From ‘Not Fit for Production’ to Reading Room ready

A volume of three related pamphlets from 1723 in Sion College Library was severely mould damaged and flagged for conservation treatment. They are about the trial of Francis Atterbury, Bishop of Rochester, who was charged with treason for his involvement in a Jacobite plot [Sion Main Quarto D34.1/At8]. The paper lost sizing and fused into a block. Previous attempts to open the book had resulted in numerous tears and losses. In many places the paper was very pulpy and weak. The title page of the first pamphlet was adhered to the inside front cover and the last page was adhered to the inside back cover. The boards of the covers were so degraded that it was crumbling and falling away in chunks.

Inside of front cover showing title page adhered to front endpapers and pastedown.

The covers and pages displayed all the colours and textures of mould I have seen on books across my years as a conservator. It was pink, green, black, and grey. It was powdery, granular and imbedded in the paper fibres. During washing, some of the mould was very slimy and slippery.

Thankfully, the central pages were less severely damaged (i.e. less tears rather than no tears, slightly stronger paper rather than incredibly weak and damaged paper). This shows the protective nature of bindings to the text block. Despite the severe damage, this could, with an intense conservation treatment, be saved.

Degraded state of binding and textblock before treatment. Pages are mould damaged and fused together; cover has many large losses.

The covers were removed and the spine was cleaned with xantham gum. The text block was separated along natural breaks into front, middle and back sections. These three sections could then be treated in successive but separate treatments which would help to retain the order of the pages. Due to the damage, it was not possible to check the collation or note any printing errors before treatment, so it was more essential to be diligent about the order of steps undertaken.

The pages were washed in warm water with a small amount of propanol added to aid wetting. A small fan brush, a thin Teflon folder, and fingertips were all that was used to separate the pages. Creating waves of water around the small openings that were initially available allowed the gentle but strong power of water to do much of the work. My fingerprints were the most abrasive tool to interact with the wet pages. In many places the mould was too firmly embedded in the paper and could not be removed without causing damage. Pristine pages were not the end goal. Instead, the intended result was pages that could be turned and a document that could be issued to readers.

Conservator washing pages. Note acidity being released into the water.

After washing, the pages were resized and further treated for mould with a sizing agent in solvent. The methylcellulose size supported the weakened paper fibres and the solvent helped to mitigate any remaining mould spores. Next, the pages were lined with a 5gsm machine-made Japanese tissue adhered with cooked wheat starch paste. The condition of the pages considerably improved after lining. They could now be easily and safely handled. They were arranged into sections and infills applied as needed. Where possible, detached pieces of the original text were repositioned.

After treatment; pages have been washed, lined, repaired and bound into a simple new structure.

With the paper repairs complete, the pages were sewn on linen thread and bound into a pamphlet binding structure devised by the V&A Museum for one of their pamphlet collections. This structure is clean, modern, and non-adhesive. It is slim and lightweight allowing the three pamphlets to be stored in one box which reduces the amount of shelf space needed while still protecting the items. Additionally, this structure more closely resembles the original nature of these items as three related but distinct texts. This item is now safe to handle and can be accessed in the reading room.

Talitha Wachtelborn, Sion College Collection Conservator

Olaudah Equiano

Olaudah Equiano (c. 1745 – 1797), a remarkable man whose life story was of vital importance to the campaign to abolish slavery, was born in the Kingdom of Benin (now a part of modern day Nigeria) and, as a child, was kidnapped, sold into slavery and taken to the New World. Sold to Royal Navy Captain Michael Henry Pascal, he was renamed Gustavus Vassa and was baptised as a Christian in 1759 at the Church of St. Margaret, Westminster Abbey. After being sold twice more, including to a Quaker merchant who allowed him to earn a profit through trading, Equiano would eventually purchase his own freedom in 1766. He saw battle during the Seven Years’ War and was trained in seamanship, going on to travel the world, including the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, the Atlantic, and the Arctic.

Frontispiece and title page of 'The Interesting narrative...'
The Library’s copy of The Interesting narrative… is a first edition and is part of Sion College Library [B79.10/V44].

Equiano’s autobiography ‘The interesting narrative of the life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African, written by himself’ (London, 1789) was a huge success and went through many editions in his lifetime.

