A discussion of interesting books from my current stock A site


November 2017

Kircher and The first published illustration of a magic lantern.

This part one of a group of blogs on Kircher’s  Ars magna lucis et umbrae this books covers such a broad scope I’ve picked a few subjects to focus on and today Will be the Macic Latern  “De Lucerna[e] Magicae”

720G Athanasius Kircher 1602-1680


Athanasi Kircheri Fuldensis Buchonii è Soc. Jesu presbyteri ars magna lucis et umbræ, in X. libros digesta. Quibus admirandæ lucis & umbræ in mundo, atque adeò universa natura, vires effectusque uti nova, ita varia novorum reconditiorumque speciminum exhibitione, ad varios mortalium usus, panduntur. Editio altera priori multò auctior.


Amstelodami,  Joannem Janssonium à Waesberge, & hæredes Elizæi Weyerstraet. 1671 .


Folio *4, **4, ***6, (*)2, A-Xxxx4 Second Enlarged edition. This copy is bound in contemporary calf with nicely gilt spine.


DSC_0001Kircher’s Major Scientific Work and his Principal Contribution to Optics”In Ars magna lucis et umbrae Kircher discusses the sources of light and shadow. The work deals especially with the sun, moon, stars and planets. Kircher also treats phenomena related to light, such as optical illusions, color and refraction, projection and distortion, comets, eclipses, and instruments that use light, such as sundials and mirrors. He theorizes about the type of mirror supposed to have been used by Archimedes to set Roman ships afire, drawing from notes of his own experiments performed in the harbor of Syracuse. The work includes one of the first treatises on phosphorous and fireflies. Here Kircher also published his depictions of Saturn and Jupiter as he saw them through a telescope in Bologna in 1643. On that occasion he observed that the planets were neither perfectly round nor self-luminous, contrary to the popular Aristotelian belief that they are perfect, unchanging spheres.”Kircher takes a great interest in sundials and mirrors in this book, and several interesting engravings are of fanciful sundials. He had written extensively on these subjects on his previous work, the Primitiae gnomonicae catoptricae. In Ars magna lucis et umbrae Kircher also discusses an odd ancestor of the modern projector: a device called the ‘magic lantern,’ of which he is generally, though erroneously, considered the inventor. “Before writing this work, Kircher had read Kepler’s Ad vitellionem paralipomena (1604), the first modern work on optics and was influenced to some extent by it. The Ars magna lucis et umbrae reveals Kircher’s contribution as an astute observer and cataloguer of natural phenomena” (Merrill)

Kircher and the Magic Lantern

Invented by Huygens in 1656, the magic lantern was the precursor of both the slide machine and the motion-picture projector. It was disseminated with great success to the public throughout the 1660s by the entrepreneurial Thomas Rasmussen Walgenstein who was also the one who had christened Huygens’ device the “magic lantern”. Impressed by the magical device’s growing popularity, Kircher includes the first illustrated description of the magic lantern, “De Lucerna[e] Magicae seu Thaumaturgae Constructione”, on page 768 of his second edition of Ars magna lucis et umbrae published in Amsterdam in 1671. (Devices of Wonder, p. 297).

Prominent Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens, is nowadays widely accepted as the true inventor of the magic lantern. He knew Athanasius Kircher’s 1646 edition of Ars Magna Lucis et Umbrae which described a primitive projection system with a focusing lens and text or pictures painted on a concave mirror reflecting sunlight. Christiaan’s father Constantijn had been acquainted with Cornelis Drebbel who used some unidentified optical techniques to transform himself and summon wonderful appearances in magical performances. Constantijn Huygens wrote very enthusiastically about a camera obscura device that he got from Drebbel in 1622.
Probably the oldest document concerning the magic lantern is a page on which Christiaan 1659_huygens_-_figure1Huygens made ten small sketches of a skeleton taking off its skull, above which he wrote “for representations by means of convex glasses with the lamp” (translated from French). As this page was found between documents dated in 1659, it is believed to also have been made in 1659.
Huygens probably only constructed the lantern to amuse young family members and soon seemed to regret it, as he thought it was too frivolous. In a 1662 letter to his brother Lodewijk he claimed he thought of it as some old “bagatelle” and seemed convinced that it would harm the family’s reputation if people found out the lantern came from him. Christiaan had reluctantly sent a lantern to their father, but when he realized that Constantijn intended to show the lantern to the court of King Louis XIV of France at the Louvre, Christiaan asked Lodewijk to sabotage the lantern.
Huygens’ 1694 laterna magica sketch, showing: “speculum cavum (hollow mirror). lucerna (lamp). lens vitrea (glass lens). pictura pellucida (transparent picture). lens altera (other lens). paries (wall).” Christiaan initially referred to the magic lantern as “la lampe” and “la lanterne”, but in the last years of his life he used the then common term “laterna magica” in some notes. In 1694 he drew the principle of a “laterna magica” with two lenses.
Walgensten’s magic lantern as illustrated in Dechales Cursus seu mundus mathematicus (1674)  Thomas Rasmussen Walgensten, a Danish mathematician, studied at the university of Leyden in 1657-58 and was acquainted with Christiaan Huygens. It is unclear if one was inspired by the other or if they even may have collaborated on the development of the magic lantern. At least from 1664 until 1670 Walgensten was giving magic lantern shows in Paris, Lyon, Rome and Copenhagen, and he “sold such lanterns to different Italian princes in such an amount that they now are almost everyday items in Rome” according to Athanasius Kircher in 1671. When Walgensten projected an image of Death at the court of King Frederick III of Denmark some courtiers were scared, but the king dismissed their cowardice and requested to repeat the figure three times. The king died a few days later.



One of Christiaan Huygens’ contacts imagined in how Athanasius Kircher would use the magic lantern: “If he would know about the invention of the Lantern he would surely frighten the cardinals with specters.”   Athanasius Kircher would learn about the existence of the magic lantern via Thomas Walgensten and introduced it as “Lucerna Magica” in the widespread 1671 second edition of this book Ars Magna Lucis et Umbrae. Kircher claimed that Thomas Walgensten reworked his ideas from the previous edition of this book into a better lantern.

Kircher described this improved lantern, but it was illustrated in a confusing manner:

dsc_0092 the pictures seem technically incorrect with both the projected image and the transparencies  shown upright (while the text states that they should be drawn in an inverted position), the hollow mirror is too high in one picture and absent in the other, and the lens (I) seems to be placed at the wrong side of the slide. Experiments with a construction as illustrated in Kircher’s book proved that it could work as a point light-source projection system. The projected image in one of the illustrations shows a person in purgatory or hellfire and the other depicts Death with a scythe and an hourglass.

dsc_0080-2According to legend Kircher secretly used the lantern at night to project the image of Death on windows of apostates to scare them back into church. Kircher did suggest in his book that an audience would be more astonished by the sudden appearance of images if the lantern would be hidden in a separate room, so the audience would be ignorant of the cause of their appearance.
The earliest reports and illustrations of lantern projections suggest that they were all intended to scare the audience. French engineer Pierre Petit, who saw a show by Walgensten, called the apparatus “lanterne de peur” (lantern of fear) in a 1664 letter to Huygens. Surviving lantern plates and descriptions from the next decades prove that the new medium was not just used for horror shows, but that all kinds of subjects were projected.

