WHITE, Richard.


Historiarum Britanniae Insulae.

[Douai], apud Carolum Boscardum, 1598-1607.


FIRST EDITIONS of Books 6-11. Small 8vo. 11 books in 3 vols, I: pp. (xvi) 3-469 (iii); II: pp. (viii) 123 (iii), (viii) 96, (iv) 108, (viii) 174 (ii); III: pp. (viii) 142 (ii), (viii) 110 (ii). Roman letter, little Italic, occasional Greek. Woodcut printer’s device to couple of t-ps, author’s engraved portrait to verso of vol. 1 t-p, author’s large engraved arms to α7 verso, woodcut initials and ornaments. First t-p a little dusty, verso of last leaf of vol. 1 slightly browned at margins, preliminaries α8 of vol. 1 (cancels of second ed.) and a4 of Part IX slightly short at foot, couple of outer edges shaved, tiny worm trail to last two text ll. of vol. 3. Fine, clean copies in polished calf c.1700, single gilt ruled, outer edges gilt, raised bands, spine gilt-lettered, gilt Golden Fleece device of Longepierre or Martin Folkes in compartments, a.e.r., silk bookmarks, minor loss at head of spine and upper joint of vol. 1. Bookplate of James Elwin Millard to front pastedowns staining some eps, ms. ‘Stamford July 27th 1695’ (Thomas Grey, 2nd Earl?) to first t-p, ms. casemark to ffep of vols 2-3, occasional C17 annotations.

Finely bound, complete set of this account of ancient British history. ‘One of the rarest books in the whole class of English history when containing the whole Eleven Books’ (Heber catalogue, p.294). ‘The work is very seldom found complete, most of the copies wanting the latter parts, especially parts X and XI, which are extremely scarce’ (Lowndes). Books X and XI are ‘very difficult to find; a complete set is paid very dearly in England’ (Brunet). Indeed.

Richard White of Basingstoke (1539-1611) studied at Oxford, Louvain and Padua, where he became doctor ‘in utroque’. After converting to Catholicism, he fled to Douai, where he was university professor, and later rector and ‘comes palatinus’. ‘Historiarum Britanniae’, his greatest work, traces the origins of Britain from its mythical foundation by the Trojan Brutus to the last ancient Briton/Welsh king, Cadwallader, and the early Anglo-Saxon rulers. Following mainly the traditional account of Geoffrey of Monmouth, based in turn on ancient Welsh bardic songs, it reports, with White’s commentary, the deeds of ancient Briton kings, including Lear and Arthur. An original point is his identification of Arthur with Riothimius, the ‘king of the Britons’ who reached Gaul in 468AD, according to Jordanes’s ‘Historia Getica’. White engaged with the historiographic debate, of great political importance in Tudor England, on the so-called ‘British History’, started by Polydore Vergil’s criticism of Geoffrey’s narrative in the 1530s. This opposed the legendary medieval national history, the basis of Tudor mythography and much cherished by Protestant Patriots, against the developing antiquarian method, keener on philology and historical evidence. More generally, the work is White’s attempt ‘to reclaim “the British History” for the Catholic tradition, while at the same time being an expression of its exiled author’s sense of himself as a patriotic Englishman’ (MacColl, ‘Richard White’, 245).

Books 1-5 were issued in one vol. and a single t-p in Arras (Atrebatum) in 1597. In this copy, as in at least another seven, the original t-p (A1) of vol. 1 was cancelled with a new t-p dated Douai, 1602, and preliminaries.

The charming golden fleece device gilt to the spines achieved bibliographical fame being used by the great French collector and playwright, Hilaire Bernard de Requeleyne, Baron de Longepierre (1679-1721). In the same year an English collector also employed the same device—Martin Folkes (1690-1754), a mathematician, antiquary and astronomer, and a prominent Freemason. He was a fellow of the Royal Society during the presidency of Isaac Newton, and beaten to that office by Sir Hans Sloane. This copy is unhelpfully not present in either library catalogue.

No complete sets recorded in the US.

Lowndes XI, 2902; Brunet V, 1331; Adams W91; Allison & Rogers I, 1369. Not in Duthilloeul, Bib. Douaisienne. A. MacColl, ‘Richard White and the Legendary History of Britain’, Humanistica Lovaniensia 51 (2002), 245-57.


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SAINT GERMAN, Christopher

Saint German, Christopher. The fyrste dyalogue in Englysshe, wyth newe addycyons. London, R. Wyer, 1531. [with]. Saint German, Christopher. The secunde dyalogue i[n] englysshe wyth new addycyons. London, in Southwarke by Peter Treueris, 1531. [with]. Saint German, Christopher. Here after foloweth a lytell treatise called the newe addicions. [London] Thomas Bertheletus regius impressor excudebat, anno domini. 1531.


