THE BRITWELL COURT COPY

Briefe, easie and necessary tables, for the valuation of leases, annuities, and purchases, either in present, or in reuersion.

London : Printed by G. Eld, and M. Flesher, and are to be sold by Leonard Becket, 1622.

£5,500

FIRST EDITION thus. 8vo. pp. [x], 84 [i.e. 78]. Roman and Italic letter, some Black letter. White on black and floriated initials, woodcut tables, faint stamp of the Rothhamstead experimental station on pastedown. Light age yellowing, small stain in lower blank margin of B4, rare marginal marks. A very good copy, crisp and clean in C19th limp vellum by Riviere, covers gilt stamped with arms of William Henry Miller of Britwell Court within oval border with his monogram, title gilt in long on spine, a.e.g.

A very good copy of this very rare work on surveying by the English surveyor and mathematician Thomas Clay; the first edition of the ‘chorologicall discourse’ appeared in 1618 and this edition is the first with the addition of the ‘Briefe, easie and necessary tables.’ “The 1622 edition contains four tables: .. the present value of an annuity of £1 and the present value of a single payment of £1, both evaluated at the statutory maximum interest rate of 10% per annum for up to 40 years. Two tables are devoted to finding the present value of deferred annuities or reversions, on at 10% rate of interest and the other in terms of years’ purchase. these tables could be used to calculate renewal fines either in leases for lives (or 21 years) or in other common fixed-term leases. … The chronological discourse part of the book is a description of the roles and duties of various personnel involved with estate management such as surveyors, stewards and solicitors.” David R. Bellhouse ‘Leases for Lives: Life Contingent Contracts and the Emergence of Actuarial’

“A range of social and economic pressures drove a push for survey work in England in the 16th and 17th centuries, the surveyors often found the tenants of the estates unenthused by the endeavour. 16th century surveyor Clay Thomas inadvertently provides some accounts for the resistance surveyors found when going about their work. In his 1622 overview of the work of the surveyor, Thomas describes some of the qualifications for the job of surveyor, including skill ‘in all the part of Suruey, viz the Mathematical, Legall, and Iudiciall’. Indeed, the surveyors work, Thomas explains, includes much in the way of legal and judicial work, determining rents due and other touchy topics pertaining to the monetary relationships between tenants and landowners. Thomas explains that the job includes ‘to let, hinder, or avoyde encroachments that might be made betweene Lord and Lord, Lord and Tenant, or Tenant and Tenant or being formally made, to lay open and difcouer the same: as alfo in times to come to decide controverfies that may happen in this and divers other cases’. In a revelatory note, Thomas asserts the importance of the surveyors mathematical knowledge, ‘whereby he may be able as well to find the errors which hee may commit in platting of grounds, or casting up the contents, and amend the same, as also to proove the truth of his worke, and give a reason thereof’. The surveyor’s work is, even in this hortatory account, deeply contentious.” Christine Barrett ‘Early Modern English Literature and the Poetics of Cartographic Anxiety.’

From the library of the wealthy parliamentarian William Henry Miller at Britwell Court. “Miller was a renowned bibliophile, whose unrivalled collection of early English poetry included some of the rarest works acquired from the library of Richard Heber. An eccentric figure, he was known at book sales as ‘Measure Miller’, from his habit of carrying around a foot rule ‘in order to ascertain whether a so-called fine tall copy’ had ‘the ‘legitimate number of inches’. He died a bachelor at Craigentinny House in October 1848. By his will, dated 30 Dec. 1847, he left entrusted property in England and Scotland estimated to be worth £300,000, including his library at Britwell Court, to his cousin Sarah Marsh, with whom he resided. (From her it passed to Miller Christy’s grandson Samuel Christy (1810-89), Liberal-Conservative Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme, 1847-59, who took the name and arms of Miller in 1862.).” The History of Parliament. 

Exceptionally rare; ESTC locates four copies only, including this one, one only in the US, at Columbia University. 

ESTC S114679. STC 5372. 

L2974
Print This Item Print This Item