De Backer Sommervogel IV, col. 1050, no.9 ; Ferguson I.466; Vagnetti EIIIb42; this edition not in Merrill or Becker; Barbara Maria Stafford & Frances Terpak, Devices of Wonder, (Getty, 2001); Linda Hall Library, Jesuit Science, 10; Kemp, Science of Art, pp. 191 (camera obscura); Harvey, Luminescence, pp. 103ff; Wheeler 169 (1671 ed.).; Caillet 5770

Joco-seriorum naturæ et artis, sive, Magiæ naturalis centuriæ tres

679G Gaspar Schott ( Aspasius Caramuelius) ; Athanasius Kircher 1608-1666

Joco-seriorum naturæ et artis, sive, Magiæ naturalis centuriæ tres, das ist, Drey-Hundert nütz- und lustige Sätze allerhand merckwürdiger Stücke, von Schimpff und Ernst, genommen auss der Kunst und Natur, oder natürlichen Magia Athanasii Kicheri Diatribe .



Franckfurt am Mayn : In Verlegung Johann Arnold Cholin,1672 $SOLD

Quarto 8 X 5 inches [6] unsigned leaves, A-Z4, Aa-Tt4. First Edition This copy is bound in full contemporary sheep.  DSC_0035 Rare first (?) German trsl. of this esoteric work by the German Jesuit and scientist G. Schott (1608-1666) describing scientific and magical tricks to show that science can be fun and enjoyable. There are twenty two engraved plates. (some folding) depicting how these incentions work for example how to build a fireplace and prevent chimney fires, how to walk on water or how to catch fish with your hands.

DSC_0037Bound after the Schott work is a treais by Athanasius Kircher, titled “Diatribe, Oder Beweisschrifft”. Ms. ownership entry “Joannes Michaël Jenigen, jurisprudentia et (…) professor”.

DeBacker-Sommervogel vol.VII col.911 no.13 ; Faber du Faur,; no. 1011; [Caillet 10003 and cf. Caillet 10002] ;. VD-17 14:637268W




Gaspar Schott, S.J. was born in Koenigshofen, Germany and died in in Augsburg. He studied in Sicily and later worked with Athanasius Kircher in Rome for three years before returning to Germany in 1655 where he was appointed professor of mathematics at Augsburg. He edited a number of books by Kircher, e.g., Pantometricum Kircherianum and Iter Extaticum Coeleste. He was asked by Otto von Guericke to describe the experiment of the exhausted hemisphere, and his dramatic sketch of this experiment at Magdeburg has been copied for centuries in physics textbooks. Schott added as an appendix to his Mechanica Hydraulio-pneumatica (1657) a detailed account of Guericke’s experiments on vacuums, the earliest published report of this work.

As a result of these publications Schott became the center of correspondence, as other scientists wrote to inform him of their inventions and discoveries. Schott exchanged several letters with von Guericke,seeking to draw him out by suggesting new problems, and then he published his later investigations. He also corresponded with Huygens and was the first to make Boyle’s investigations on the air pump widely known in Germany. Even though he personally held the Aristotelian abhorrence of a vacuum, he was open to new information from experiments and rendered great service to Germany by encouraging experimentation.

He was the author of a number of works on mathematics, physics, and magic. They are a mine of curious facts and observations and were formerly much read. His most interesting work is the “Magia universalis naturæ et artis”, 4 vols., Würtzburg, 1657-1659, which contains a collection of mathematical problems and a large number of physical experiments, notably in optics and acoustics.  He also published “Pantometricum Kircherianum” (Würtzburg, 1660); “Physica curiosa” (Würtzburg, 1662), a supplement to the “Magia universalis”; “Anatomia physico-hydrostatica fontium et fluminum” (Würtzburg, 1663), and a “Cursus mathematicus” which passed through several editions. He also edited the “Itinerarium extacticum” of Kircher and the “Amussis Ferdidindea” of Curtz. (CE)


The demonstration of Antichrist

This rare[N.America :Folger & Huntington (only) ] little book in quite a formal way “And this we thus proue:” By quoting Church fathers, from Clemens Romanus to St Augustine, that the Pope must be the Anti-christ.



*** 670G   Gurnay, Edmund.      1577±1648

The demonstration of Antichrist. By Edmund Gurnay, Bach. Theol. p. of Harpley Norfolke London:Printed by I[ohn] B[eale] for Iames Boler, and are to be sold at the signe of the Marigold in Pauls Churchyard 1631         $2,900

Octavo, 5 1/4 X 3 1/4 inches. First edition A12,B5{ lacking b6 Blank}. This copy is bound in calf boards rebacked.

Gurney matriculated at Queens’ College, Cambridge, on 30 October 1594, and DSC_0007graduated B.A. in 1600. He was elected Norfolk fellow of Corpus Christi College in 1601, proceeded to M.A. in 1602, and B.D. in 1609. In 1607 he was suspended from his fellowship for not being in orders, but was reinstated by the vice-chancellor. In 1614 he left Cambridge, on being presented to the rectory of Edgefield, Norfolk, which he held till 1620, when he received that of Harpley, Norfolk. Gurney was inclined to puritanism, as appears from his writings. On one occasion he was cited to appear before the bishop for not using a surplice, and on being told he was expected to always wear it, ‘came home, and rode a journey with it on.’ He further made his citation the occasion for publishing his tract vindicating the Second Commandment. Thomas Fuller, who was personally acquainted with him, says: ‘He was an excellent scholar, could be humourous, and would be serious as he was himself disposed. His humours were never prophane towards God or injurious towards his neighbours.’ Gurney died in 1648. Gurney was married, and apparently had a son called Protestant (d. 1624—monument at Harpley). DNB STC (2nd ed.), 12529 [Stationer’s Register: Entered 29 January [1631.] Copies – N.America :Folger & Huntington (only) Fuller’s Worthies, p. 258, ed. 1652

British Library Item details – Standard format



HEE that professeth himselfe the su­preme head of the Church of Christ, and yet forceth men, vpon paine of death, to blaspheme Christ, Hee is Anti­christ.

Because it cannot be imagined how any power vpon earth can more cunningly, and out of a dee­per mysterie doe Christ such v­niuersall mischiefe.