8vo. 3 works in one volume. 1) ff. lxxviii [ii] 2) ff. 166, [vi]. 3) ff. 22 [ie 32] leaves ;  8. Black Letter. Woodcut royal arms on first title-page, small woodcut on verso of last of St. John the Evangelist with xylographic ‘Robert Wyer’ below, small woodcut initials some white on black, small woodcut of Christ and the trinity on verso of last page of text in second work, title of third part within woodcut border, ’Will Stamfold’ in contemporary hand at head of t-p, another below, ‘John Thrower of ..’ in early hand on verso of last, contemporary note partially rubbed out on verso of last of second work (small hole just affecting on letter on verso) ‘John Colinye’ in later hand below, C19th mss ex dono to Mr Samuellson on fly. Very light age yellowing, first title very slightly dusty, light marginal stain or spot in a few places. Very good copies, crisp and clean in seventeenth century speckled English calf, covers double blind ruled to a panel design, blind fleurons to outer corners, initials GB gilt stamped at centres, rebacked, spine with raised bands gilt ruled in compartments, a.e.r.

Rare second edition in English of an extremely important work in the history of English law. First published in 1528 as Dialogus de fundamentis legum Anglie et de conscientia, St German’s influential dialogue between a Doctor of Law and a student was first published in English in 1530. The present edition (the second), further revised, is bound with the similarly revised second edition of the Second dialogue first published by Treveris at the end of November 1530. The work is an investigation of the inter-relationship between the foundations of English law and conscience, cast in the form of an exchange between a doctor (or teacher) and a student. This form is kept in the English translation. ‘The New addicions’ printed by Berthelet form a separate piece, and these thirteen chapters are concerned with parliament’s jurisdiction in spiritual matters.

“Christopher Saint Germain was a legal writer and controversialist, born about 1460, was educated at Oxford, as a member, it is said, of Exeter College. He then entered the Inner Temple, where he studied law and was called to the bar. As a rule Saint-German avoided politics, and confined himself to legal and literary work, and to the collection of a library which exceeded that of any other lawyer. In religious matters Saint-German was a moderate reformer. Saint-German is, however, chiefly remembered as author of ‘Doctor and Student,’ a handbook for legal students, which was not superseded until the appearance of Blackstone’s ‘Commentaries.’ This work was first issued by Rastell in 1523 in Latin, under the title ‘Dialogus de Fundamentis Legum et de Conscientia.’ Herbert possessed a copy, but none is now known to be extant. Another edition was published by Rastell in 1528. An English translation, entitled ‘A Fyrste Dialoge in Englysshe,’ was brought out in 1531 by Wyer, and a ‘Second Dialoge in Englysshe’ was published by Peter Treveris in 1530. Both these were printed in 1532 ‘with new addycions’. Subsequent editions were numerous.”DNB

The Dialogue “was of enormous importance. It appeared just before the secularisation of the Chancery by Henry VIII, and emphasised and preserved those rules of equity derived from canon law in a format readily understandable by common lawyers and all learned men. In so doing, it laid the foundation for English equity jurisprudence. Although St. German was technically a common lawyer, his work was influenced by civilian ideas both through and apart from the obvious canonist influences. St. German may also have been influenced by the continental Bartolists, who tested the rules of the secular civil law with cases of ‘conscience’. He attempted to do the same with the English common law as applicable ‘secular’ law. The result was a pioneer excursion into comparative law and a brilliant attempt to analyse the legitimate sources of English law.  St. Germain was firmly patriotic, anti-clerical and conservative; but, unlike Littleton, he boldly and critically analyzed the sources of the English national law. His object was mutual reinforcement between custom and reason, nationalism and learning. His true heir would be Francis Bacon” Daniel R. Coquillette. ‘Comparative Studies in Continental and Anglo-American Legal History’.

A very good copy of this rare and important work complete with all three parts.

1) ESTC S104738. STC 21562. 2) ESTC S104655. STC 21566. 3) ESTC S110793. STC 21563.


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DIGGES, Thomas, DIGGES, Dudley


Foure paradoxes, or politique discourses. 2 concerning militarie discipline,

London, By H. Lownes, for Clement Knight, 1604.


FIRST EDITION. 4to. pp. [iv], 111, [i]: pi², A-O. Roman letter, some Italic. Small woodcut printer’s device on title, floriated woodcut initials, grotesque woodcut head and tail-pieces, typographical ornaments. Light age yellowing, title dusty,  chipped at lower outer blank corner, a little dust soiling at margins of first few leaves, minor marginal dust soiling in places, the rare marginal stain. A good copy, with good margins, in modern three-quarter red calf, spine with raised bands, title gilt lettered, all edges yellow.

Rare first edition of this important work on the state of the English militia, probably a source for Shakespeares’ Coriolanus. “As Digges died in 1595 there was an interval of at least nine years between the writing of  ‘Paradoxes 1. and II.’ and their printing. These are filled with complaints of the dishonesty of officers. Foreign writers, too, were making similar accusations, notably Marcos de Isaba, who, in the ‘Cuerpo enfermo de la Milicia Espanola’, waxes very bitter on the subject. Both in English and foreign armies, officers, from the commander in chief to the captain of the band, where engaged in defrauding one another and the private soldiers. If the men clamoured for pay, license for pillage quieted them, or, in some cases, a still surer remedy was found; generals when deep in debt to any troops would send them on some desperate service, wherein most of them were sure to perish. Four pages of Paradoxes I are devoted to a comparison between a good and a bad paymaster; and much of Paradox II to another between modern discipline and the discipline of the Greeks and Romans. Digges maintains the former, ‘In spite of the late invention of gunpowder,’ to be vastly inferior to the latter, and he cites thirty points of difference between the two systems in support of his views. Indeed the English militia had become so inefficient as to make reform imperative. Captains, being paymasters of their own bands, made use of their position to pocket the mens’ pay; drill was neglected, and no dependence could be placed on soldiers, who, taken from the lowest class, thought nothing of running from the enemy. Smythe, though an opponent of Digges, corroborates these statements. Digges was a reformer, and certainly a good friend to the private soldier;.” Cockle.

