simply stated that after Panvinio’s death his literary executioners had approached him because Panvinio, on his deathbed, had uttered the wish that this work should be published. The scholar and editor Latino Latini had made editorial revisions (checking, in particular, Panvinio’s references to church fathers), while some theologians including Cardinal Guglielmo Sirleto had been consulted to confirm that the book could indeed be published.

Panvinio’s De primatu Petri was reprinted in Venice in 1591 (which is the copy in the Middle Temple Library); in Rome in 1698, in Bibliotheca maxima pontificia, edited by J. T. de Rocaberti, and in Venice again in 1762, in Thesaurus theologicus, edited by F. A. Zaccaria.

On Panvinio see the biographical entry ‘Panvinio, Onofrio’, in Dizionario biografico degli italiani, lxxxi (Rome 2014), pp. 36-39, available online at http://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/onofrio-panvinio_(Dizionario-Biografico)/.  For a detailed summary of the contents of De primatu, see also J. L. Orella y Unzué, Respuestas católicas a las Centurias de Magdeburgo (1559-1588), Madrid 1976, pp. 284-95.

Stefan Bauer

Marie Curie Fellow

Lecturer in Early Modern History (from September 2017)

University of York


July 2017

Rare Book of the Month: #ThrowBack

In this regular feature we re-post the rare book of the month articles that were originally published on the Middle Temple website. Below is the rare book which first appeared in June 2017.

Title page of Warning to the dragon and all his angels, by Lady Eleanor Douglas (1590-1652), printed in London in 1625.

The June 2017 rare book of the month is Warning to the dragon and all his angels, by Lady Eleanor Douglas (1590-1652), printed in London in 1625. Douglas is also known as Lady Eleanor Davies (née Touchet) and Eleanor Audley. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography states that she “was to be fluid in the use of the names which birth and marriage gave her, deploying them in pamphlet and petition according to context and the identity she was presenting”.

Lady Eleanor was the fifth daughter of the eleventh Baron Audley (1550/1-1617, admitted Middle Temple 1573/4). She could read Latin and English, and most likely had a good understanding of the law as she administered her father’s estate after his death. She married Sir John Davies (admitted Middle Temple 1588, called to the Bar 1595, died 1626) in 1609. Despite the fact that Davies was much older than her, they had three children together. The family moved to London in 1619 after Sir John was relieved of his position as attorney-general for Ireland; by 1623 Lady Eleanor was living in Berkshire.

A warning to the dragon and all his angels, 1625, is the first of many pamphlets published by Douglas. Her prophetic visions were first inspired in the same year by a heavenly voice which declared “there is Ninteene yeares and a halfe to the day of Judgement and you as the meek Virgin”. Many of her prophecies were anagrams and she believed that a version of her name (Eleanor Audelie) was an anagram of ‘Reveale O Daniele’.

A warning presents “political developments in Europe as a fulfilment of the books of Daniel and Revelation”. Her pamphlets angered her husband to such an extent that he burned them all, leading Lady Eleanor to predict his death within three years’ time. Davies died in December 1626. She subsequently married Sir Archibald Douglas in 1627, but he also burned her prophecies, leading her to announce that he would be punished by God with a mental disorder. Douglas’s prophecies also angered some in the court of Charles I, but she was consulted by Queen Henrietta Maria on her first pregnancy.

In 1631, her brother, Mervin Touchet (1593-1631, admitted Middle Temple 1610/11), second Earl of Castlehaven was executed on charges of sodomy and abetting the rape of his wife; he was the “first peer to be tried for felony under Charles I”. Douglas and her family petitioned the king for mercy, but Charles I refused to investigate the Earl’s allegations of corruption on the part of his wife and son, who stood to gain an immense inheritance upon his death. Douglas published various tracts, starting in 1633, to exonerate her brother.

Lady Eleanor’s name printed backwards at the first page of text.