But the Pope of Rome does professe himselfe the Supreme head of the Church of Christ, (and that is granted) and yet for­ceth men vpon paine of death, (both temporall and eternall) to blaspheme Christ.

And this we thus proue:

Hee that forceth men vpon paine of death to grant, that there is no other Christ but He whose perfit Body, Soule, and Deity hath, for these 1600. yeers last past, beene ordinarily present amongst men vnder that particu­lar forme which immediately before the speaking of a few words was the forme of a sense­lesse creature, and in that forme does enter into the mouthes of liuing creatures▪ he forceth men to blaspheme Christ.

Because this position does blas­pheme,

  • The Manhood of Christ.
  • The God-head of Christ.
  • The Maiesty of Christ.
  • The Holinesse of Christ.
  • The Iustice of Christ.
  • The Mercy of Christ.
  • The Wisdome of Christ.
  • The Power and Word of Christ.

First, it blasphemes the man­hood  of Christ; because it giues Him such a Body as in the out­ward eyes of those that are pre­sent with Him hath no more si­militude with the body of a man than a chip or a stone.

Secondly, it blasphemeth His  God-head; because it supposeth the Creator to be ordinarily vni­ted vnto the forme of a creature.

Thirdly, it blasphemeth his Maiesty; because it giues Him ….



and Gurnay End with….


For though this law was en­acted when the Popes authority was suppressed, yet did it take the beginning from the Church of Rome: and a little after, in the reigne of Quene Mary, was exe­cuted to the full, by vertue of the Romish authority.

Our Demonstration there­fore is most plaine, and let hea­ […]en and earth bee Iudge of it.

Hee that professeth himselfe the Supreme head of the Church of Christ, and yet forceth men […]pon paine of death (both tem­porall and eternall) to blas­pheme Christ; hee is Anti­christ.

But the Pope of Rome so pro­fesseth, and so inforceth.

Therefore En & ecce Antichri­stum.






A survey of the cities of London and Westminster

“Because I know that time is always time

And place is always place and only place

And what is actual is actual only for one time

And only for one place”

Ash Wednesday T.S. Eliot. 1930


Before giving a description of such a momentous book, I feel a bit of framing is due. Much has been written about this wonderful huge book, yet I feel it is necessary to state that this book is indispensable for anyone doing research on any subject relating to Early Modern London. Stow’s initial foray into the subject set the bar high for detailed description of the physical and social environment of London. This edition, by far the best is the work of three generations of Antiquaries, the catalogues of books, records and manuscripts excerpted is impressive in its own right and would be an irreplaceable library on its own. But this work is manifest of cultural shifts and maintains differing scholars approaches to understanding of the recording and preserving of cultural heritage, the list of subscribers depicts the capital invested in this undertaking.


947G      John Stow   1525-1605


A survey of the cities of London and Westminster: containing the original, antiquity, increase, modern estate and government of those cities. Written at first in the year MDXCVIII. By John Stow, citizen and native of London. Since reprinted and augmented by A.M. H.D. and other. Now lastly, corrected, improved, and very much enlarged: and the survey and history brought down from the year 1633, (being near fourscore years since it was last printed) to the present time; by John Strype, M.A. a native also of the said city. Illustrated with exact maps of the city and suburbs, and of all the wards; and likewise of the out-parishes of London and Westminster: together with many other fair draughts of the more eminent and publick edifices and monuments. In six books. To which is prefixed, the life of the author, writ by the editor. At the end is added, an appendiz of certain tracts, discourses and remarks, concerning the state of the city of London. Together with a perambulation, or circuit-walk four or five miles round about London, to the parish churches: describing the monuments of the dead there interred: with other antiquities observable in those places. And concluding with a second appendix, as a supply and review: and a large index of the whole work.


London: printed for A. Churchill, J. Knapton, R. Knaplock, J. Walthoe, E. Horne, B. Tooke, D. Midwinter, B. Cowse, R. Robinson, and T. Ward, 1720                  $18,000  


Two Folio volumes 15 1/4 X 9 inches.

vol I :Map of London, π2, (B)-(D)2,(a)-(d)4,(e)-(f)2 Q2, A-Z4, Aa-Pp4,Qq2,[end of first book]  B-Z4, Aa-Dd4,[end of second book] A-Z4, Aa-mm4,Nn3 [end of 3rd book]

vol II : π1,A-P4, A-Z4, Aa-Zz4, Aaa- Lll4, Mmm2 [end of book V] A-Z4, Aa-KK4, Ll-Rr2.  Each of the 6 ’books’ has its own pagination, and is introduced by a drop-head title.

There are 70 full Page (and 30 of those folding) Maps and Plates .

The Fold-out of “Elizabethan London ” is lacking as in many copies,  otherwise these two volumes are complete and almost in perfect condition, The Large foldout map of the city of London  DSC_0245has been reinforced on the back and there are a few pages with margin repairs not touching the text. All the pages are crisp and clean. It is truly a stunning copy.

DSC_0222This copy is beautifully and expertly bound in modern quarter calf, over marbled boards, quite a Stately set of volumes indeed! . The binding is in fine working order.

“In the century following Stow’s death, however, the Tudor capital so lovingly depicted and recorded in Stow’s Survey was dramatically transformed. The huge growth of the metropolis, the devastation wrought by the Great Fire of 1666 and the subsequent rebuilding of the City made an updating of the Survey highly desirable. It was to answer this need that John Strype (1643-1737), the ecclesiastical historian and biographer, published a new, hugely expanded version of Stow’s Survey of London in 1720.”

First Issue with “1698” for 1598 on the title page (?) John Stow’s Survey of London, first published in 1598, brims with amusing descriptions and anecdotes as well as highly detailed accounts of the buildings, social conditions and customs of the time, based on a wide range of classical and medieval historical literature, public and civic records, and Stow’s own intimate knowledge of the city where he spent his life. “The reader of A Survey travels with Stow through each of the city’s wards and the adjoining city of Westminster, learns about the wall, bridges, gates, and parish churches . . . DSC_0232 2[Stow] also records the negative aspects of urban growth, in the shape of unsightly sprawl, filth, the destruction of ancient monuments, and above all poverty. His book approaches the thoroughness of an encyclopaedia . . . It is noteworthy that while Camden’s Britannia was written in Latin for the educated élite, Stow’s Survey was composed in the language of his fellow countrymen.” This edition, of 1720, greatly expanded with interpolated amendments by John Strype, is considered the best and most desirable.