The first slave narrative to gain popularity among an English audience, Equiano’s autobiography would not only precipitate a literary genre, but become a voice for the growing anti-slave movement in Great Britain. His account of his childhood in Africa and his life as a slave captivated the public, from whom Equiano’s detailed and lucid writing elicited a strong emotional reaction.

Engraving of the shipwreck of the 'Nancy' on Bahama Banks.
An engraving from the second volume depicts the shipwreck of the Nancy, a slave vessel upon which Equiano worked in the Caribbean, and serves as an example of one of the many harrowing episodes he would survive and later write about [B79.10/V44].

Throughout his autobiography Equiano recounted several instances where he was accosted and threatened with violence, kidnapping, and re-enslavement even after becoming a free man. The bleak prospects and cruelties faced by himself and other Africans in the British Colonies, freed or otherwise, were a driving force in his decision to return to England in 1766.

Equiano would later marry a Cambridgeshire woman, Susanna Cullen, with whom he had two children. Moving in both popular and radical circles in the 1790s, he worked with Thomas Clarkson and the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, and spoke at many public meetings where he described first-hand the cruelties of the trade alongside advocating for the Black community in London. As a leading member of the Sons of Africa, an early black campaign group, Equiano was a prominent voice for abolition in Britain’s political sphere. Ten years after Equiano’s death, the Slave Trade Act of 1807 finally made illegal the transatlantic slave trade; the practise of slavery in the British Empire would only begin to be phased out with the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833.

Summer update from the Library and Record Centre

Lambeth Palace Library and the Church of England Record Centre regularly embark on new projects and acquire and catalogue new material, from rare books and manuscripts to modern publications.  These posts provide a brief update on some of our latest acquisitions, projects and upcoming events, to keep you up-to-date with our most recent news.

New books!

Enjoy reading one (or more!) of our recently acquired new books. Highlights include:

Magazines and journals

magazinesLambeth Palace Library also collects a variety of magazines and journals. You are very welcome to visit the Reading Room to consult these too. Some of our recently received titles include:

Anglican and Episcopal History
Church Monuments
English Historical Review
Families First
Historical Research
Modern Believing
New Directions
Parliamentary History
The Prayer Book Society Journal
Theology

newspapersWe also receive the following papers and magazines weekly:

The Church of England Newspaper
Church Times
TLS (The Times Literary Supplement)

Upcoming events

Lambeth Palace Garden Open Days with Great Hall entry and exhibition

Every first Friday of the month until September, 12 noon to 3pm
Next Open Day: Friday 2 August 

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An opportunity to visit the Palace’s beautiful gardens and see the progress of the new Library building! Refreshments and entertainment are provided in the garden and there will be plants for sale. The 17th century Great Hall will also be open throughout the Open Days, with a chance to view displays of some of the Library’s collections. Do come along and bring your friends and family!

There is an entrance fee of £5, which will go to a chosen charity each month, and there is no need to book.

New Library update

As of July, the Library project remains on time and on budget. The Archbishop topped out the building in May.

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The brickwork is nearing completion and is gradually being revealed as the scaffolding comes down.

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Over the summer and Autumn most of the work is concentrated on the inside of the building as all the mechanical work progresses inside.

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Staff are now heavily involved in planning for the big move of all the archives from the Library and CERC which will be taking place between June to December 2020.

Archive news

Clare Brown awarded The Lanfranc Award for Education and Scholarship

clareThe Library is delighted that Mrs Clare Brown, Archivist, was awarded The Lanfranc Award for Education and Scholarship by Archbishop Welby at the Lambeth Awards 2019, for her work in guiding readers through the archives of the Church of England, and for her exhibitions and scholarly expertise in support of Lambeth Palace Library and three Archbishops of Canterbury. In April, we bid Clare a very long and happy retirement after seventeen years of service at the Library!

Clare’s contribution over the years is too vast to summarise briefly, but we hope to give a sense of her many accomplishments. On joining the Library, Clare completed cataloguing of the papers of Archbishop Ramsey, and then led cataloguing of the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) archive. She led work on the collaborative projects on the Library’s important collection of Greek manuscripts, with an exhibition in 2006 and the launch of the catalogue in 2016. She contributed to understanding of the Canterbury Archbishops’ Registers alongside work undertaken by the Borthwick Institute on the York Registers. Her knowledge of the history of ecumenical relations contributed to displays for visitors to the Archbishop from other churches, and her extensive knowledge of the collections and of Church of England history have benefited many Library readers and NCIs colleagues over the years. This is evidenced, not least, by the amount of enquiries Clare answered during her time at the Library – almost 3,700!