In 1633 she also travelled to Amsterdam with her husband, where she had more of her prophecies printed and smuggled back into England. Archbishop Laud had the tracts publicly burned after she presented him with a manuscript prophecy- a “warning of his judgment at hand”. She was subsequently arrested, fined and imprisoned. In 1635 she was arrested and committed to Bethlem Hospital (also known as Bedlam) for causing various disturbances in Lichfield Cathedral. She was transferred to the Tower of London in 1638 and was released from there in 1640.

Despite all of the calamities in her life, she published her prophecies up until the year of her death; the English Short Title Catalogue lists 74 titles in all (69 of which are unique titles, the others being reprints), but given the number of her works that were burned, it is highly likely that many more were published. Despite (or due to) her seemingly difficult personality, Douglas is notable for being “one of the first English women to see her works through the press”, although Cambridge University Press’s Orlando project notes that her works are “vehement, opinionated, and hard to read, for Douglas’s handling of words and syntax takes little account of rules or norms. Her theological and political beliefs are idiosyncratic and her imagery, steeped in that of bible prophecy, is sometimes impenetrable”.

Rare Book of the Month: #ThrowBack

In this new regular feature we re-post the rare book of the month features that were originally published on the Middle Temple website. Below is the rare book which was originally featured in May 2017.

The May 2017 rare book of the month is Discorso dell’essenza del fato, e delle forze sue sopra le cose del mondo, e particolarmente sopra l’operazioni de gl’huomini, by Baccio Baldini, printed in Florence in 1578.

Book open to show the inscription by Ubaldini and the signature of Bowyer

This slim folio book on fate and fatalism is interesting due to its provenance. On the blank leaf facing the title page we find an annotation: “Alla Prudentiss:a Virtuosiss:a et Feliciss:a Elisabetha Scr.ma Regina d’Inghilt.a Petruccio Ubaldino, in segno di vero desiderio della lunga felicita di sua Mta. 1586”. In other words, presented to Queen Elizabeth I in 1586 by Petruccio Ubaldino (Ubaldini).

Although Petruccio Ubaldini (flourished 1545-1599) was a citizen of Florence who was in Henry VIII’s army by 1545, on the Scottish borders. By 1550 he had translated into Italian Boece’s Scotorum historiæ. By 1562 Ubaldini was based in London performing various duties: teaching Italian, transcribing official letters and copying and illuminating texts. He had various financial difficulties, but by 1575 had managed to obtain “an annual state pension from the queen”. Throughout this time period, he presented the queen with various manuscripts, written and illuminated himself. By 1579 his finances and career had improved, and in 1581 he started receiving monies from the London printers John Wolfe and Richard Field for his collaborative work with them, including the printing of several of Machiavelli’s works. It should be noted that Wolfe also printed two of Robert Ashley’s translations, L’Uranie ou muse celeste and A comparison of the English and Spanish nation, both 1589. The Library holds four works written by Ubaldini and one translated by him.  

Another interesting piece of provenance is the ‘William Bowyer’ written on the title page. This is not, of course, the William Bowyer admitted to Middle Temple in 1553, as he died in 1569/70. It could refer to his eldest son, to whom Bowyer donated all of his “bokes escriptes writinges and monuments … as be of my own hande writing” (Dictionary of National Biography). While we do not have a death date for that William Bowyer, we know that he “died young”. Bowyer the elder’s younger son, Robert Bowyer, was keeper of the records in the Tower of London, and inherited his father’s historical and heraldic manuscripts. Presumably his brother pre-deceased him, and thus it is possible the books passed to Robert, or were sold off; Robert died in 1621.

But how did the book come to reside in Middle Temple Library if it was at one point in the possession of Queen Elizabeth I? We unfortunately simply do not know but, as with most of the rare book collection, it most likely was part of the 1641 Robert Ashley bequest. Although it could have been donated at one point by the Bowyer family to the Inn, we do not have any evidence of this. The book is listed in the first printed catalogue of 1700.

The full text version of the book can be viewed at: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=WstiAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA1#v=onepage&q&f=false.