“In 1604 a volume was published entitled ‘Four Paradoxes, or Politique Discourses’, containing two essays by Thomas Digges, and two by Dudley Digges, his son, and the stepson of Shakespeare’s testamentary overseer. One of Dudley’s essays is in praise of the soldiers profession. In the other he argues ‘That warre sometimes’ is ‘less hurtfull and more to be wisht in a well Governd state than peace’. War, he declares, is better than ‘luxurious idleness’… With this may be compared the dialogue on the advantages of war in Coriolanus IV. v.. Digges proceeds to discuss the use of war as a means of curing internal dissensions, his main example being the story of Coriolanus taken directly from North’s Plutarch, though with the insertion of one phrase from Livy. … we cannot be sure that Shakespeare had read ‘Foure Paradoxes’, though he might have done so out of neighbourly interest. In Coriolanus he uses the metaphor of breaking out in three places, though his use of it is not confined to this play. … Although, therefore, Shakespeare could have developed his conception of the play from Plutarch’s lives, Digges may well have contributed to the atmosphere of the play with his praise of the military hero, his claim that the ‘discommoditie of our long peace opprest by luxurie’ is ‘worse farre than warrre’, and his retelling of the Coriolanus story as an example of the way foreign wars can be used to cure sedition.” Kenneth Muir. ‘The Sources of Shakespeare’s Plays.’

ESTC S109705 STC 6872. Cockle 77.


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Vox militis: foreshewing what perils are procured where the people of this, or any other kingdome liue without regard of marshall discipline

London, By B[ernard] A[lsop] for Thomas Archer, 1625.


FIRST EDITION. 4to. pp. [xiv], 18, 21-58 [i.e. 56]. A-I, complete except for final blanks I3+4. Roman letter, some Italic. Woodcut initials, typographic ornaments. Light age yellowing, title slightly dusty, some marginal spots. A good copy, clean, with good margins in C19th three quarter green morocco over combed marble paper boards, title gilt in long on spine.

A rare work, a call to arms against the Spanish and Holy Roman Empire in Europe, an adaption of a work by Barnabe Rich, first published in 1578, reworked to conform with contemporary events. Rich’s second book, ‘Allarme to England’ sought to rally support, moral and financial, for England’s soldiers. Here George Marcelline adapts the work particularly in relation to Count Ernst von Mansfeld attempts to raise money and men for the attempt to recover the Palatinate. The work is dedicated to Mansfield. In 1624 Mansfield paid three visits to London. James I, the father-in-law of Frederick V, Elector Palatine, was anxious to furnish his needs for the recovery of the Palatinate, but it was not until January 1625 that Mansfeld and his army of “raw and poor rascals” sailed from Dover to the Netherlands

“The death of James I in March 1625 and the accession of Charles I did little to change the fortunes of war for the English. Charles inherited his fathers chief minister, George Villiers, second Duke of Buckingham, and both men were eager to lead the country in a war against Spain, particularly after the embarrassing collapse of the Spanish match and the return of Charles and Buckingham from Madrid in 1623. That return led to the ‘Blessed revolution’, the sea change in English foreign policy that saw a renewal of the old animosity between London and Madrid and the declaration of war against Spain in 1624. The decision to go to war with Spain was greeted with cheers by those who felt Jameses government would now put its full backing behind any military operations against the Spanish, thereby avoiding the debacles that marked the expeditions commanded by Vera and Mansfield. George Marcelline summed up the concerns of many in his Vox Militis (1625), a reprinting of Barnabe Rich’s Allarme to England (1578), that warned that the English lived ‘without regard of Militarie discipline’ and were being forced to stand and behold their friends in apparent danger ‘almost subverted by there enemies unjust persecution and yet with hold[ing] their helping hand and assistance’. Marceline, who dedicated his treatise to Mansfeld, wished to resurrect the reputation of the English soldier, which by this time had taken a beating. Yet his hopes, and those of the nation, were dashed once again when another foray to the continent in 1627, this time in support of the Danes, also faltered.” David R. Lawrence. The Complete Soldier: Military Books and Military Culture in Early Stuart England.

A very good copy of this rare work.

ESTC S115890. STC 20980. Cockle 105.


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SMYTHE, Sir John

Instructions, obseruations, and orders mylitarie. Requisite for all chieftaines, captaines, and higher and lower men of charge, and officers..

London, By Richard Iohnes, 1595.