DSC_0235 “Throughout his life at Low Leyton, Strype crossed the River Lea into London each week to meet and converse with his antiquarian friends and to call on his contacts in the book trade. . . . The Survey had been repeatedly revised and enlarged in order to keep up with the changing aspect of the post-fire city, now much expanded and altered in its religion and other ways. . . . Although Strype had arranged most of the work by 1707, and the engravings had been prepared, it was set aside after the publication of Edward Hatton’s New View of London in 1708, which seemed to cover much the same ground and was considerably smaller and cheaper. . . . Finally, once the defects of Hatton’s book were acknowledged another agreement in November 1716 led to the Survey’s publication at the end of 1720. . . . The print run was probably more than 500 copies . . . To quote Merritt, ‘By this stage the Survey has a multiple personality, switching with little warning from nostalgic Elizabethan antiquary [Stow] . . . to diligent post-Restoration recorder of events [Strype] and back again’ (Merritt, 87).” (ODNB).


Richard Grafton] had the audacity to enter into historical controversy (impar congressus) with the great John Stow. This ‘merry old man,’ footing it over England in search of Antiquities because he could never learn to ride, sometimes suspected by Government of being insufficiently Protestant, now begging with a basin in the street, now spending £200 a year on his library, holds a very high place in the history of learning. Even those who, like Camden, distrusted his judgment, allowed his industry. His Chaucer (1561) was his first but by no means his best work: he helped to swell the Chaucerian apocrypha. His Summary of English Chronicles (1565) looks at first like a retrogression from Hall; we are back at the annalistic form and the London tradition with its lists of bailiffs and mayors. But the important thing is that Stow is not a mere compiler but (as we call it) a ‘researcher.’ He uses the literary sources but he adds ‘paynfull searche’ into records, and ‘diligent experience.’ He collected not only books but charters and legal documents. He bought up the collections of others, and his own assisted both Speght and Parker. In 1580 came the Chronicle of English from Brute unto this present year, re-issued in 1592 as the Annals. The Survey of London (1598) was re-issued in 1603 and afterwards enlarged by other hands.

DSC_0238Its modern editor finds this work ‘instinct with’ a ‘life’ which the Annals lack. It is a treasure–house of old customs, old splendors, old gaieties and hospitalities, already vanished or vanishing when the author wrote. Stow had no stylistic ambitions; his works were, as he said ‘written homely.’ His prose varies between mere note–making (see the account of printing under year 1458 in the Summary) and tolerably vivid narrative. In general it is just such an unobtrusive medium as keeps our attention on the facts, and therefore good for its purpose; recte olet ubi nihil olet.” (page 298-299, English Literature in the Sixteenth Century, C.S. Lewis)
 Maslen & Lancaster. Bowyer ledgers, 584; Lowndes V, 2526. Gibson’s Library, p. 258. ESTC Citation No. T48975.




Strype’s Survey of London


University of Nottingham

The creation of the 1720 edition

If John Stow’s Survey of London is probably the most famous single work ever written about England’s capital, then the enlarged and updated edition of the same book published some 120 years later by the famous ecclesiastical historian John Strype surely stands as one of the most remarkable works of scholarship ever produced about the city, and is regarded even today as a standard and invaluable work of reference for historians of the capital. Just as London’s boundaries and population had vastly expanded in the years between Stow and Strype’s works, so Strype’s edition dwarfs Stow’s original work. In two stout folio volumes, Strype’s monumental composition provides not just an updated account of the City that brings it down to the early eighteenth century, but also vastly extends the work’s range both geographically (to take in the sprawling suburbs of the metropolis) and thematically (to discuss a panoply of new subjects, from the Great Fire and the provision of water and public health to workhouses and the Bank of England). This is combined with a famous collection of ward and parish maps, and a fine set of plates of prominent buildings. The whole is appropriately preceded by the first detailed life of John Stow, with a full-page reproduction of his funeral monument. 1

The Survey of London is a work which has attracted many different editors in its history, and Strype’s own remarkable edition cannot be used effectively without an understanding of its relationship to the original and subsequent texts of this remarkable work.

John Stow’s own Survey of London was first published in 1598. But he did not intend this to be his last word on the subject. In 1603 he published a new edition with many important corrections and additions, and he clearly intended to embark on further elaborations and refinements, prevented only by his death in 1605. Work on a new edition of the Survey began not long after Stow’s death. His first posthumous editor was the incorrigible Anthony Munday — playwright, pageant-writer, polemicist, and (apparently) a spy reporting against both puritans and Catholics. Munday claimed of Stow that, while still alive, ‘much of his good mind he had formerly imparted to me, and some of his best collections lovingly delivered me, prevailing with mee ? to proceed in the perfecting of a Worke so worthy’. 2 Munday’s new edition of the Survey, published in 1618, sought to update Stow’s text in a number of ways. Another edition, published in 1633 after Munday’s death, took things further, including a substantial new section entitled ‘A Returne to London’, which sets out to document a resurgence in London church repair, rebuilding and beautification, undertaking a parish-by-parish survey of the capital’s churches. A further bizarre appendix presents an accumulation of miscellaneous, almost random, material, under the title ‘The Remaines or Remnants of Divers Worthy Things which should have had their Due Place and Honour in this Worke, if Promising Friends had Kept their Words’. 3

The unwieldy sprawl of Munday’s 1633 edition showed that Stow’s work clearly required a more effective editor. Nevertheless, no further editions of Stow were attempted. Instead, the text of the Survey (usually the 1633 edition) was raided by later authors for material that they could insert into their own works on London. This was the case in James Howell’s Londinopolis (1657) and Thomas de Laune’s The Present State of London (1681; 2nd ed 1690). In 1694 a concerted attempt was made by Richard Blome (who had produced a new edition of William Camden’s Britannia in 1673) to complete a new edition of Stow’s Survey ‘with large additions and improvements’. While new maps and much new text were generated, however, the edition itself was never published. 4

In 1702, two of the publishers involved in the abortive 1694 edition of the Survey drew up an agreement to edit the Survey with one of those writers who had initially been approached to provide materials for the 1694 edition. This was John Strype. Strype is best known to us as an ecclesiastical historian, but also enjoyed fame as an accomplished editor of texts and historical documents, including an immensely popular account of Ceylon (and indeed, his ecclesiastical annals and biographies were often essentially compendia of extracts of transcribed documents). His edition of the Survey was apparently completed by November 1707, but Strype and his publishers then found that booksellers would not accept the work because of the simultaneous publication of a much slimmer and cheaper rival — Edward Hatton’s New View of London — which used significant amount of materials from Stow (although self-consciously abandoning Stow’s structure and methodology). Like Blome’s edition, Strype’s 1708 Survey was therefore aborted. Nevertheless, the deficiencies of Hatton’s work meant that the demand for a scholarly updating of Stow’s Survey were undiminished, and by the second half of 1716 the edition was back on track, and Strype’s edition of the Survey was finally published in December 1720. The work, in two folio volumes, was priced at a princely six guineas, and somewhere between 500 and 700 copies were published, with 271 subscribers listed in the work itself. 5

The drawn-out process by which Strype’s edition emerged can help to explain some of the peculiarities of the text as it was finally published. Strype clearly had access to the text and other materials of Blome’s abortive 1694 edition. He scrupulously indicates all Blome’s additions to the original Survey with the marginal note ‘R.B.’ —but this means that some of these sections stop abruptly in 1694. The maps in Strype’s edition are also essentially taken from Blome’s 1694 edition, although with some minor alterations made in 1707 (although, unlike the text, Blome’s name is unceremoniously removed from the maps). Strype also does not seem to have altered the main body of the text that he completed for the 1708 edition, so that changes occurring between 1708 and 1720 are often missed. The written account of the city therefore essentially describes London as it was in 1708. 6 Even the list of stage coaches and carriers is dated 1707. Strype did, however, add a number of new and supplementary sections to the work.