We will all greatly miss Clare’s incredible knowledge, helpfulness, her willingness to share her expertise with Library readers and colleagues alike, and especially her sense of humour.

Archival collections news

Papers from 1988 have been released for research, including some 500 files from the papers of Archbishop Runcie and further material on Anglican-Roman Catholic relations from the records of ARCIC II. Descriptions can be searched on the Library’s online archives catalogue.

Further newly-catalogued material includes records of the Lambeth Diploma and Vacation Term for Biblical Study, two initiatives founded in the early 20th century to provide theological and scriptural training for women. Library staff are also adding detail to descriptions of various series of news cuttings and photographs relating to Archbishops Benson (cartoon pictured below), Davidson, Lang and Fisher, which complement correspondence and other papers in the main series. Photographs of Lambeth Palace and garden by Sue Snell are also now catalogued.

cartoon

An annotated Bible belonging to John Taylor Smith, Bishop of Sierra Leone, was donated to the Library. The Library also received a set of playing cards produced by the Mothers’ Union.

Watercolours from the Library collections can now been seen on the new Watercolour World website.

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Recent blog posts have covered a printed work on music from the Sion College collection; a further report on records of the Court of Arches; and a conference on Anglo-Saxon manuscripts.

A digitised version of Herbert Bosham’s life of Thomas Becket incorporating folios from the Library’s MS 5048 detached from the parent manuscript held in Arras is now available.

Bosham

The 100th anniversary of the Church Assembly, predecessor of General Synod, occurs in 2019. Aside from the main archive held at the Church of England Record Centre, there are further voluminous sources in the Library collections.

An edition of the household accounts of Archbishop Laud has been published; the original document is held at the National Archives, but complements sources relating to Laud in the Library collections. Readers may be interested in a Salvation Army blog post on the history of Christianity in China; the Library also holds material on the church in China.

In the Conservation Studio

Earlier in the year, a group of students from the Consortium for the Humanities and the Arts South-East England (CHASE) visited the Library as part of their ‘Material Witness‘ training programme, which examines physical objects in the digital age. The visit was organised by Teresa Lane, PhD student at the Courtauld Institute of Art, who recently completed a six-month CHASE internship working on the Library’s illuminated manuscripts. It gave participants a behind-the-scenes look in the conservation studio and an opportunity to learn about the different approaches and techniques involved in preserving fragile books.

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Lara Artemis, Senior Conservator at the Library, led the sessions on medieval manuscripts, examining their materiality and chemistry, as well as their history and provenance. The group were shown the stunningly illuminated 13th-century Lambeth Apocalypse (MS 209) – one of the Library’s treasures – and looked at the kinds of pigments used by the artists. The students even had a go at mixing pigments and painting their own illuminations on vellum afterwards!

workshop2

The photographs above are taken from the Material Witness blog about the student’s visit to Lambeth Palace Library, which gives plenty more fascinating insights into manuscripts and their conservation.

In other news, we continue to make strides in our boxing and preparing the collections for the move. We’ve now completed around 25,000 boxes for vulnerable items in the collection, including completing the job of cleaning, measuring, boxing and organising the vulnerable Sion College Library collections stored in the Blore, one of our Library storerooms.

boxing

Sion College Founder’s Day at Lambeth Palace

Fellows and members of Sion College celebrated its Founder’s Day at Lambeth Palace on Tuesday 9 July. This year’s event included a lecture by Baroness Manningham-Buller, former Director General of MI5, who spoke on the topic of “Intelligence and Ethics”. Evening prayer in the Chapel was followed by a drinks reception in the Great Hall where attendees were able to view an exhibition of some of the newly catalogued items from the Sion College collection, now housed in Lambeth Palace Library. Also on display were books and manuscripts relating to the lecture’s theme, including Reginald Scot’s Discovery of witchcraft (1654) in which the author denounced the prosecution and torture of those accused of witchcraft as un-Christian and irrational, and a 1584 caricature of Thomas Norton, whose ruthless and enthusiastic punishment of English Catholics led to his being nicknamed the “Rackmaster-General”.