4to. pp. [xxxii], 111, 124-220: pi1[=4[par.]2], [par.] – 3[par.], 4[par.]², (-4[par.]2), A², B-Y, 2A-2E. Roman letter, some Italic. Woodcut printer’s device on title, grotesque woodcut headpiece above, woodcut head-pieces and initials, ‘J. W. Baynton Grays Inn’ in C18th hand in lower blank margin of t-p., armorial bookplate Thomas Francis Fremantle, Baron Cottesloe, on pastedown, C19th autograph of Albert Way (1805–1874, English antiquary, and principal founder of the Royal Archaeological Institute) above. Light age yellowing, title a little dusty at margins, closed tear in lower edge of P2, rare minor mark or spot, upper margin a little short. A very good copy in C18th speckled calf, covers bordered with a gilt rule, edges gilt scrolled, rebacked to match.

A reissue, with expanded preliminaries and cancel title page, of ‘Certen instructions, observations and orders militarie’ (STC 22884), by the great contemporary authority on archery, the soldier and diplomat Sir John Smythe. Smythe (1533-1607) gained his military experience as a volunteer in France, the Low Countries and Hungary. Well-read and fluent in Spanish, he was appointed Elizabeth I’s special Ambassador to Spain on the 18 November 1576. After his ambassadorship, Smythe re-entered the political arena as a critic of the English involvement in the Eighty Years’ War in the Low Countries. In 1590 Smythe published ‘Certain Discourses’, a fervent plea for the retention of the longbow as the weapon of choice for the English soldier. Citing both modern and ancient sources, Smythe recalls great victories won by the bow and associates its use with true manliness and English military potency. The book initiated a controversy on the relative strengths of bow and handgun, but it also contained vehement criticisms of the “new disciplinated men of war” who commanded English forces in the Low Countries. “Leicester’s party now used their influence at court to obtain the suppression of the book, and having gained their end, they spread the report that its circulation was prohibited on account of its falsehood and foolishness, and that its author ‘was judged by her Majesty and her council’ to have been for some years in his dotage.” Cockle. Smythe spent the months that followed unsuccessfully petitioning Lord Treasurer Burghley (his occasional patron) to have this suppression reversed. ‘The agitation caused by his first work having subsided’ (Cockle) Smythe issued this second edition of the work, slightly expanded in its preliminaries. Cockle records that from the writings of Smythe and Patten “it is possible to gather a good general state of the army in England in the middle of the sixteenth century… So conservative is the author, that he would reject any man for an archer who should draw his bow with two fingers, after the new fashion, instead of with three, after the old. .. When one considers the imperfections of the fire arms of that age , one can understand how it was that old soldiers like Sir John should be prejudiced in favour of the bow, which had proved so effective in the past.”

Cockle 60. ESTC S117635. STC 22885


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Illuminated manuscript on vellum

[England, (most probably London), soon after 1309]


8vo, 160 x 110mm, 167 leaves, 167 leaves, wanting single leaf from main text and a leaf or so at end, else complete. Drypoint medieval leaf and quire signatures as well as old foliation in ink in lower margin, single column of 29 lines in an English secretarial hand (anglicana), running titles and marginal titles with red and blue paragraph marks, each chapter opening with an illuminated initial on bicoloured red and pink grounds. Waterstain to lower margin of first 3 leaves, cockling throughout, edges slightly dampstained, a little smudging and offsetting, occasional rubbing and spotting, good and legible. In English early seventeenth-century calf, ruled in blind and with a central gilt-stamped lozenge on upper and lower covers, leather label “Manuscript” on spine, remains of green silk ties, some wear to binding, spine skilfully restored.

A fine and early legal manuscript containing one of the fundamental texts of English law; from an important legal library.


  1. Most probably written either by a scribe of the Inns of Court or a chancery clerk in London, for a medieval lawyer whose mark or initial may be the large calligraphic capital ‘B’ on the front flyleaf. The opening writ of the present manuscript was attested at Westminster on the 12th of December in the third year of the reign of Edward II, that is 1309, and the manuscript was most likely written within a very few years of that date. Its selection of texts frequently cites London and Westminster, and was likely produced for use by a resident of that city.
  2. Red oval armorial ink stamp (bendy sinister of nine with central device) surmounted by coronet, on front endleaf.
  3. Alfred J. Horwood (1821-1881), of the Middle Temple, barrister and important historian of English law, pioneering editor of the year books of Edward I and Edward III (the records of the medieval English courts arranged by monarch and regnal year, the latter falling into the date range of the production of the present manuscript) for the illustrious Rolls Series, and a prominent early collector of English legal manuscripts. His manuscript of the Opinio Angeri de Rypone, edited in Rolls Series, 31, 1866 is now Harvard Law School, MS. 36; other legal manuscripts of his now in British Library, Addit. MSS. 32085-32090, and listed in P.A. Brand, Early English Law Reports, 1996, I, xxii, n. 15; and further non-legal manuscripts in the Free Library of Philadelphia and the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. Horwood’s signature on first endleaf, above “Temple” and several lines of partly erased notes by him. His library dispersed by Sotheby’s, 8 June, 1883, at which point this volume entered the booktrade; with bookseller’s catalogue of that date pasted inside upper cover (5 guineas), and later pencil inscription of price “£6-18-0”.