The earlier history of the Survey under the editorship of Stow and Munday can also explain some other gaps and anomalies in the coverage of Strype’s edition. For example, the entries for different London parishes provide plentiful information on Jacobean church-building, because Strype has taken the separate, consolidated account of early Stuart church-building–which Munday appended to the 1633 edition–and redistributed this material within the overall entries on each individual parish. But Strype’s edition contains virtually no reference to any church-building or decoration in London parishes during the Laudian campaign of the 1630s and surprisingly little on the later seventeenth century. There had, of course, been no shortage of such building, but there had been no Munday around to record it, and Strype made no use of parochial documents to investigate these matters further. 7

Other anomalies of the edition’s coverage can be explained by the practicalities of the gathering of material. The chance enthusiasm of certain clergy and parish officials, for example, seems to explain why some parishes, such as St James Clerkenwell and St Botolph Aldgate, are far more fully documented than others, especially for the later seventeenth century. 8 It is also not surprising to find that Strype’s own parish of Low Leyton receives more attention than its suburban location might otherwise have afforded it, as does the parish of Hackney, where he held a lectureship. While Strype does not seem to have consulted parish records such as churchwardens’ accounts (so that his accounts of parochial donors are dependent on the tables and monuments visible in churches when he and his assistant ‘I.W.’ visited them), nevertheless the support of Bishop Compton of London meant that Strype had access to diocesan materials of a type which neither Stow nor Munday had available. Strype relied heavily on the recent 1693 episcopal visitation returns to update the perambulation portion of the Survey, while information from an earlier visitation of 1636 helped to fill in gaps about the pre-Fire character of certain parishes.

Some omissions in the edition also reflect simple time constraints. As late as October 1719, it was noted that information on nine livery companies was still missing, and in the final version three livery companies are bereft of a brief history, with only their coat of arms provided (II.v.247). Yet by July 1720 Strype was still supplying new material for the appendices, much to the consternation of the booksellers who begged him to ‘put a stop to the great Enlargements which we perceive are like to be made in the second Appendix for We have Exceeded by 80 sheets of Our first Computation already’. 9

While we may note its many omissions, however, it is just as important to emphasize the enormous amounts of new material which Strype introduced to the Survey. It should also be recognized that Strype did not merely add new material by describing recent events and institutions, but also drew on medieval and Tudor sources to expand significantly the coverage of the period before Stow wrote his first edition. For example, Strype’s account of the parish of St Martin in the Fields, Westminster is enriched by his use of Burghley’s papers for an account of an enclosure riot in 1592 ( 10


Strype and the 1720 Survey

If it is important for the reader of Strype’s edition to understand how the work stands within the series of continuations of Stow’s original work, it is equally important to appreciate how John Strype’s own preoccupations played a vital role in shaping the 1720 edition.

Strype’s experience as an editor clearly led him to take a keen interest in identifying Stow’s original text. He explains in his preface that he wished to return to the uncorrupted Stow because ‘since the Author’s Death there having crept in a great number of Errors, as it happens in After-Editions’. Contemporaries had increasingly tended to conflate the versions of the Survey produced by Stow and Munday. Strype therefore made it a priority to disentangle the publishing history of the Survey by introducing a system of marginal annotations, so that Stow’s original text could be identified. This partly reflected Strype’s conviction that Munday was greatly inferior to Stow as a scholar, but also his esteem for Stow himself. Not the least notable addition to the Survey that Strype introduced was the ‘Life of Stow’ which prefaces the whole work, along with a full-page reproduction of Stow’s funeral monument. Strype’s ‘Life of Stow’ marks a significant moment in the rehabilitation of Stow’s reputation. Strype presents him as a paragon of honest and intuitive scholarship, compassionate to the poor, and specifically refutes charges that he was overly credulous or unscholarly in his working methods. He makes no attempt to hide Stow’s Catholic sympathies, but explains them in terms of a response to the sacrilege of the early Reformation, and offers a rounded, realistic and above all sympathetic account of his trials and tribulations.

Strype clearly admired Stow as a fellow scholar and editor. But for all his editorial scruples, his concern to follow Stow’s method, and the practical pressures that significantly shaped the content of the book, Strype’s edition of the Survey is not entirely lacking in evidence of Strype’s own religious and intellectual preoccupations. 11

The son of a Dutch immigrant silk merchant, John Strype grew up in a family with strong non-conformist links. This was particularly true of the family of his mother, Hester van Strype, who is known to have sheltered non-conformist ministers in her London house during the 1665 plague. After the death of his father, the young Strype also came under the influence of his brother-in-law John Johnson, a dedicated Presbyterian minister. It was Johnson who in 1663 arranged for Strype to transfer from Jesus College, Cambridge to the more amenable Catherine Hall, where John Lightfoot (who had earlier supported Presbyterianism at the Westminster Assembly) was master. Despite this background, however, Strype ultimately decided to position himself firmly within the ranks of the established church — a decision which alienated him from most of his close-knit family for many years. 12 The influence of some of this background may be glimpsed in his treatment of the stranger communities in the pages of the Survey. While condemning the naturalization of alien merchants, Strype still does his best to defend the rights of the stranger communities to be exempted from the requirements of religious conformity. In part, he does this by emphasizing, not their shared membership of an international Protestant community (as puritans had traditionally done) but rather the degree to which their behaviour echoes that of the established church. Thus he notes how French Protestants at St Anne Soho use the English liturgy in French translation, with episcopally-ordained ministers officiating and sometimes wearing Anglican garb (II.v.294-305;

Strype was closely involved in the religious politics of his day. He served as minister at Low Leyton, just outside London, from 1668 until his death, and it was from here that he supported Henry Compton, bishop of London, even when the latter was suspended by James II in 1686. Strype was also involved in clandestine publications criticizing James’ religious policies. Thereafter, Strype’s strong support for the Glorious Revolution led to his formal institution as rural dean of Barking by the grateful Bishop Compton, and he was additionally rewarded with a lectureship at the nearby parish of Hackney. In the years that followed, Strype’s position as dean of Barking extended beyond a merely pastoral one, as he also participated in electioneering for the Essex Church-Tory party. 13

