Warden Abbey Manuscripts

Trinity College Library has the largest collection of manuscripts in the country from the Cistercian Abbey of Warden in Bedfordshire. These 14 volumes have recently been digitised and are freely available online via the James Catalogue of Western Manuscripts. They can be viewed by selecting Warden Abbey from the drop-down list of religious houses as a field specific catalogue search. Alternatively you can use the following links:

B.3.22, Augustine

B.4.8, Gregorius, Moralia, XII–XXIII

B.4.11, Origenes, Homiliae

B.4.12, Gregorius; Origenes; Beda

B.4.13, Cassiodorus in Psalmos LI–C

B.4.14, Cassiodorus in Psalmos CI–CL

B.4.15, Augustinus, De verbis domini

B.4.16, Iohannes Chrysostomus, Hom. in Hebr., in Matt

B.4.17, Hieronymus in Ieremiam et Danielem

B.4.31, Ambrosii tractatus

B.4.32, Beda in Genesim, etc

B.5.11, Hieronymus in Isaiam

B.15.26, Hieronymus, De sacramentis I.

O.2.25, Ricardus de S. Victore

At the start of one of the Warden volumes (B.4.15) there is a list of titles headed by the name R. Manley. Of the 32 titles listed, 16 are in the Wren Library contained within the Warden volumes. One other title owned by the Library (B.3.23) appears on Manley’s list but has not, to date, been verified as from Warden. Manley has not been identified with certainty but this list suggests that Warden manuscripts were in his ownership in the 16th century. These titles were later included in a list in the College Memoriale (R.17.8)  – a volume describing benefactors to Trinity – as ‘ad collegium pertinentes’, ie ‘belonging to the college’. The placing of the list in the volume implies that the donation was made between 1633 and 1637, but there is no indication of who gave them. Former Librarian, Philip Gaskell suggested that they may have been received by the college in payment of a debt.

B.4.15, f.1v
R.17.8, f.115r

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of the Warden manuscripts date from the 12th/early 13th century which suggests that they were at the abbey soon after its foundation in 1135. The Abbey was surrendered to the Crown on 4th December 1537 and there is now nothing left of the original buildings. The photograph below shows only the remaining section of the 5-bedroom farmhouse built after the suppression by Robert Gostwick. The greater part of the farmhouse (often referred to as a mansion) was demolished c.1785 before the site was purchased by Samuel Whitbread.

Gostwick Mansion, south front © Margaret Roberts

Further Information can be found on the Medieval Libraries of Great Britain Database.

With thanks to Margaret Roberts.

 

 

 

The Wren Library by Mark Draper (2017)

Model of the Wren Library by Mark Draper, presented to the college in 2018.

Last week Trinity College received a very special gift. Since retiring from his career as a special needs teacher with curriculum responsibilities for creative arts, Mark Draper has combined his interests in architecture and ceramics by making clay models of favourite buildings. Mark has a studio at his home in Rushton, Northamptonshire, where he produces working drawings and plaster moulds enabling the construction of limited editions. His current project is to create models of buildings in Cambridge designed by Christopher Wren. A Perspex cover for the Wren model was donated by Michael Squire, a Member of College.

The model can currently be seen in the Wren Library during public opening hours.

Bindings in the Spotlight [3]

Image of binding by Paul Bonet for 1937 edition of Alphonse Daudet's Tartarin de Tarascon

Designed by the famous French binder Paul Bonet (1889-1971) in 1949, this is one of 28 different copies or versions of the 1937 edition of Alphonse Daudet’s ‘Aventures prodigieuses de Tartarin de Tarascon’ (Kessler.a.28).  Daudet’s 1872 novel concerns the town of Tarascon and the misadventures of a certain Tartarin:

“The Provençal town of Tarascon is so enthusiastic about hunting that no game lives anywhere near it, and its inhabitants resort to telling hunting stories and throwing their own caps in the air to shoot at them. Tartarin, a plump middle-aged man, is the chief “cap-hunter”, but following his enthusiastic reaction to seeing an Atlas lion in a travelling menagerie, the over-imaginative town understands him to be planning a hunting expedition to Algeria.