Registers of Writs were produced as formulary books, providing a range of writs issued by the Chancery to serve as precedents in the pursuit of any action for the protection of rights, property or liberties (see F.W. Maitland in Harvard Law Review, 3, 1889, pp. 97-115, and E. De Haas and G.D.G. Hall, Early Registers of Writs, 1970). They were an absolutely essential part in initiating medieval and indeed much later litigation. It was also essential to any set of proceedings that the writ was correctly drafted, or the legal action would almost certainly fail. Accordingly, sound precedent books were the fundamental tools of English medieval practise, described as early as the seventeenth century as “the ancientist book of the law” by Sir Edward Coke (1552-1634), Attorney General to Queen Elizabeth I and Chief Justice to King James I, and their direct successors, at least until recently, were still in daily use. Modern scholarship also recognises their importance to the execution of the law, with T.F.T. Plunkett stating that they were the “basis of the mediaeval common law, a guide to its leading principles, and a commentary upon their application” (Statutes and their Interpretation in the First Half of the Fourteenth Century, Cambridge 1922, p.111).

The volume here includes a list of 60 chapter headings, followed by the Register of Writs proper from De recto to De salvo conductu.


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[UDALL, William. Camden, William.]


The Historie of the Life and Death of Mary Stuart Queene of Scotland.

London, John Haviland for Richard Whitaker, 1624


FIRST EDITION. Folio. pp. [xii], 250, [ii]. A(±A3), B-2H, 2I. Roman and Italic letter, text within box rule. Fine engraved portrait of Mary as frontispiece within roundel, Mary’s arms above, signed: R: Elstrack, title within large woodcut border, epistle signed “Wil. Stranguage” [i.e. William Udall], “One of three imprint variants of this edition. In this state the dedication, with pseudonymous signature, is a cancel.” ESTC. “.Hadinton” in a contemporary hand on title. another autograph erased dated 1651 above, engraved armorial bookplate of Thomas Hamilton (1721-1794), 7th Earl of Haddington, on verso of t-p, contemporary inscription on fly erased, early shelf marks on t-p and and frontispiece. Light age yellowing, very rare spot or mark, t-p fractionally dusty in lower outer margin. A fine, large paper copy, crisp and clean in handsome contemporary calf, covers double gilt and blind ruled to a panel design, corners stopped with small gilt fleurons, gilt fleurons to corners of inner panel, arms of John Bill, Kings Printer at centres, spine blind ruled, slightly later morocco label gilt, edges gilt ruled, a.e.r. endpapers renewed, extremities slightly rubbed.

A remarkable, large paper copy bound with the arms of the Kings printer John Bill, almost certainly made for presentation; The University of Toronto, British Armorial Bindings, records two vols with John Bill’s armorial device, one of them being another copy of this work. At this late stage in his career John Bill was a hugely successful, influential and wealthy printer. “In the Jacobean period the King’s Printers were Robert Barker (1570–1645), and the two Shropshire men, Bonham Norton (1564–1635) and John Bill (1576–1630). At this time the office of the King’s Printer included the privilege to print the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer in English. .… But the rights to the office of King’s Printer in English were in dispute, and Robert Barker, Bonham Norton and John Bill—who held the office either alone, or together in various partnerships from 1603–1645—fought bitter legal battles in the Court of Chancery for more than a decade to establish their rights to a share in the business. …. through John Bill’s good managing of the business (which drew in overseas investments through his Continental contacts) the office began to pay. These Continental contacts emerged from a joint-stock partnership which Bonham Norton, John Norton, and John Bill had set up in 1603. This long-running partnership, from 1603-1619 was designed to import continental books and stationary, and to produce books at home and abroad. It operated through an intricate web of book-trade contacts and markets, which John Bill was able to draw into the operation of the King’s Printing House. The KPH institutions extended their power as instruments of cultural production in Jacobean England. James’s desire to define a national culture and influence European thought through the printed word meant that the Salopian’s book-trading became as important culturally for the king as it was financially for the partners.” ‘A Brief History of the King’s Printing House (KPH) in the Jacobean Period’

Attractive principal edition of the classic early ‘Life’ of Mary, Queen of Scots and the author’s only printed work. Though drawn almost exclusively from the Latin history of the period by Camden (probably with Camden’s sanction), it achieved considerable popular success. Mary was one of the most attractive and fascinating figures of British history of the late C16th., and the establishment of her Stuart line on the throne of England of course heightened the interest of Englishmen in her life and unhappy fate. “Anticipating that his portraits of Elizabeth and Mary would met with objections, Camden appears to have opposed publishing his Annales in English during his lifetime. As evidence, historians usually point to Jame’s commission for Abraham Darcie’s translation, which was not printed until 1625, over a year after Camden’s death. Udall’s neglected ‘Historie of the Life and Death of Mary Stuart Queene of Scotland’ appeared even earlier, in 1624, evidence that James was getting what was for him the most significant part of the text out to the English public as soon as possible. Udall, who first published this book under the name ‘William Stranguage’ does not credit Camden as his source, and up through the nineteenth century, many, if not most, readers assumed Udall wrote it himself. Udall’s history popularises a version of Mary’s tragedy that argues for James’s legitimacy against those who might challenge him.”. By John D. Staines ‘The Tragic Histories of Mary Queen of Scots, 1560-1690.’

