By the year 1500, the printing industry was over forty years old and had spread to all the major centres of Europe. Many institutional libraries were starting to add printed books to their collections and were even discarding manuscript copies from their shelves in favour of the new ‘modern’ products of the printing press. It is not easy to document this process from surviving books as many must survive without any indication of their original owner, whether personal or institutional. It is still the case that relatively few British libraries have fully researched and made available the provenances of items in their collections, though this situation is slowly improving. Read more
While looking for something else in the Cathedral Treasurer’s Book for 1743/44 (CCA-DCc-TB/79), I came across the following entry on page 68:
Nov 9 Given to the Soldiers who guarded the Play-house Nov: 5. to keep off the Mob from rushing on the Dean & Prebs whilst the Kings Scholars were acting before them the Tragedy of Cato. [£] – 10-6 Read more
In 2005 an old friend, the late Kenneth Pinnock, published a small autobiographical booklet called Wheels: A Boy in Canterbury in the 1920s. He described the premises of his father’s horse-drawn haulage, taxi and bus business in St George’s Lane with its stable block in the Mews:
an acre or thereabouts of yards, stables and garages stretching from the main entrance on Watling Street to the double doors at the rear which faced down St George’s Lane. Adjoining this rear entrance there was a collection of tarred timber buildings in Gravel Walk which seemed to have come straight out of some farmyard.
(Kenneth Pinnock, Wheels, 2005, p. 4.)
The Treasurer’s Book for 1676/1677 (CCA DCc/TB-13) has several records of payments relating to the Chapter Library which had been newly built ten or twelve years earlier. The half-yearly stipend for Arthur Kay the Library Keeper is recorded as £2–10–0 and that of his deputy John Sargenson as £1–0–0 (p. 61). Under the heading Expensae necessariae incertae (Necessary miscellaneous expenses, p. 77), Dr Peter Du Moulin, the Treasurer for that year, records for 19 January 1677 the payment of five shillings ‘For halfe yeares wages to ye woman that cleanseth ye Library’ together with a further two shillings ‘For mops & brooms &c for the Library’. There then follows a similar small payment of two shillings ‘For taking off the chains from the books’. Read more
The Rev. Dr Thomas Coombe (1747–1822) was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where his father was health officer of the port of Philadelphia. He was educated at the Academy and College of Philadelphia (now the University of Pennsylvania) taking his bachelor’s degree in 1766 and master’s degree in 1768. The College’s founding president was Benjamin Franklin, a friend of Coombe’s father.
Thomas Coombe then travelled to England to seek ordination in the Church of England, staying for a time in London with Benjamin Franklin at his house at 36 Craven Street (near present-day Trafalgar Square) when Franklin was serving as the London agent for the Pennsylvania Assembly and then as Postmaster for the British North American colonies. Read more
Robert Hunt (c. 1568–1608) was vicar of Reculver from 1595 to 1602, at which date he moved to the diocese of Chichester to become vicar of Heathfield. He was probably born around 1568/69 and educated at Magdalen College, Oxford (BA 1592; MA 1595). Read more
Unlocking the Chest: financial record-keeping at Canterbury Cathedral in the late 17th century
At the St Katherine’s Audit each November, the Dean and Chapter drew up an account of the Cathedral’s wealth in a single sheet document headed ‘The State of the Church’. The Cathedral Archives has a continuous series of these records from 1679 to 1712 (DCc/SC1-32; 1680 is missing). Read more
On 10 June 1647 the Westminster Parliament passed an ordinance declaring that the celebration of Christmas was a punishable offence. There had been long-standing opposition on the part of the Puritans to the festivities of the twelve nights of Christmas and to special church services to mark Christmas Day. Read more
Sir Hans Sloane MD, FRS, FRCP (1660–1753), was a celebrated 18th-century physician and scientist. He was a royal physician to Queen Anne, George I and George II, and President of the Royal Society from 1727 to 1740. He was also President of the Royal College of Physicians. More importantly (if that is possible) he accumulated one of the largest collections of books of his time, particularly strong in scientific and medical works. Read more
Rats in the organ at Canterbury Cathedral in 1674
In 1674, the Treasurer’s Book at Canterbury Cathedral records an ongoing problem in dealing with rats who were nesting in the organ bellows.
In the days before electric motors, the wind for a church organ had to be produced by human muscle in the form of a mechanical bellows made of wood and leather, a perfect home (and food) for a family of rats. Read more