Renae Satterley


May 2017

Rare Book of the Month: December 2019

The final rare book of the month for 2019 is Minutes of evidence taken on the second reading of the bill intituled An act to deprive Her Majesty Caroline Amelia Elizabeth of the title, prerogatives, rights, privileges, and exemptions of queen consort of this realm, and to dissolve the marriage between His Majesty and the said Caroline Amelia Elizabeth.

Spine title showing the title of the work and presumed date of publication

This is a two volume work bound into one volume, presumably published in London in 1820/1821. ‘Presumably’ because the volume is locked, and the key has never been found in the library’s substantial collection of keys (as shown here)!

Box of keys

These minutes of evidence concern the ‘Queen Caroline Affair’, i.e. Caroline Amelia Elizabeth of Brunswick. They contain accounts from Italian and British witnesses taken in the House of Lords between August and October 1820 regarding Caroline, who was accused of having an affair with Bartolomeo Bergami (or Pergami) amongst others. Caroline married her cousin George, Prince of Wales (later George IV) in 1795 but they separated soon afterwards and she set off travelling, mostly around the Mediterranean. During her travels rumours of infidelity circulated wildly, and Bergami (a supposed Baron) was singled out as one of her supposed lovers. She returned to England in 1820 when George III died and his son was set to succeed him to the throne.

George IV was not happy with her return, and forced the Cabinet to prepare a bill “of pains and penalties” which would relieve Caroline of her titles and end their marriage. There was a public uproar in Caroline’s favour, as the king was viewed as dissolute and involved in numerous extramarital affairs. She also had strong media support from the Times and other newspapers, from some of the most well-known caricaturists of the 19th century (including George Cruikshank) and from MPs in the House of Commons. The queen was represented by Henry Brougham and Thomas Denman (both members of Lincoln’s Inn) during the proceedings on the bill of pains and penalties in the House of Lords. Many people believed that the unreliable witnesses testifying against the queen had been intimidated and bribed to lie. The bill had three readings in the House of Lords before the Prime Minister (Lord Liverpool) announced that it was to be abandoned, having recognised that it would never pass through the House of Commons. Despite not being acquitted of the charges against her, given the overwhelming public vote in her favour and disapproval with the king, no further action was taken. However her popularity did not last long and she was denied entry to the king’s coronation in 1821. She died approximately a month after.

There are no clues with the book to indicate why it was locked, but presumably it had something to do with the “lurid evidence” that was presented during the proceedings, in particular those details regarding Caroline’s behaviour while living abroad. This set may well be inter-leaved with additional evidence. The full trial account (The trial at large of Her Majesty Caroline) can be read online.

Rare Book of the Month: June 2019

The June 2019 rare book of the month is Girolamo Mercurio’s  La commare oriccoglitrice,  printed in Venice in 1601.

Girolamo Mercurio has been described as a somewhat eccentric figure: he described himself as an independent person who operated on his own terms. His given name at birth was Scipione. He studied medicine in Bologna and Padua and was a student of Giulio Cesare Aranzio, who was trained by Vesalius,. He practised medicine for a short period in Milan, but in the 1590s went on a long journey through Italy and Europe, eventually coming to practice medicine in the south of France for a period of time. He eventually returned to Italy, dying in Venice circa 1615.

Caesarian section, 17th century artwork
An anxious woman about to undergo a Caesarean section. She is being restrained for the operation, as there was no anesthesia in the 16th century.

Originally published in Venice in 1596, according to James Vincent Ricci, this work contains the “first reference to a contracted long pelvis and the necessity for caesarean.” It remained, until the 18th century, one of the few obstetrical works in a vernacular language. The 1601 copy discussed here is the revised second edition.