Strype’s religious sentiments — fiercely anti-Jacobite and anti-Catholic, disapproving of Dissenters, and passionately committed to the established church — can also be seen to have found outlets in sections of the Survey. Thus, while Strype follows Stow in including Fitzstephen’s encomium of Thomas Becket at the end of the medieval account of London, he adds a stinging editorial addition that this was written by ‘a Monk, the Pope’s sworn Creature ? in the very Depth of Popery’ (II.Appendix, p.15). It is also notable that, while later eighteenth-century editors of the Survey felt obliged to denounce the anti-Catholic inscriptions on the Great Fire Monument, Strype was comfortable merely to report these additions to the Monument without comment. 14

The Survey also bears witness to Strype’s profound concern with the moral life of the City, encapsulated in his enthusiasm for such contemporary organizations as the Society for the Reformation of Manners. He introduces a new section to the Survey that is specifically concerned with ‘the late Endeavours used in the City for the restraining of Vice’, which describes ‘in what State Religion and Good Manners stand here at present’, partly by an approving overview of the various Societies (II.v.30-52). Like Munday and Stow, Strype gives an account of charities and almshouses, but this is no mere catalogue of good works — this is clearly a topic that excites Strype’s particular interest. He gives a meticulous account of the workhouse in Bishopgate Street, with case studies of its successes (I.i.197-202). This concern with the instruments of social control and moral reform is very much of its time, and conspicuously different from the world of Stow and Munday, where the very fact of the founder’s charity claimed most attention.

Needless to say, this preoccupation with the need to maintain social order means that Strype makes little space in his edition of the Survey for the discussion of sports and pastimes. As a diligent editor he reproduces Stow’s account of ‘the customary Sports used in the City’, but rather than supplementing this with an updated account of such pursuits, Strype rather oddly chooses to append a bloodcurdling account of ‘some of their customary Punishments in former Times, of Shame or Pain, or both, for divers Sorts of Crimes and Misdemeanours: Such were Pillorizing, Carting, Riding, Whipping.’ (I.i.257-8). The association of the two topics in Strype’s mind seems clear. It is hardly surprising that virtually the only allusion that Strype makes to theatrical drama in the capital focuses on the City’s attempts under Elizabeth to regulate potentially dissolute players and the ‘lewd Matters of plays’ (II.v.244-6).

Strype’s edition also breathes the spirit of its age in its provision of statistical information. Strype’s modish fascination with political arithmetic shines through in page upon page of statistics and tables charting matters such as the volume of livery company charity, amounts spent yearly on the diet of the poor, numbers received into and discharged from the capital’s workhouses, and a lengthy account of fire insurance rates, complete with charts to calculate premiums. Similarly, the state of contemporary London’s wealth and income, and its role at the centre of overseas trade, are celebrated, along with lengthy discussions of trading companies and the Bank of England (e.g. II.v.256-73, 404-8, 445-7).

Strype’s edition of the Survey of London is, then, a remarkable compendium of information about the capital. For all of its omissions, the anomalous chronological range of some sections, and the idiosyncrasy of others, its editor still manages to muster a huge amount of material gathered from an extraordinary range of sources. The two hefty volumes may lack the immediate personal touch and focus of Stow’s own Survey, but this is not because Strype himself was simply a dispassionate observer of events. As we have seen, he had his own agenda and beliefs as well. The unwieldiness of the Survey partly reflects the task that Strype set himself — to preserve Stow’s original text and the essential structure of Stow’s work, but also to integrate the additions of Munday, Blome and Strype himself within the same framework. What it gains in comprehensiveness, it loses in coherence. Not the least bewildering aspects of the book is the cacophony of editorial voices. The authorial ‘I’ can be found reporting events witnessed in the 1540s, conversations in the 1620s, or visiting Westminster Hall in the 1650s in order to see the standards seized at the Battle of Worcester (I.ii.66; I.iii.16; The Survey of Strype’s edition has a multiple personality, switching with little warning from nostalgic Elizabethan antiquary to triumphalist Jacobean pageant-writer to diligent post-Restoration recorder of events and back again. Instead of a perambulation where Stow takes the reader by the hand through London’s streets, it is now a huge boisterous party — with Munday, Blome, Strype and others all coming along, interrupting one another, hailing the new and the old using the same authorial ‘I’ — an ‘I’ that is sometimes nostalgic and regretful, sometimes enthusiastic and forward-looking.

It emphatically does not conform to our modern sense of a scholarly edition of a celebrated work. Nevertheless, Strype’s sprawling edition creates an altogether richer melange of materials. Rather than being frozen in the past, the Survey of London lives in Strype’s present, speaking of new developments as well as recording old ones. Moreover, as a repository of the knowledge, ideas and manuscript discoveries of this most indefatigable of antiquaries, Strype’s Survey of London still represents a treasure trove for the historian of London.



  1. Much of the following text is adapted from J.F. Merritt, ‘The reshaping of Stow’s Survey’, in J.F. Merritt (ed.), Imagining Early Modern London. Perceptions and Portrayals of the City from Stow to Strype, 1598-1720 (Cambridge, 2001), pp. 52-88.
  2. Munday, Survey (1618), ‘The Epistle Dedicatory’, sig. 2.
  3. For a fuller discussion see Merritt, ‘Reshaping’, pp. 54-67.
  4. Ibid., pp. 67-73.
  5. John J. Morrison, ‘Strype’s Stow: the 1720 Edition of ‘A Survey of London’’, London Journal 3 (1977), pp. 42-7, 54 n.68.
  6. Ibid., pp. 41, 47.
  7. Merritt, ‘Reshaping’, p. 86.
  8. Ibid., p. 84 n.114.
  9. Ibid., pp. 85-6; Morrison, ‘Strype’s Stow’, p. 47.
  10. See also J.F. Merritt, The Social World of Early Modern Westminster (Manchester, 2005), pp. 202-5.
  11. For a fuller discussion see Merritt, ‘Reshaping’, pp. 76-84.
  12. John J. Morrison, ‘John Strype: historian of the English Reformation’, PhD thesis, University of Syracuse (1976), pp. 21-8, 37.
  13. Ibid., pp. 33, 67, 70-3, 284, 287-97.
  14. I.ii.181; Survey (1754), I.ii.501-2.

And to bring us no now, one of my favorite things to do in London is to follow the Old wall, much of which s marked on the sidewalk roads and Walls themselves, Of course Stow did this and there is an Appendix to this edition giving you as guided tour.






