The Sidney Psalms and Mary Herbert, Countess of Pembroke

Trinity College Library owns two manuscripts catalogued by M.R. James as ‘Sidney’s Version of the Psalms’ (O.1.51) and ‘Sir Philip Sidney's Metrical Version of the Psalms’ (R.3.16). In fact, these metrical paraphrases were authored by both Philip Sidney and his sister, Mary. It was Philip’s early death in 1586 which allowed his sister to emerge, …

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John Dryden: First Poet Laureate

Three hundred and fifty years ago this year, John Dryden (1631-1700), was appointed by Charles II as the first official holder of the position of Poet Laureate. Dryden was born in Aldwinkle and raised in Titchmarsh, both in Northamptonshire.  Later he was educated at Westminster School and then here at Trinity between 1650 and 1654. The …

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John Norden’s Maps of Cornwall

We have recently digitised Speculum Brittaniae (O.4.19) and in so doing were reminded of a piece of historical detective work undertaken in the 1970s. In the late 16th century, the cartographer John Norden (c. 1547-1625) began a project to produce a survey of every county in England as a series called Speculum Britanniae. The project …

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Recent Additions to the Wren Digital Library (6)

R.7.31, Commonplace Book of Edward VI This book is in the hand of King Edward VI, son of King Henry VIII and his third wife, Jane Seymour. Edward succeeded his father in 1547 and this book was written soon after. It is a collection of scriptural passages against idolatry which were copied into French for …

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Recent Additions to the Wren Digital Library (4): Prince Henry’s Copybooks

Prince Henry Frederick (1594 –1612) was the son of James VI of Scotland (also later James I of England) and Anne of Denmark. In his short lifetime, he was regarded as a young man of great promise - the ideal Renaissance prince - but he died of typhoid fever at the age of only 18. …

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Vortigern: A Shakespearean April Fool rediscovered after 220 years

The Wren Library was recently presented with a fascinating volume of documents of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, including the signed manuscript of his little-known play Vortigern. Only a handful of examples of Shakespeare’s handwriting are known to survive, and this new discovery plays a fascinating role in the history of Shakespearean authorship.   The manuscript …

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A Turkish Souvenir: The Dryden Album and Anglo-Ottoman Contact

This is the first of what we hope will become a series of guest blogs about material from the Library. Today's post is by Dr William Kynan-Wilson, Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Aalborg University and Associate Scholar, The Skilliter Centre for Ottoman Studies, University of Cambridge The late sixteenth century was a period of unprecedented contact between …

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