The book is divided into three sections which discuss a woman’s pregnancy and the health care required for her and her newborn baby; abnormal presentations during pregnancy; and complications that can be experienced during and after pregnancy by the mother and baby. The book is heavily illustrated with woodcuts depicting various positions of how the foetus presents in the womb, and of women giving birth in different positions. Some of the latter depict some very odd suggestions for birthing positions, such as showing a woman bent completely backwards, with their head and shoulders supported on a cushion on the floor! The somewhat blasé depiction of anatomy, with a woman happily displaying her dissected abdomen, as displayed here is typical of late sixteenth and early seventeenth century medical illustrations.

Woman's abdomen, 17th century artwork
 A somewhat fanciful depiction of a woman’s dissected abdomen. The intestines have been removed in order to show the other internal organs.

The book is notable for having one of the earliest depictions of a Caesarean section delivery. In 1578 Mercurio assisted his professor Aranzio with a Caesarean delivery, but unfortunately the mother died in childbirth; he does not indicate if the baby survived however. Mercurio was an early advocate for Caesarean sections at a time when the church and fellow practitioners such as Ambroise Paré argued against it. The Library has one other book on Caesarean sections, Francois Rousset’s Foetus vivi ex matre viva sine alterutrius vitae periculo caesura, printed in Basel in 1591, and seven other books on obstetrics, ranging in publication date from 1490 to 1632.


Renae Satterley


June 2019

Rare Book of the Month: #Throwback

In this new regular feature we re-post the rare book of the month features that were originally published on the Middle Temple website. Below is the rare book which was originally featured in July 2016.

Title page-flip-min.jpg
Title page and inside front board showing 1734 shelfmark

The July rare book of the month is Claude Clement’s Musei, siue bibliothecae tam privatae, quàm publicae extructio, instructio, cura, usus, printed in Lyon in 1635. This is a work about libraries and librarianship, using the library at El Escorial in Spain as an example of an ideal library. El Escorial is a vast complex comprised of historically significant architecture from the Spanish Renaissance period. It was originally built as a monastery, royal palace and royal mausoleum near Madrid. The monastery was built to commemorate King Philip II’s 1557 defeat of the French army of Duke Anne de Montmorency. The building was originally known as San Lorenzo el Real and took twenty-one years to build (1563-1584). It contains one of the greatest libraries in the world, which was completed in 1592 (although books and manuscripts first arrived there in 1575) as well as frescoes by Pellegrino Tibaldi and Federico Zuccaro. Later frescoes were painted by El Greco, Luca Giordano and Claudio Coello. The library tables were designed to allow users to consult a variety of works, not just books, and thus were of a larger size than normally found in libraries of the time.

Robert Ashley (1565-1641), the founder of Middle Temple library, visited the Escorial library in 1618 and described it as “a glorious golden librarie of Arabian bookes”. Ashley mentions the library again in the preface to his translation of Almansor the learned (1627) where he describes the work as part of “an Arabian historie concerning the losse of Spaine by Roderigo king of the Gothes, which … was translated into Spanish out of the Arabian copie remayning in the Escurial”.

Marginal numbering in Robert Ashley’s hand

The book was written by Claude Clement, a French Jesuit priest who was interested in the organisation of libraries, in particular the Escorial library. Clement taught Greek and Latin at the imperial college in Madrid and is often referred to as Claudio Clemente. The title page consists of an engraved illustration, which is a fairly common feature of 17th century books. The illustration incorporates portraits of Philip II and Philip IV and elements of Greek mythology. The work outlines how portraits, statutes, inscriptions and emblems in a library can be used to inspire and instruct those using the collections. According to “Erin M. Grant “Clement’s [programme] of author portraits was intended to help users locate books in the library’s collection by placing images of authors next to their works on the shelves”. It discusses the importance of including coins, globes, maps, musical and scientific instruments, in addition to books in a library’s collections. The work highlights the importance of classification techniques, librarianship, and how to best organise and decorate a library to inspire learning. Clement’s classification system was “based on the Escorial’s arrangement of books devised by Benito Arias Montano, divided literature into twenty-four major disciplines” (Grant). It also discusses the place of ‘useless’ and forbidden books in a library, such as those on magic, heretical works, and plagiarised works. Lastly, Clement gives guidance on the care and handling of books.