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Don’t forget – you can also keep up-to-date with our news and events, and enjoy glimpses of some of the treasures in our collections, by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

April update from the Library and Record Centre

Lambeth Palace Library and the Church of England Record Centre regularly embark on new projects and acquire and catalogue new material, from rare books and manuscripts to modern publications.  Every two months, we post here a brief update on some of our latest acquisitions, projects and upcoming events, to keep you up-to-date with our most recent news.

billyNew books!

Enjoy reading one (or more!) of our recently acquired new books.  Highlights include:

Magazines and journals

Lambeth Palace Library also collects a variety of magazines and journals.  You are very welcome to visit the Reading Room to consult these too.  Journal rackA few titles for which we have recently received new issues are:

Upcoming events

Lambeth Palace Garden Open Days with Great Hall entry and exhibition

Every first Friday of the month until September, 12 noon to 3pm

An opportunity to visit the Palace’s beautiful 11-acre gardens, enjoy a cup of tea and slice of cake, and purchase plants and honey from the gardens.  The 17th century Great Hall will also be open throughout the Open Days, with a chance to view a display of highlights from the Library’s collections.  Do come along and bring your friends and family.

There is an entrance fee of £5, which will go to a chosen charity each month, and there is no need to book.

Watercolour of Lambeth Palace

“Mysteries” Demystified: The Making and Meaning of the Lambeth Articles (1595)

A talk by Professor Nicholas Tyacke (University College London)

Tuesday 8 May, 5.15pm (admittance not before 4.45pm)  

Nicholas Tyacke’s books include Altars Restored: the changing face of English religious worship, 1547-c.1700.  The event is run in association with the University of London seminar on the Religious History of Britain 1500-1800.

All are welcome, but those wishing to attend should book a free ticket at www.nicholastyackelambeth.eventbrite.co.uk, or email juliette.boyd@churchofengland.org not later than Friday 4 May. 

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Reformation on the Record: the legacy of libraries

Monday 4 June, 2 – 4pm

The dissolution of monastic and pre-Reformation libraries destroyed the established structures of learning, but also provided opportunities for other institutions and individuals to form collections during the following decades. This workshop will explore the development of new libraries (such as Lambeth Palace Library, founded in 1610) and their role in preserving pre-Reformation books and manuscripts.

Led by period specialists, this workshop will offer you the chance to learn about the aftermath of the Reformation, looking in particular at some original examples of the books and manuscripts which survived the dissolution of the monasteries.

Please come to the Library entrance on Lambeth Palace Road.

This is a joint workshop with The National Archives.

All are welcome, but those wishing to attend should book a free ticket at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/reformation-on-the-record-the-legacy-of-libraries-tickets-43653612129, or email juliette.boyd@churchofengland.org 

RefonRecord

New Perspectives on Seventeenth-Century Libraries

Robyn Adams (Centre for Editing Lives & Letters, UCL):
Donations to the Bodleian Library in the Early Seventeenth Century,
Katie Birkwood (Royal College of Physicians Library):
Digging Deeper into the Marquess of Dorchester’s Library,
Jacqueline Glomski (Centre for Editing Lives & Letters, UCL):
Religion and Libraries in the Seventeenth Century

Tuesday 5 June, 5.30pm (admittance not before 5pm) 

This event will showcase some recent research on library formation, both public and private, in the seventeenth century. Three short talks will deal with patterns of book selection and acquisition as revealed by individual practice and in seventeenth-century theoretical writing on bibliography. The presentations will discuss the potential for research on seventeenth century libraries and the application of digital methods to this research.

In association with the University of London research seminar on the History of Libraries.

All are welcome, but those wishing to attend should book a free ticket at www.seventeenthcenturylibraries.eventbrite.co.uk, or email juliette.boyd@churchofengland.org not later than Friday 25 May.

Great Hall

Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Lambeth Palace Library, followed by a lecture and afternoon tea

Dr Peter Blayney: Printing the 1559 Book of Common Prayer: events without precedent

Thursday 5 July, 2.30pm (admittance not before 2pm)

An authority on the history of the early modern book trade, Peter Blayney’s most recent book is The Stationers’ Company and the Printers of London, 1501–1557 (2013).

