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