Front of the binding showing the holes left when it was a chained library

The copy at Middle Temple is in its 18th century binding, which shows evidence of once having been chained (the library was chained during the 18th century). It also shows its 1734 classmark- ‘B side 1 Seat Letter D Number 18’ and a later 19th century one- ‘t.b.1’. The first library catalogues consisted of hand-written manuscript ledgers. The first printed catalogue, Bibliotheca illustris Medii Templi Societatis was commissioned privately by Bartholomew Shower in 1700. Our copy was donated to the library in 1834 by Robert Maitland. The first printed catalogued commissioned by the Inn was not printed until 1734, entitled Catalogus librorum bibliothecae Honorabilis Societatis Medii Templi, Londoni. These are the earliest printed library catalogues at the Inns of Court.

Although the book is in relatively sound condition, it does require some conservation work, at a cost of £200.00 If you would be interested in sponsoring Musei, siue bibliothecae tam privatae, quàm publicae extructio, instructio, cura, usus, contact the library at: library@middletemple.org.uk, 020 7427 4830. We will send you before-and-after photos of the conservation work and will place a bookplate commemorating your donation in the book.

Renae Satterley

Librarian, July 2016

Rare Book of the Month: April 2019

The April 2019 rare book of the month is Cyfreithjeu Hywel Dda ac Eraill, printed in London, 1730.

title page reduced

The Laws of Hywel (Cyfreithjeu Hywel Dda ac Eraill) are a c. 940 codification of laws by the Welsh king Hywel Dda (Hywel the good or well).  Hywel Dda was king of Deheubarth and eventually most of Wales. His codification of laws would come to represent foundational laws across Wales for six hundred years until the union with England. The surviving early versions are predominantly printed in Welsh. However, some are printed in Latin or side-by-side translation of Welsh and Latin. Of the copies still extant, their sources are presumed to be from surviving versions of the laws dated to the twelfth to thirteenth century. In the surviving versions of the Laws there is a general common organization. However, there is still much variety in the form and content between versions. The extant versions are categorised as: Cyfnerth, Iorwerth, Blegywryd, and Latin A,B,C,D and E. The chronology between and within the Latin and Welsh versions are not certain. It is believed that Latin A to E could be either precursors or descendants of the Welsh texts. While they are comprised differently, it is believed that all of them share a common tradition in their origin. Of these sections the Cyfraith y Gwragedd (Law of Women) is unique among contemporary laws of the period and throughout much of history.

The Law of Women recognised ‘the rights of women and children’ and, while not seeing women as equals, the laws gave women some protections, freedoms, and responsibilities in their own right. The Laws saw each person within society to have roles, rights and freedoms of differing degrees. Among the various laws concerning women, the mentioning of the position of the Queen is an excellent example for the laws uniqueness. Among other contemporary, and later, codes found within Germany, England, or Ireland, no mention of the position is found. The Laws of Hywel Dda and specifically The Law of Women, were influential in the earliest codification of regional Swedish law: the Law of Västergötland. Some of the most unique legal statutes concerning the position of women are found in the extensive section on repayments, rights, and payments concerning chastity, marriage, and property.

title page 2 reduced

The Law of Women codified the rights of women in a variety of areas concerning marriage and in property.  Under this codification, marriage was seen strictly as a secular matter, a civil contract, which was of no concern legally to ecclesiastical powers. Unlike Anglo-Saxon law, this contract could be undone by either the man or the woman. This could also be followed by transfers of money or possessions: aweddi, being a woman’s separation payment to the man unless the union had lasted less than seven years. Or the argyfrau which was a sum of money which could be returned to the woman upon separation. Separation could be done for a variety of reasons including, not providing an heir, on the third incident of a husband being unfaithful, or simply on mutual agreement. As well, if the wife was pregnant at the time of separation the husband was required to provide financial support to the upkeep of the child. This was given at two-thirds the cost up to the age of 14. Law of Women also had requirements relating to the term Diweirdeb (chastity/purity from unlawful sexual intercourse). This was a payment made by the husband to the wife for the preservation of virginity. In association with diwerideb were dilystod or dilysrwydd, which were in effect payments to the woman by the man responsible for the unlawful loss of virginity. With regards to property, women could also inherit and hold property, once they had attained majority, and could live where they chose. Stipulations did remain, as land ownership could only be by tir gwelyauc (clan or group). The Laws of Hywel Dda were extensive in laying out a legal place for women within the law which was unique in its time. The above are just samples of the laws concerning women.