A stunning copy of this important work.

ESTC. S117760. STC 24509a. Pforzheimer I 123. Arber IV 158.


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The First and Second Volumes of Chronicles [with the Third] Volume.

London, John Harrison, George Bishop, Rafe Newberie, Henrie Denham and Thomas Woodcocke, 1586/7


Folio, 3 vols, [vol. 1] pp. (viii) 250, (viii) 9-61, (xi) 183 (iii) 3-464 (xxxviii). [vol. 2] (iv) 202 (xvi) : (vi) 798. [vol. 3] (ii) 799-1592 (lviii). – Vol.1: A5(lacking first blank), B-X6, Y4, A-E6, A-Q6, R2, A-V6, 2A-2N6, 2O4, 2P-2Q6, 2R5 (with original cancel), 2S-2T6. A6, *6, ¶7 (lacking blank). Vol 2: Y5+6, A-Q6, R5 (lacking blank), B8 (all assembled from vol I). A6, B-V6, 2A-2V6, 3A-3V6, 4A-4G6, 4H1. Vol 3: *1, (lacking third title, replaced here with part title) 4H2-6, 4I-4V6, 5A-5V6, 6A-6V6, 7A-7N6, 7O3 (lacking blank). C-F6, G5 (Lacking last blank). Cancel leaves replaced, from the 1723 edition, in vol. I on 2Q3-4 and 2S2-5 and in vol. 3 on 7A-7I6, 7l 2-5, G3-5. Mostly Black letter, double column. general title within vine and tendril architectural woodcut border inscribed N.H. (supposedly the miniaturist Nicholas Hilliard, McKerrow & Ferguson 148), part title (repeated) within architectural woodcut border comprising arch, termini, figures and fruit and satyrs at sides (copied from the frame of Holbein’s portrait of Erasmus) McKerrow & Ferguson 122, part-title (repeated) within elaborate woodcut cartouche with fruit and flowers (McKerrow & Ferguson 147), vol. 3 t-p, replaced with part title, some large ornate woodcut initials and ornaments, printer’s woodcut device on verso of last, pencil inscription on vol. I front free endpaper: “From Lord Londesbrough’s Library”, (Londesbrough was one of the richest peers in England) armorial bookplates of Theod. H. Broadhead on front pastedowns. Light age yellowing with occasional slight browning in places, some slight marginal staining, a few ink marks, first title lightly browned and laid down, four leaves expertly remargined in vol. I, a few scattered single wormholes in places in vol II, small tears in 3G4, 3M3 and 4C5 repaired, vol. III with small tears to edges and corners expertly repaired. Unusually good clean copies in superb late C18th straight grained dark blue morocco, covers bordered with a triple gilt rule and framed with alternating gilt leaf and floral tools, gilt flowers to corners, gilt ‘temple’, comprising columns surmounted with a crescent, at centre of each side, spine richly gilt in compartments with the same leaf and floral tools, oval laurel wreath gilt at centers surrounded by semé of pointilé tools, inner dentelles gilt with a ‘Greek key” border, a.e.g., extremities fractionally rubbed.

The second and best edition of the single most comprehensive and valuable early history of the British Isles, which rapidly became the standard work of its kind. Shakespeare used this edition as the source for his historical plays, as well as Macbeth, King Lear and part of Cymbeline, adopting not only the facts but sometimes whole phrases from the text (see e.g. Richard III Act IV. Sc. II). The first edition was the work of Holinshed, William Hanson and others, but Holinshed died shortly after, and the publication of this second, very much enlarged edition was prepared under the supervision of John Hooker, assisted by Francis Thynne (especially on Scotland), John Stow and Abraham Fleming – who contributed the invaluable indexes not present in the first edition. The Chronicles were the first complete history of the British Isles (and even of England) to appear in print, of an authoritative character, composed in English and in a continuous narrative, in this edition covering the whole of British history from earliest times to 1586. Although the work borrows from earlier chroniclers, as well as more recent ones such as Hall and Stow himself, it did not do so uncritically, and the compilers themselves carried out research into original sources as well as using French and Italian materials more extensively than any previous English historians, especially for the later periods. For the history of the 15th and 16th centuries it is unequalled and irreplaceable. Unfortunately the accuracy with which the chronicles recorded contemporary events, particularly Elizabeth’s negotiations with the Scots, the machinations of Leicester, Cecil and Burley (derived from his own mss), Babington’s conspiracy, Drake’s return and the lives of certain Archbishops of Canterbury, caused great offence. The work was investigated by Whitgift and the excision and cancellation of numerous passages was ordered and delegated to Fleming. In 1722-23 three London booksellers republished the castrated pages, carefully edited by John Blackburn so that possessors of the volume might perfect them. They were beautifully printed to match the original. In this copy all the castrated leaves have been replaced, and the text is therefore complete as originally intended.