Hugh Latimer The First& …. Sermon preached before King Edward, March 8, 1549

“Of all the English Reformers, Bishop Hugh Latimer was the most popular in his time and probably has the greatest place in the affections of posterity.   Although a passionate preacher and a zealot for reform, in a day when religious executions were all too common, he completed his three-score years and ten, before sealing his testimony with his blood”

Edward VI listening to a sermon by Hugh Latimer at St. Paul’s Cross, London on January 29, 1548.

(Harold S. Darby, Hugh Latimer (London: Epworth Press, 1953), p. 7.)

Latimer preaching to Edward VII From John Foxe’s Acts and Monuments, artist unknown.

850G Hugh Latimer 1485-1555


The fyrste Sermon of Mayster Hughe Latimer, whiche he preached before the kynges Maiest. wythin his graces palayce at Westminster M. D. XLIX. the viii. of Marche. (,’,) Cu gratia et Privilegio ad imprimendum solum.

[bound with]

The seconde Sermon of Maister Hughe Latimer, whych he preached before the Kynges maiestie, iv in his graces Palayce at Westminister y. xv. day of Marche. M. ccccc.xlix. Cum gratia et Privilegio ad Imprimendum solum.

[London: by Jhon Day, dwellynge at Aldergate, and Wylliam Seres, dwellyng in Peter Colledge, 1549]                                                                  $14,200



DSC_0076Octavo 137 x 88 mm A-D8, A-Y8, Aa-Ee8 (Lacking Ee7 and 8, undoubtedly blank.) First editions, each of the two works is one of three or four undated variants, attributed to the year 1549. This copy is bound in nineteenth century calfskin, the hinges starting to crack but holding strong.

DSC_0078 The Encyclopedia Britannica calls Hugh Latimer’s sermons, “classics of their kind. Vivid, racy, terse in expression; profound in religious feeling, sagacious in their advice on human conduct. To the historical student they are of great value as a mirror of the social and political life of the period.”

“All things which are written, are written for our erudition and knowledge. All things that are written in God’s book, in the Bible book, in the book of the Holy Scripture, are written to be our doctrine.” (from Hugh Latimer’s Sermon of the Plow)

“This was the first of Latimer’s famous Lenten sermons on the duty of restoring stolen goods which resulted in the receipt of considerable sums of ‘conscience money.’” (Phorzimer Catalogue)“The seven sermons which he preached before the king in the following Lent are a curious combination of moral fervor and political partisanship, eloquently denouncing a host of current abuses, and paying the warmest tribute to the government of Somerset.” (DNB)


STC 15270.7; STC 15274.7; Pforzheimer #581 and 582; McKerrow & Ferguson 64.




Article reprinted from Cross†Way Issues Winter 1994, Spring 1995, Spring 1996, Summer 1996 & Autumn 1996 (Nos. 55, 56 60, 61 & 62)

(C)opyright Church Society; material may be used for non-profit purposes provided that the source is acknowledged and the text is not altered.



“With the accession of Edward VI at the beginning of 1547, the danger to Latimer’s life receded and he was released from the Tower of London under a general pardon. He returned to preaching and as Darby says in his book, Hugh Latimer (1953):-

Latimer’s fame is most secure as a preacher. It was in that way that he served best in the days of Henry VIII: it was almost the only way that he served during the short reign of his son. The six years gave him his fullness of opportunity to follow his natural bent.

It was during these years that the First Prayer Book of 1549 and the Second, more Protestant, Prayer Book of 1552 were drawn up with the Forty Two Articles and the First Book of Homilies. With such a programme of reform, it was clear that Latimer would be the natural choice to return to

the See of Worcester. He was invited to do so but he declined the appointment on the ground of age and infirmity. This was accepted, and as preaching was his high calling, he preached extensively before the young king. Most of our knowledge of his sermons dates from this period of his ministry. He became a champion, not only of the spoken word, but of the Word preached directly to the present congregation. It was a word relevant to the condition of the nation as a whole.

His earlier convocation sermon which had attacked the lethargy and worldliness of the clergy had won Latimer the respect of the nation. His refusal of high office and the wealth which went with it gained their hearts. It would be true to say that no other English preacher has ever been held in such high esteem, including the Wesleys and George Whitefield, as well as Charles Spurgeon. It would also be true to say that no other preacher has ever accomplished as much good in the life of the nation. The records of the State Paper Office and British Museum bear out this testimony. But Latimer was now ageing and after Lent 1550, he resigned as the King’s preacher and he returned to his home country, his beloved Midland Counties, continuing to preach from Lincolnshire to Warwickshire.”

Latimer preaching to Edward VII From John Foxe’s Acts and Monuments, artist unknown.

Hugh Latimer preaching to King Edward VI of England, a woodcut in John Foxe’s Acts and Monuments, better known as Foxe’s English Martyrs. By the time this book was published in 1563, Edward VI was revered as a pious patron of the English Reformation, a new Josiah who loved nothing better than to hear sermons, during which he often took notes. He is depicted here listening from a gallery to a sermon by Bishop Hugh Latimer, who, along with Thomas Cranmer and Nicholas Ridley, was a key figure in the development of Protestantism in Edward’s reign and, like them, a martyr under Edward’s Catholic successor Queen Mary I. Historian Diarmaid MacCulloch stresses the accuracy of this image of Edward, though fellow historian Jennifer Loach cautions against too ready an acceptance of the portrayal of Edward by Reformation propagandists such as Foxe, who called Edward a “godly imp”. The pulpit in the Privy Garden at the Palace of Whitehall had been built by Henry VIII in an enclosure which continued to be used for animal-baiting and wrestling. The king’s pulpit became the most fashionable preaching place in London, provoking Latimer to complain: “Surely it is an ill misorder that folk shall be walking up and down in the sermon-time, as I have seen in the place this Lent: and there shall be such huzzing and buzzing in the preacher’s ear that it maketh him oftentimes to forget his matter”. (References: Diarmaid MacCulloch, The Boy King: Edward VI and the Protestant Reformation, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002, pp. 21–25, 107; Jennifer Loach, Edward VI, New Haven (CT): Yale University Press, 1999, pp. 180–81.) & Chris Skidmore, Edward VI: The Lost King of England, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2007, ISBN 9780297846499.

Characters of Distinction between true and pretending Prophets are laid down. 1665

Todays book is as much fun to read as Brown’s Pseudoxia Epidemica , Like Brown Spencer is battling against superstition, with reason and natural history as his weapon and defense. 

940G     John Spencer, Dean of Ely             1630-1693

A Discourse concerning Prodigies: Wherein The Vanity of Presages by them is reprehended, and their true and proper Ends asserted and vindicated.