The Law of Women within the Laws of Hywel Dda or Cyfraith Hywel continued to function within Wales to varying degrees for six hundred years. It was under Edward II and later Henry VII, under the Laws in Wales Acts of 1535 and 1542, that saw Wales become completely subject to English laws. However, one thousand years later ‘the Welsh Government contuine[s] to look to the laws of Hywel Dda … as they pursue recognition for the role of women.’

Rare Book of the Month: #Throwback

In this new regular feature we re-post the rare book of the month features that were originally published on the Middle Temple website.

The June 2016 rare book of the month is a work that shows evidence of ownership by the founder of the library, Robert Ashley (1565-1641). It is Florián de Ocampo’s Los çinco libros primeros dela cronica general de España, printed in 1553 in Medina del Campo. Medina del Campo is best known for the 1489 treaty named after it, which outlined the marriage details between Catherine of Aragon and Prince Arthur, as well outlining a reduction of tariffs between Spain and England. Due to its insistence on an anti-French alliance between England and Spain however, amendments made to it by Henry VII in 1490 were rejected by Spain and the treaty was never fully ratified by the two countries.

Title page to Los çinco libros primeros dela cronica general de España, showing the two inscriptions

Close-up of the legible inscription

Ocampo (also known as Florián do Campo) was born circa 1495 and died in 1558. He is described in the Oxford Dictionary of the Renaissance as a “Spanish chronicler” and he was in fact the “first official royal historian” of Emperor Charles V. The title page features a large woodcut coat-of-arms which has been hand-coloured in this copy. The text has been printed in red and black. The book is a historical chronicle of Spain and was first published in 1543, with this 1553 edition being a continuation and enlargement of that first work. According to the Dictionary, it “attempts to trace the Habsburg dynasty to its roots in the ancient world through a compilation of the medieval chronicles of Castile”. The work was originally intended to cover from prehistory to the 16th century. As Ocampo died in 1558, however, the work was continued by Ambrosio de Morales and others; this 1553 edition is the final one completed by Ocampo. The last ‘volume’ was issued in 1601, written by Juan de Mariana, and entitled Historia general de España.

Robert Ashley’s cross-reference in Ocampo, to Mendoza’s work

The title page has two inscriptions- showing signs of previous ownership. One of the signatures is partially legible, despite a later hand trying to scratch it out- ‘Frey Garcia de Feibrez’. The other inscription has become too damaged to read. A third ownership sign- that of Robert Ashley, appears on the verso of folio lxxviii. It makes reference to two other works which mention ‘Guadelqueuir’ (i.e. Guadalquivir, a river in Iberia), one by Ambrosio de Morales and a work entitled Historia del Monte Celia de Nuestra Senora de la Salceda, by Pedro Gonzalez de Mendoza, printed in Grenada in 1616. In the copy of the Mendoza book held by the library, Ashley has cross-referenced back to this entry in Ocampo’s work. This highlights how Ashley was using the books in his library- reading and referencing works of interest and highlighting additional information to be found in them on certain topics. As is common throughout the non-English books owned by Ashley, he has written his notes in the original language of the book, in this case Spanish.