The order of this copy has been altered, bringing the English parts of the history together and placing the tables by the appropriate text, creating three vols. of similar size, (eg. part of vol. one has been moved to vol. 2 along with its title page and corresponding table. Changing the order of the text and adding the reprinted cancels from the C18th was clearly done in order to create what would, in its time, be considered the best possible copy of this work, by someone who clearly knew it well enough to enhance its coherence.

The sumptuous and finely worked binding in very high quality morocco, is very reminiscent of work by Kalthoeber or Baumgarten, and is certainly from the period in which they were most active, c.1780. A very beautiful set, that would have taken pride of place in any Georgian library.

Theodore Henry Broadhead was born in September 1741, he was given the name of Theodore Henry Brinckman at birth though his name was legally changed to Theodore Henry Broadhead by Act of Parliament. He held the office of High Sheriff of Surrey in 1786. He lived at Holly Grove, Windsor park. Baron Londesborough was Born Hon. Albert Denison Conyngham, In 1824, he was Attache to Berlin, Vienna in 1825 and Secretary of the Legation to Florence in 1828 and Berlin from 1829-31.Conyngham was knighted in 1829, and at the 1835 general election he was elected as  Liberal Member of Parliament for Canterbury. In 1849, he changed his surname to Denison under the terms of the will of his maternal uncle, William Denison, and was created Baron Londesborough a year later.

STC 13569. Lowndes III 1086. Gibson 358. 1st edn. (ditto Grolier & Pforzheimer). Kingsford, English historical literature, p.271 et seq.


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A Restitution of Decayed Intelligence.

Antwerp, by Robert Bruney. And to be sold at London by Iohn Norton and Iohn Bill, 1605.


FIRST EDITION. 4to., pp. [xxiv], 338, [xiv]. +,  ++, +++, A-2X. Roman letter, some Italic and Gothic. Small engraving on t-p in red and black, 11 engraved plates in text, woodcut initials head and tail-pieces, note concerning the prefatory poems in C19th hand on fly, index of the engravings, in the same hand, on following page, several C19th sale notices concerning this edition tipped in., bookplate of James Elwin Millward on pastedown. Title a little soiled and dusty with ink spot on engraving, verso of last dusty, occasional marginal stain or thumb mark, very minor marginal spotting in places. A very good copy, with good margins and good impressions of the plates, in C19th diced Russia, covers bordered with a double blind rule, spine with raised bands, ruled in blind, title and date gilt lettered, a.e.r.

First edition of Richard Verstegan’s (alias Rowland’s 1565-1620) important history of the Saxon invasions, the development of the English language, the formation of its surnames, and general early English lore. Verstegan displays a great knowledge of early English history and of Anglo Saxon, which he had studied at Oxford before leaving on account of his Catholicism. He removed to Antwerp, whence his grandfather originated, and set up a printing press.  There he acted as agent for the transmission of Catholic literature (some of which he printed) and letters to and from England and the rest of Europe. He corresponded with Cardinal Allen and Robert Parsons and for a time was in their pay, he was a very well connected figure in the recusant world. “The Restitution was first published in 1605, but it continued to be reprinted long after Verstegan’s death, and it’s probably the book for which he is best known in England. It is very straightforward work, with the simple object of demonstrating the descent of the English from the Germanic peoples of northern Europe. This was not as foregone a conclusion as one might think today and Verstegan presented the book with all the trappings of authority he could muster.”

The present work contains, amongst other exotica, the first account of the Pied Piper of Hamlyn, and a description of werewolves; “the werewolves are certayne sorcerers, who having annoynted their bodies with an oyntment which they make by the instinct of the devil, and putting on a certayne inchaunted girdle, doe not openly unto to the view of others, but to their owne thinking have both shape and nature of wolves so long as they weare the said girdle.  And they do dispose of themselves as very wolves, in worrying and killing, and most of humane creatures”. Verstegan was one of the first generation of Anglo Saxon scholars, the work contains one of the earliest published Anglo Saxon word lists, predating Somner. It is dedicated to King James I whom Verstegan describes as “descended of the chiefest bloud Royall of our antient English Saxon kings”; followed by an epistle to the English nation and some 10 verses including one by Thomas Shelton, translator of Don Quixote, also a most useful table of contents. Verstegan begins his work by describing the origins of the English, that they were descended from Saxons whom he states are from Germany. However he says that the Welsh, Cornish, Irish and Scots retain their ancient origins and are not of Saxon descent, indeed they refer to the English in their own language as “Sasons, or Saxsonach”. Verstegan deals with every aspect of England’s history including stating in chapter 4 that England was once joined to France before the “flood of Noah”. He ends his work with a final chapter on the origins and purpose of “tithes of honour, dignities and offices”, and intriguingly the significance of “our English names of disgrace or contempt”.  A very interesting gathering of anecdote and history, illustrated at key points with very detailed and clear engravings.

ESTC S116255. STC 21361. Gillow V p.556.  Lowndes and Allison & Rogers have 1605 edn.


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BG. [Mazzella Scipione.] [with] DE BRY, Theodor.



