Two books from the library of Sir Hans Sloane

Two books from the library of Sir Hans Sloane

The Byble in Englyshe. [London]: Edward Whitchurch, 1540/1541(Dean and Chapter of Canterbury)

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. In his will, Sloane offered his collection to the nation on provision of £20,000 for his heirs which was much less than the real value of the books. Parliament accepted the offer and in 1759 his library became one of the founding collections in the library of the newly established British Museum, together with the library of Sir Robert Cotton and the Old Royal Library, given by King George II. Sloane’s contribution to this new national library has been estimated at about 50,000 volumes.

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Rats in the organ

Rats in the organ at Canterbury Cathedral in 1674 

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Hand-blown organ (YouTube)

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

Cornetts and sackbuts

Cornetts and sackbuts in Canterbury Cathedral at the Restoration (1660)

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Sackbuts and cornetts from Michael Praetorius, Syntagma musicum, 1614-1620 (Wikipedia)

In May 1660, the monarchy was restored in England after the period of Cromwell’s Commonwealth. On his return from exile in France, King Charles II stopped overnight in Canterbury on his way from Dover to London and attended a service at Canterbury Cathedral. Only two of the twelve canons were still alive at the Restoration and new appointments had to be made but the Cathedral administration was soon up and running again and its liturgy and music were revived.

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