Robert Ashley’s cross-reference in the 1616 work by Pedro Gonzalez de Mendoza

In addition to his legal work, Ashley translated six books during his lifetime:

Guillaume de Salluste Du Bartas, L’Uranie ou muse celeste, 1589- translated from the French into Latin

A comparison of the English and Spanish nation, 1589- translated from the French into English

Louis Leroy, Of the interchangeable course, or variety of things in the whole world, 1594- translated from the French into English

Miguel de Luna, Almansor the learned, 1627- translated from the Spanish into English

Cristoforo Borri, Cochin-China, 1633- translated from the Italian into English

Virgilio Malvezzi, David persecuted– translated from the Italian into English

Rare Book of the Month: #Throwback

In this new regular feature we re-post the rare book of the month features that were originally published on the Middle Temple website.

For May we are, in essence, featuring two books of the month: Gabriel Powel’s De adiaphoris theses theologicæ ac scholasticæ, printed in London by Robert Barker in 1606, and a manuscript leaf from the Tables of Toulouse, dated to the 15th century.

Powel’s book is a work on adiaphora, or religious indifferentism. Robert Barker was a successful printer in London who co-printed the second edition of Richard Hakluyt’s Principal Navigations in 1598-1600 and as king’s printer, the King James Bible in 1611. Powel (or Powell) was a Calvinist and chaplain to the bishop of London, Richard Vaughan. He was baptised in 1576, the son of David Powel (1549-1598) and died in 1611. In this work he examines the idea that “monarchs might enjoy direct authority over Church discipline” and was “an answer to William Bradshaw’s puritan analysis of adiaphora”. Powel wrote over twenty theological works, many of which were anti-papal and anti-Puritan polemics; he considered Catholicism an “idolatrous and even heathenish religion” and Puritans as “factious brethren”. The library has one other work by Powel, A consideration of the Papists reasons of state and religion, for toleration of poperie in England, printed in Oxford in 1604.

The book was most likely part of Robert Ashley’s bequest of 1641, but there is no direct evidence of his ownership present in the book- no underlining, marginalia or marks of numbering. Ashley was interested in questions of religion, and owned a large number of works on Calvinism, Catholicism, Islam, Judaism and Protestantism, many of which would have been considered controversial and/or seditious works during the late 16th, early 17th century.

What makes this work particularly interesting is the fact that it is bound in a parchment manuscript leaf. It was common practice during this time to bind a book in a manuscript ‘scrap’- binders and printers commonly tore up old manuscripts to use in their bindings. Fragments of illuminated manuscripts are commonly found in the spines, end-leaves and press-board bindings of early modern books.

Dr. Bernard R. Goldstein, University Professor Emeritus of the University of Pittsburgh, via the Royal Astronomical Society Librarian, very kindly identified the fragment as a leaf “from the Tables of Toulouse for caput draconis, the head of the dragon, i.e., the lunar ascending node. Line 1 is the radix 2s 26;24,32° or 86 degrees 24 minutes and 32 seconds: this is the position in longitude (measured along the ecliptic) for the epoch, March 1, 1 AD. The succeeding entries represent the motion of the lunar ascending node in ‘collected years’ at 24-year intervals. The final column displays the motion of the lunar ascending node in years from 1 to 24. This table was described and transcribed by E. Poulle, “Un témoin de l’astronomie latine du XIIIe siècle, Les tables de Toulouse,” in Comprendre et maîtriser la nature au moyen âge: Mélanges d’histoire des sciences offerts à Guy Beaujouan (Geneva, 1994).”

The Tables of Toulouse were astronomical tables used to calculate eclipses and motions of the planets, based on the theories of Ptolemy, which placed the earth at the centre of the universe. These tabular calculations were superseded by the mid-16th century, when it became acknowledged that the earth in fact revolved around the sun. Such astronomical tables were calculated for various European cities during the 12th and 13th centuries, most notably Toledo, which were used as the basis to calculate tables for other cities such as Pisa, London and, in this case, Toulouse. The Tables of Toulouse were known to have been used by Parisian astronomers as well, most likely due to the “proximity of the meridians of Toulouse and Paris”. The work has been digitised and is available here.

