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WTIH A CATALOGUE OF THE MONASTIC LIBRARY

GUNTON, Simon (1609–1676)

The history of the Church of Peterburgh : wherein the most remarkable things concerning that place, from the first foundation thereof: with other passages of history, not unworthy publick view, are represented. By Symon Gunton, late prebendary of that church. Illustrated with sculptures. And set forth by Symon Patrick, D.D. now Dean of the same

London: printed for Richard Chiswell, at the Rose and Crown in S. Paul’s Church-Yard, 1686
Folio: [A]⁴ B–2U⁴ 2X6, 178 leaves, pp. [8] 348. Woodcut initials and decorations, an engraving printed in the text on p. 243 and a woodcut on p. 280.
4 plates, the first and last engraved and unsigned, the other two etched and signed ‘Daniell King sculp:’ numbered 22 and 23 (plates bound together after the prelims).
Condition: 361 x 230mm. A good fresh copy.
Binding: Contemporary acid mottled calf, gilt spine with orange lettering piece, blind and gilt ruled sides, red page edges. Spine worn, joints cracked and cords weak but holding, head and tail of spine chipped.
Provenance: ‘Le Capitaine Bernard’, contemporary or early inscription on title, an annotation drawing attention to the text about ‘The Account of the Beheading of Mary Q. of Scots at Fotheringay Castle and her Burrial in the Church at Peterborough’ on p. 73 in the same hand, and underlining in the same passage. Modern booklable of Clive Leslie George who has tentatively identified Le Capitain Bernard as the owner of Thorpe Hall, Longthorpe in a pencil note on the titlepage; armorial bookplate (eighteenth-century?) on verso of title with name erased.
First edition, large paper copy.
Bibliography: ESTC R5107; Wing G2246.
£480

The standard antiquarian history of Peterborough Cathedral, of particular interest for the transcript of the library catalogue. Dunton introduces this saying ‘I shall here present an Ancient Catalogue of a Library in this Monastery, which, having no Date annexed to it, must be left to conjecture when it might be taken. The Marginal Illustrations [i.e. notes] I have taken out of Bellarmine, Pitsu, Trithemius, and affixed them thereunto.’ The catalogue, which occupies 50 pages, is headed ‘Matricularium Librariae Monasterii Burgi Sancti Petri pauci libris non examinatis.’ There are 348 volumes (shelf marks (A–Z, A2–Z2 ... A15–Z15, A16–C16) each containining up to half a dozen or more titles so there must be about 2000 titles. Gunton’s marginal notes are in English and give biographical information about authors as well as occasional bibliographical details of later printed editions. Its a fascinating list, discussed in detail by M. R. James who calls it ‘a thoughly abnormal catalogue’ in his work on the reconstruction of the library.
The fine etchings by Hollar’s pupil Daniel King (c. 1610–1664) were originally published in William Dugdale’s Monasticon Anglicanum (London: Richard Hodgkinson, 1655); the other engravings are I think original to the present work.
Literature: M. R. James, Lists of Manuscripts Formerly in the Peterborough Abbey Library (Cambridge 1929, reprinted 2010).
Keywords:     library history