So as not to lose face, Tartarin is forced to go, after gathering an absurd mass of equipment and weapons. On the boat from Marseille to Algiers, he hooks up with a conman posing as a Montenegrin prince who takes advantage of him in multiple ways. Tartarin’s gullibility causes him a number of misadventures until he returns home penniless but covered in glory after shooting a tame, blind lion.”

Wikipedia

For more of Bonet’s designs, have a look at these wonderful examples.

From the Crewe Collection: Books belonging to Robert Southey

Robert Southey by Mary Dawson Turner (née Palgrave), after Thomas Phillips etching, (1815), NPG D15738

The Crewe collection contains four items belonging to the British poet, Robert Southey, who was born in in Bristol in 1774 and died in London in 1843.  He lived much of his life in Keswick where he supported, in addition to his own family, the wife of Coleridge and her three children after the poet abandoned them, as well as the widow of poet Robert Lovell and her son.

He published his first collection of poems in 1795 and in 1813 became Poet Laureate, a post he held until his death. Southey was a prolific poet, essayist, historian, travel-writer, biographer, translator and polemicist. Although he is little read today, Southey was an influential and controversial figure in British culture from the mid-1790s through to the mid-1830s.

Letters Written During a Short Residence in Spain and Portugal (1797), made use of letters Southey had written to friends during his time in the Iberian Peninsula, blurring the boundaries between private and public correspondence. In 1807 he returned to the epistolary travel book genre, publishing Letters from England under the pseudonym of Don Manuel Alvarez Espriella, an account of a tour supposedly from a foreigner’s viewpoint. This was one of Southey’s best-selling publications. He also published a History of the Peninsular War, in 3 volumes between 1823 and 1832.

Crewe 31/17

Southey’s interest in Spain is reflected in his ownership of a rare copy of the book, Memoires Curieux Envoyez de Madrid (1690) [Crewe 31.17] which he inscribed on the title page and dated London 1820.

This book covers topics such a bull-fighting, maxims and proverbs of Spain and the custom of infant betrothal in the Spanish Royal family.

He also owned

Antoniana Margarita, opus nempè physicis, medicis, ac theologis, non minus utile, quàm necessarium  by  Gometium Pereyram, medicum Methynæ Duelli, quae Hispanorum lingua  appellatur. (1749) [Crewe Collection]

This copy is interesting as it was annotated by Coleridge in 1812.  Writing in Keswick, he used the front fly leaf to address Southey and disparage his interest in bullfights.  He wrote:

P.22. Notice this, dearest Southey! as a curious specimen of the argumentum ad hominem from the Spanish Metaphysician to his Spanish Readers!  If you do not admit the cogency of these & the following arguments, it is impossible for you without the most flagrant, as well as demonstrable inhumanity, or rather anti-christian atrocity, to continue to enjoy Bullfights!

Front flyleaf verso from Antoniana Margarita
Crewe 31.5

The third book in the Crewe collection owned by Southey is Les imaginaires, ou, Lettres sur l’heresie imaginaire by Sr. de Damvilliers (1667) [Crewe 31.5 & 6]. This bears an ink inscription on the verso of the flyleaf preceding the title page: Robert Southey, Rouen 5 Sept. 1838. This work is a defence of the Jansenist schools of Port Royal against the Jesuits who brought about their closure in 1660.

The final book from Southey’s library is

Antient Christianity revived: being a description of the doctrine, discipline and practice, of the little city of Bethania. Collected out of her great charter, the Holy Scriptures, and confirmed by the same, for the satisfaction and benefit of the house of the poor by William Pardoe. (1688) [Crewe 74.17]

This book, written by a Baptist pastor who spent some weeks in prison for attending a Nonconformist meeting in 1683, contains the autograph of Robert Southey on the title page: Robert Southey. Keswick 16 Nov. 1829.

Southey was interested in religious topics. He wrote The Life of Wesley in 1820 [V.23.35 & V.23.36] and The book of the Church in 1824 [Grylls 25.247 & Grylls 25.248].


Footnote: The etching of Southey at the start of the post is by Mary Dawson Turner. Mary was the wife of the botanist, banker and antiquary Dawson Turner (1775-1858) whose extensive collection of letters is kept in Trinity College Library (catalogued here).