Rare Book of the Month: #ThrowBack

In this new regular feature we re-post the rare book of the month features that were originally published on the Middle Temple website.

Knightley D’Anvers, A general abridgment of the common and most useful parts of the statute law, 1705

The rare book of the month for April 2016 is something of a bibliographical mystery. Although D’Anvers’s two volume A general abridgment of the common law (1705-1713) is a well-known work, until recently this ‘variant’ was not recorded in the English Short Title Catalogue, which lists all known English works published between 1483 and 1800. John D. Cowley does mention it in his A bibliography of abridgments, digests, dictionaries and indexes of English law (Selden Society, 1932), and thus it’s unclear why it remained unreported for so long.

Knightley D’Anvers originally joined Middle Temple in 1691 but later jointed Inner Temple and was admitted there on 16 May 1696. He was married to Alice D’Anvers (nee Clarke), who wrote three works of poetry in the 18th century and is described in the Dictionary of National Biography as “an astute commentator on political and university life in the reign of William and Mary”. Knightley D’Anvers was Deputy Recorder of Northampton.

D’Anvers’s Abridgment is in fact a translation of Henry Rolle’s Un abridgment des plusieurs cases et resolutions del common ley, 1668. The work is divided into two volumes, originally printed in 1705 and 1713; a second edition was printed in 1722-1725.* A supplement to volume two was printed in 1727, with a later supplement, leading the work up to ‘extinguishment’, being printed in 1737. Although the work was dedicated to Lord Chief Justice John Holt (1642-1710), he refused to sign the imprimatur (the official declaration to allow publication of a work). Lord Holt must have had a change of heart at some point, as he later complimented D’Anvers from the “Bench and left him an annuity of £20”, as recounted by Charles Viner in his Abridgment (xviii, preface).

The English Short Title Catalogue does have a secondary reference to our book of the month, which is an advertisement in the ‘Term Catalogue’ entitled Proposals for printing of A general abridgement of the common and most useful part of the statute law of England (ESTC T142512). The Term Catalogue was a series of book lists issued by London booksellers from 1668 to 1709, during the law terms. D’Anvers’s project suffered from lack of funding, subscribers and patronage, which could explain why it was only completed until ‘extinguishment’.

Title page
The title page does not give the author’s name and was printed by Richard and Edward Atkins

The lack of funding could also explain why our book of the month has a title page which varies from the work as we now know it. As shown in the image above, the title page does not give the author’s name and was printed by Richard and Edward Atkins. The work cost thirteen shillings (roughly £96 in today’s money) per book ‘in sheets’, which refers to the fact, as was common at the time, to sell the book without a binding- the purchaser paid separately to have the book bound. It also differs from the more well-known 1705-1713 edition in that it does not have a dedication to Lord Holt, the preface, ‘To the Reader’ is very slightly different, and it does not have a list of subscribers. In addition, this edition is printed in gatherings of four, whereas the 1705-1713 edition is in gatherings of two, and it was printed by John Walthoe, whose shop was located in Vine-Court in Middle Temple. Walthoe includes some self-promotion in the book- a list of ‘Books lately printed’ and ‘Law books printed’, respectively placed after the ‘Table of several titles’ and page 810, just before the ‘Table of cases’. A copy of volume one of the 1705-1713 edition can be viewed on Google Books.

Our copy of the 1705 edition was donated to the Inn on 26 January 1926 by The Honourable Stephen Ogle Henn Collins, who in turn inherited it from his father, Richard Henn Collins (Baron Collins). This is shown by the two separate signatures on the title page. In addition to being a Bencher, Treasurer of the Inn, KC and Judge of the High Court, S.O. Henn Collins was granted a patent in 1912 for the ‘Means for indicating the striking force of golf-clubs or similar instruments’ Master Collins donated at least eleven books to the Inn.

*Cowley states in his bibliography that the second edition should be dated to 1732, but ESTC and other sources reference it as 1722-1725.