This meeting, open to Friends of Lambeth Palace Library, will be followed by tea. Friends should book in advance with Juliette Boyd, Lambeth Palace Library, juliette.boyd@churchofengland.org  or telephone 020 7898 1400, not later than Friday 22 June.  Please join the Friends of Lambeth Palace Library http://www.lambethpalacelibrary.org/content/friends

xxH5145 A4 1559 sig2A1r

Recently catalogued in the Sion College Library Collection

More and more of the Sion College collection is now available through our online catalogue for you to search – with almost 15,000 items to browse, many of which can be requested in the Reading Room.

Cataloguing continues to reveal not only interesting volumes, but also bibliographic insights into the history of the collection. Recent additions to the catalogue include this 1824 edition of Peter Schmidtmeyer’s Travels into Chile, over the Andes (B17.10/Sch5), which added colour to the cataloguer’s desk with the multiple hand-coloured lithographs which feature in the volume. From scenes of everyday life and cultural activities, to curious wildlife the book is one of a number of works to be found in Sion which examines travel and exploration.

B17.10_Sch5

One of the many lithographs to be found in B17.10/Sch5

An elusive armorial ink stamp was found in an early 18th century work called Jus canonicum universum which was written by Anaklet Reiffenstuel (A95.5/R27). Printed in black and featuring a coronet and fleurs-de-lis at its centre, the image is surrounded by text reading: “Scipio prior de Guglielmis”. Do you know anything about this former owner or do you have any ideas about their identity?

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Unidentified armorial ink stamp, A95.5/R27

If you’re interested in helping us to identify former owners or interpret inscriptions, you’ll be pleased to hear that there are now over 300 images which have been uploaded to the Sion Provenance Project so far. We’ve already received contributions and suggestions from people across the globe, but there are still plenty of pieces of detective work to be done and you can help. Why not go to the Project page and see what you can do? More images are being regularly added, so keep your eyes peeled.

The Sion Team will be heading to Crieff in May to give a presentation on the Sion Provenance Project at the Annual Meeting of the Independent Libraries Association. The talk will focus on the efforts that have been made to publicise the Sion College collection and engage the wider community through our crowdsourcing initiative. We want to inspire other libraries to engage with crowdsourcing and provenance research and we’re hoping that the Sion Provenance Project might be of especial interest to independent libraries who are seeking a novel means of capturing new audiences and expanding their reach.

Archive news

New acquisitions

The Friends of the Library have acquired a manuscript relating to the family of Daniel Wilson (1778-1858), Bishop of Calcutta, and a diary of Sir Henry Longley (1833-1899), son of Archbishop Longley.

Longley

Collections in focus

We continue to mark the centenary of the First World War with a blog post concerning Dick Sheppard, who ministered to soldiers at St Martin-in-the-Fields, and another relating to post-war clergy training. The archive collections document subjects which continue to be topical: the World Council of Churches, which celebrates its 70th anniversary, features in the papers of the prominent ecumenist Oliver Tomkins (1908-92), Bishop of Bristol. The evangelist Billy Graham features in the papers of several 20th-century Archbishops and other collections. Literary associations include the marriage record of the poet John Milton, whose Paradise Lost recently featured on Radio 4, and the writer Henry James, the origin of whose story The Turn of the Screw was told to him by Archbishop Benson at the Archbishops’ country residence, Addington Palace.

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The collection continues to support the Archbishop’s ministry, with an image from the Macdurnan Gospels forming a gift during a visit to Ireland. Both the Library and Record Centre feature in a new database recording collections relating to crime and punishment, including records of the National Police Court Mission, a forerunner of today’s probation service.

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Archives in print and the media

The 200th anniversary of the Incorporated Church Building Society, whose archive the Library holds including numerous church plans and other images, is marked by a new book. Other publications relating to the collections include an article on a portrait of Martin Luther formerly held in Lambeth Palace (Steffen Weisshaupt, “Anglican (Re-) Presentation? Two Paintings of Luther at Lambeth Palace”, Anglican and Episcopal History, vol 86, no 4, Dec 2017, pp. 396-418).