BG. [Mazzella Scipione.] Regum Neapolitanorum vitae et effigies. 

Augsburg, sumpt. Dominici Custodis. Coelo Raphael Custodis, 1605


DE BRY, Theodor. Indiae orientalis pars vndecima,

Frankfurt, typis Hieronymi Galleri, 1619


Folio. Two works in one. 1) C-T² lacking first two quires [4 leaves, A-B2 title and prefatory material]. Roman letter. 31 full page engraved genealogical tables and portraits with typeset explanations on verso, one tear with marginal loss, one affecting plate. 2) pp. 62 (ii); (ii) X engraved plates. [A-H⁴; a-c⁴] without last blank. Roman and Italic letter, first title with engraved portrait of Olivier van Noort with two natives at sides and with two map hemispheres, large grotesque head and tail pieces and initials, second part with separate t-p with grotesque woodcut ornaments, and 10 half page engraved plated with printed explanations, tiny single worm trail in lower blank margin of last four ff. Light age yellowing. A fine copy in stunning contemporary English olive morocco, covers double gilt ruled to a panel design, outer panel with a dentelle border made of small gilt tools, and a second border two blind rules and gilt laurel scrolls, inner panel with corner pieces of gilt laurel branch fleurons, filled with semée of gilt stars, large arms of James I within grotesque border, crown at head, gilt stamped at centres, spine double gilt ruled in compartments, gilt fleurons at centres with gilt star tools, edges gilt ruled, all edges gilt, upper joint repaired at foot, remains of blue silk ties, a.e.g.

The beautifully illustrated, rare and important eleventh vol of Theodor De Bry’s Small voyages containing three important travel accounts including the relation of Vespucci’s third and fourth voyage to America, in a stunning, finely preserved, contemporary morocco binding from the library of James I, very much in the style of Bateman. The first part contains all the plates from Mazella’s history of the kings of Naples.

The Small Voyages were printed in a total of 13 parts and an Appendix, at Frankfurt from 1597 to 1633; this is the sole Latin edition of part eleven of the Small voyages.“This eleventh part contains three narratives: 1) [p. 5-10] The relations of the third and fourth voyages of Vespuccius to America, in 1501 and 1503; it is a reprint of selections of the author’s: Mundus novus, first printed under title: Albericus Vespuccius Laurentio Petri Francisci de Medicis salutem plurimam dicit Amerigo Vespucci, Paris, 1503 but generally known as: Mundus novus. 2) [p. 11-46] An account of Robert Coverte’s travels by land through Persia and Mongolia [here, Church is incorrect. Instead of Mongolia, it is the Mogul Empire], after his shipwreck off Surat. This relation was first printed in English, at London in 1612; it is a translation of ‘A true and almost incredible report of an Englishman, that (being cast away in the good ship called the Assention in Cambaya the farthest part of the East Indies) trauelled by land through many vnknowne kingdomes, and great cities, by Robert Coverte, first printed London, 1612’ 3) [p. 47-62] A geographical description of Spitzbergen and a refutation of the claims of the English to the northern whale fisheries, with the journal of the voyage of Willem Barentsz and Jan Corneliszoon Rijp, in 1596, Cf. Church. It is a translation of: Histoire du Pays nommé Spisberghe collected and edited by Hessel Gerritsz, printed in Amsterdam, 1613, which is, in turn, a translation of selections of his: Descriptio ac delineatio geographica detectonis freti; sive Transitus ad occasum, supra terras Americanas, in Chinam atque Japonem ducturi, recens investigati ab M. Henrico Hudsono Anglo, first printed in Amsterdam, 1612. There are two states of the title page: in the first one, the vignette has two natives and a centre engraved portrait of Olivier van Noort, with two map hemispheres; the other has a native woman on the left with her child and a native man on the right with two ships in the centre. This copy contains the rare Plate VII, of a woman being carried in state to be burned with the body of her husband. This is often replaced by the plate, in which a woman is represented as throwing herself into the funeral pyre of her husband, used as plate IX.” JCB. 

“The language of Vespucci’s first public letter is compatible with the idea of a “new world” under and subordinate to the known configuration of lands. But in his second published letter Vespucci treats the southern and northern parts of the area he and Columbus explored as a single continent that is not Asia. This was a stunning breakthrough in the state of knowledge, one Columbus never achieved” Wills, Letters from a New World. 

This marvellous copy, with two works of particular interest to the English, comes from the library of James I (1566-1625), the first and probably the most learned ‘King of Great Britain’ as ruler of both Scotland and England. ‘He studied Greek, French, and Latin and made good use of a library of classical and religious writings that his tutors, George Buchanan and Peter Young, assembled for him. James’s education aroused in him literary ambitions rarely found in princes but which also tended to make him a pedant.’ EBO. His numerous books were often customised with his arms by the royal binder, John Bateman, who employed various style, material and techniques (M. Foot, The Henry Davids Gift, I, pp. 38-49, 52). This copy is of exceptional quality even within Bateman’s refined and wide-ranging output.

Church II 223. “Sole edition” t-p reproduced. JCB I 383. Brunet I 1341. Graesse VII 129. 


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