CHAUNCY, Maurice.


CHAUNCY, Maurice. Innocentia et constantia victrix. 

[Würzburg?], [s.n.], 1608.


FIRST EDITION. 12mo pp. [24], 111, [1], retaining cancel A1. Roman letter, little Italic. Title within elegant engraved border with grotesques, tendrils and 4 roundels depicting torture, execution and imprisonment of English Carthusians, large engraved arms of Maximilian, Archduke of Austria, to *8 verso, full-page engraving of the Irish Carthusian William Tynzbi being assailed by demons, decorated initials and ornaments. Upper edge trimmed short, affecting running title to handful of ll., title very slightly dusty, slight toning, tiny foxing to a few fore-edges. A very good, clean copy in C19 English polished calf, marbled eps, single gilt ruled, spine gilt, gilt-lettered morocco label, outer edges gilt, a.e.r.

A very good, clean copy of the first edition of this most interesting work on the hardships of Carthusians in Protestant England, edited and much rewritten by Simon Weisser. Maurice Chauncy (1509-81) was himself an English Carthusian. Having been spared martyrdom, unlike other monks from the London Charterhouse, by accepting the Oath of Supremacy after the Anglican Schism, he fled to a monastery in Bruges. His guilt for this weakness urged him to write (a few of his works were first published only in the 1600s), including ‘Innocentia’, on the lives, customs and holy deaths (in 1535) of 18 Carthusian martyrs he knew, under Henry VIII. Dedicated to Maximilian, Archduke of Austria, ‘Innocentia’ is graced by a gory engraved title border representing the tortures, imprisonments and executions at Tyburn of the English martyrs. The 15 chapters are concerned with the history and organisation of the Carthusian order, the life of the Carthusians in London (as witnessed by Chauncy), their observance and discipline, the prodigies which happened before martyrdom, the Anglican schism and its consequences in London, as well as the deceptions, patience and visions surrounding their martyrdom. The handsome engraved copperplate shows the Irish Carthusian William Tynzbi, renowned for his visions of heaven and hell, surrounded by demons in the shape of monsters.  

USTC 2092928; Allison & Rogers, English Counter-Reformation, I, 238; Shaaber C240. Not in BM STC Ger. C17 or Graesse.
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