Free seats

In the Conservation studio…

Conservation StudioThis year in the conservation studio, conservator Alex Wade has been working on a funded project to clean and box 590 books in the early manuscript series. Here’s Alex to give an insight into what is involved in her work:

“These volumes contain some of our most precious and oldest pieces and are filthy. Dirt can penetrate the surface of the text and stain the material.

“I am completing anywhere between two to four books per day, the books get smaller in size as I progress through the series, meaning that I will be aiming to complete up to six books per day in the future. I am boxing one bay ahead of where I am cleaning to ensure that the material is transported safely from the store to the conservation studio. To do this I measure the book height, width, and depth and input those measurements into the Zund cutting machine and create a custom-made box. This protects the material from handling and storage damage, as well as defending it against the fire defence, water misting system we will have in place in the new library.

ToolsCleaning

“To do the cleaning I use a smoke sponge which is a natural material, soft sponge to wipe and dab away surface dirt. It is quite heavy duty and can remove a wide variety of surface debris. Once this has been done I go along the surface with a soft brush called a hake brush to make sure that there is no residue left behind.”

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Don’t forget you can also keep up-to-date with our news and events, and enjoy glimpses of some of the treasures in our collections, by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, as well as on our blog

Christmas update from the Library and Record Centre

Lambeth Palace Library and the Church of England Record Centre regularly embark on new projects and acquire and catalogue new material, from rare books and manuscripts to modern publications.  Every two months, we post here a brief update on some of our latest acquisitions, projects and upcoming events, to keep you up-to-date with our most recent news.

Happy Christmas from all the staff at Lambeth Palace Library and the Church of England Record Centre!  

Our Christmas opening times can be viewed here – we reopen after Christmas on Tuesday 2nd January. The online catalogues of both Lambeth Palace Library and the Church of England Record Centre (including our image database) can be searched via our website at any time.

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Library Advent Calendar!

Join us on Facebook for the final days of our Library Advent Calendar, as we open a door every morning onto a different Christmas scene from our collections.  Find our Facebook page here or follow the hashtag #LPLAdventCalendar.

Day 15 MU-PM-16-4-1This month’s new books!

Some highlights from our most recently acquired new books include:

For more regular updates on new accessions to the library, please follow us on Facebook.

Upcoming events

Dr David Starkey:  ‘Henry VIII and Luther: A Reappraisal’

StarkeyTuesday 6 February, 5.15pm (admittance not before 4.45pm)

David Starkey is the author of important books on Henry VIII and the Tudor court and is well known as a regular contributor to both radio and television. In association with the University of London seminar on the Religious History of Britain 1500-1800.  All are welcome, but those wishing to attend should book a free ticket at www.davidstarkeylambeth.eventbrite.co.uk, or email juliette.boyd@churchofengland.org not later than Friday 2 February.

An evening with the Library’s conservators, with an opportunity to view the conservation studio and discuss techniques and treatments with the Library’s conservation staff

Thursday 19 April, 6pm-7.30pm (admittance not before 5.45pm)

Conservation workTickets £15 per head (£10 for Friends of Lambeth Palace Library), to include a glass of wine. Numbers will be limited. Please note that the conservation studio is reached by a medieval spiral staircase. Friends and guests are welcome, but please book in advance with Juliette Boyd, Lambeth Palace Library, juliette.boyd@churchofengland.org  or telephone 020 7898 1400, not later than Friday 13 April.

News from the Archives

Newly-catalogued collections include papers of Derrick Sherwin Bailey (1910-84) [MSS 5124-5126], a clergyman who served on the Church of England Moral Welfare Council, dealing with issues of sexual ethics. He gave evidence to the Wolfenden Committee for its report on homosexuality, published in 1957. The material complements existing collections, including records of the Moral Welfare Council at the Church of England Record Centre.

Moral welfareThe Library also received the kind gift of an impression of the Vicar General’s seal, belonging to Archbishop Laud, recovered in digging the foundations of London Bridge in 1827, and presented by Viscount Melville to Archbishop Howley in 1830. It was formerly owned by Walter Money, the noted historian, antiquarian and archaeologist.

Vicar General Seal

The Friends of the Library purchased an unpublished treatise dating from c.1660 by an unnamed female writer [MS 5121] and a manuscript of three tracts from George Morley (d. 1684), Bishop of Worcester [MS 5122]. The Friends are also funding a further project to enhance catalogue descriptions to the records of the Court of Arches.

Further blog posts included information on the archive of Parish and People relating to movements for change in the 20th-century Church. The archive of the Council on Foreign Relations featured in the Church Times. The Library was used for filming for David Starkey’s ‘Reformation: Europe’s Holy War’. The Church of South India marked its 70th anniversary; the Library holds records relating to its inception in 1947. Events of interest to Library users include the Reformation London symposium and an exhibition at Fulham Palace, former home of the Bishops of London. Other useful resources, complementing sources in the Library relating to the Great War, include a digitised index of army chaplains from 1914-18 at the Museum of Army Chaplaincy.

Parish and people

Uncovering the history of books in the Sion College collection

The Sion College Library collection is more discoverable than ever before as we have continued to add records to our online catalogue. Along the way we are gaining some fascinating insights into the histories of some of the books in the collection. Interesting discoveries of monastic books have recently been made, including an edition of Giuseppe Simone Assemani’s (1687-1768) Kalendaria ecclesiae universae (A82.0/AS7), which was printed in Rome in 1755. Originally intended as a twelve-volume set, only six volumes were produced which were translated from Latin into Greek. The text examines the Church calendar and Slavic Christian Saints, but the provenance of this copy is particularly intriguing. Woodcut armorial bookplates appear on the endpapers of each volume along with a red armorial ink stamp on the half-title pages, evidence that the book once belonged to Kloster Muri (“Monasterii Murensis”), a Benedictine Cloister located near Muri in Aargau, Switzerland, that was abolished in 1841. From here it appears to have travelled to the nearby Aargauische Kantonsbibliothek (indicated by the red stamp), eventually forming part of Sion College’s holdings.

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Provenance of a more domestic nature appears in a collection of Lent-sermons, Quadriga salutis. Two early 18th century inscriptions were left by William Baker marking the birth of two of his children, who were named after their parents, Mary and William. It is not uncommon for significant family events to be found recorded in this way within a family Bible or on the flyleaves of another treasured book. They provide a useful document through which we can build an intimate picture of different households, charting their expansion and their unfortunate contraction following the passing of relatives. In this instance they also give us a charming insight into the possible accents and pronunciations used by the individuals, some of the text here being written out phonetically:

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“Mary Douglas of William and his wife, bourn ys th. 12th dey of Jan:ry helf anower before 12 of ye clock mid time a day” (A67.3a/C24 08,).

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“No[vem]b[e]r 15th 1717 Will son of Will Baker and Mary his wife was bourne at 3 of ye clock in ye morning” (A67.3a/C24 19).

Robert Beverley Jr. (ca. 1667-1722) was an historian of early colonial Virginia, as well as a planter and political figure. His most notable work is his History and Present State of Virginia, published originally in London in 1705, which documents the history of early life in the colony. This French translation held in the Sion collection was printed in Amsterdam in 1707 and is an unmatched source for the Virginia of its time with sections on Native Americans, politics, flora, fauna, and agriculture (B81.10/V81B). The book also has a noble provenance, containing the bookplate of Ludwig Rudolph (1671-1735), Duke of Braunschweig-Lüneburg and Prince of Wolfenbüttel.

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Other significant owners are also coming to light as we explore the Sion collection. A recent exciting find was the armorial binding of the Royalist Sir Nicholas Crisp (1599?-1666), with his gilt stamped arms appearing on Saint Thomas Aquinas’ Diui Thomae Aquinatis doctoris angelici Opera omnia  (A51.2/Aq5).

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The stamp was added to the Sion Provenance Project and we were subsequently contacted by the British Armorial Bindings Database, who informed us that is was as yet unrecorded. We are now contributing data relating to other stamps that have been identified, helping to update and extend the information already in the database.

Help us to uncover history on our Sion Provenance Project!

The Sion Provenance Project continues to grow with more material being added which you can peruse or you can offer us much appreciated help by having a go at deciphering inscriptions or identifying former owners of some of the Sion volumes. Perhaps over the Christmas period you might want to have a go?! We’d love to hear your comments and suggestions and we would be especially grateful if you could help us spread the word about the project and get more people involved!

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