[bound with]

A Discourse Concerning Vulgar Prophecies. Wherein The Vanity of receiving them as the certain Indications of any future Event is discovered; And some Characters of Distinction between true and pretending Prophets are laid down.           


London: Printed by J. Field for Will. Graves over against Great S. Maries Church in Cambridge, 1665; London: Printed by J. Field for Timothy Garthwait at the Kings head in S. Pauls Church-yard, 1665           $1,450



Octavo  6 ½ X 4 ½ . A8, a8, B-Z8, Aa-Cc8, Dd4; A-I8, K4.   Second edition of the first book, first edition of the second book. Bound in contemporary calf.

The remarkable nature of Spencer’s achievement is enhanced when it is remembered that oriental studies were then in their infancy and that he was compelled to derive nearly all his data from classical writers of Greece and Rome, from the Christian fathers, the works of Josephus, or from the Bible itself. Spencer professed that his object was ‘to clear Deity from arbitrary and fantastic humor, “A greatly extended editon of Spencer’s refutation of omens and apparitions and the first to include his new publication, a “Discourse Concerning Vulgar Prophecies.” The book examines a copious assemblage of superstitions and auguries, such as comets, eclipses, the turning of ponds to blood and the moving of mountains, tracing the history of the Old Testament and classical mythology and commending the study of Natural Philosophy. Spencer examines superstitious beliefs surrounding comets and eclipses, as well as the beliefs held by some on the turning of ponds to blood and the moving of mountains and many more interpretations of bizarre natural phenomena.                                                              

“I Shall descend now to a close and distinct discourse concerning the (forementioned) Prodigies Signal; and amongst them, first con∣cerning those which more immediately resolve into causes Natural.”

 Spencer disapproved of the interpreting natural phenomena as superstitious prognostication and rather tricot to come up with, what we would call, a  scientific explanation.                

                         ” in which the vanity of receiving them as the certain indications of any future event is discovered, and some characters of distinction between true and pretended prophets are laid down.”

This attempt to bring the public to reason and sobriety was not less timely than the the first book, published  in response to the “Annus Mirabilis,”  Some enthusiasts  brought to notice a number of pretended prodigies, as portending future changes in the state, Spencer conceiving it to be of dangerous consequence thus to unsettle the minds of the people,,

And it might Be usefully renewed in current instances and at  THIS much later periods

Spencer writes :”That Nature in its production of the several kinds of crea∣tures, should (as if they were all stampt with one common seal) give them forth in such equal and similar figures and proportions, is a more just object of wonder, then to see the natural Archeus sometimes to play the bungler, and to leave its work (in some parts thereof) rude and mishapen. That the Earth should generally be delivered of the many vapours and winds within its bowels, without the pangs and throws of an earthquake; and that all the host of Heaven should marchJoel 2. 7, 8.every one on his way, and not break their ranks, neither thrust one another, but walk every one on his path (to borrow the language of the Prophet)Excedit profectò omnia miracula, ul∣lum diem fu isse in quo non cuncta confla∣grarent. Plin. Hist. Nat. l. 2. c. 107. are prodigies beyond an Earthquake, New star, or monster sometime discovered to the world, and therefore more justly chosen to be the constant instances of the divine Wisdom and Power; and to see some strange fires breaking forth (sometimes) from the caverns of the earth, is so much beneath wonder, that Pliny tells us, it exceeds all wonder, that there should be any day wherein all the things in the world (so pregnant with fiery principles) do not break forth into one mighty flame, and lay the world in ashes.Now then what sober Reason can warrant us to conclude any necessary and natural occurrences the prophetick signs of Events”

“John Spencer, master of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and author of ‘De Legibus DSC_0118Hebraeorum,’ was a native of Bocton, near Bleane, Kent, where he was baptized on 31 October 1630. He was educated at the King’s School, Canterbury, became king’s scholar there, and was admitted to a scholarship of Archbishop Parker’s foundation in Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, on 25 March 1645. He graduated B.A. in 1648, M.A. in 1652, B.D. in 1659, and D.D. in 1665. After taking holy orders he became a university preacher, served the cures first of Saint Giles and then of Saint Benedict, Cambridge, and on 23 July 1667 was instituted to the rectory of Landbeach, Cambridgeshire, which he resigned in 1683 in favor of his nephew and curate, William Spencer. On 3 August 1667 he was unanimously elected master of Corpus Christi College, and he governed that society for twenty-six years. He contributed verses to the Cambridge university Collection on the death of Henrietta Maria, queen dowager, in 1669. He was appointed a prebendary to the first stall at Ely in February 1671/2, and served the office of vice-chancellor of the university in the academic year 1673, during which he delivered a speech addressed to the Duke of Monmouth on his installation as chancellor of the university. He was admitted on the presentation of the king, to the archdeaconry of Sudbury in the church of Norwich on 5 September 1677; and was instituted to the deanery of Ely on 9 September 1677. He died on 27 May 1693, and was buried in the college chapel, where a monument with a Latin inscription was erected to his memory. He married Hannah, daughter of Isaac Puller, and sister of Timothy Puller. She died leaving one daughter (Elizabeth) and one son (John).
“Spencer was an erudite theologian and Hebraist, and to him belongs the honor of being the first to trace the connection between the rites of the Hebrew religion and those practiced by kindred Semitic races. In 1669 he published a ‘Dissertatio de Urim & Thummin,’ in which he referred those mystic emblems to an Egyptian origin. […] In 1685 appeared Spencer’s chief publication, his ‘De Legibus Hebraeorum ritualibus et earum rationibus libri tres.’ In this work, which included the earlier treatise on Urim and Thummin, Spencer deserted the time honored paths traced by commentators, and ‘may justly be said to have laid the foundations of the science of comparative religion. In its special subject, in spite of certain aspects, it still remains by far the most important book on the religious antiquities of the Hebrews.’ (Robertson Smith, Religions of the Semites, 1894) .’” (DNB)

Wing S-4948; CH, CLC, CN, IU, PL, WF, Y; Wing S-4949; CH, CLC, IU, MIU, NU, TO, TU, WF, Y.


 CHAP. II. Concerning Prodigies, Signal, Natural.I Shall descend now to a close and distinct discourse concerning the (forementioned) Prodigies Signal; and amongst them, first con∣cerning those which more immediately resolve into causes Natural. Concerning all which, I offer this general Thesis to proof. Prodigies Natural are not intended, nor to be expounded the Prognosticks of judge∣ments, suddenly to ensue upon whole Nations or particular persons. It is (especially) ignorance of their causes and ends which hath prefer∣redIsa. 44. 15. some of these Natural Prodigies to so great a veneration and re∣gard in many mens minds. As Ethnicism of old made the gods it worshipt, so ignorance oft makes the Furies it dreads.This Thesis I shall endeavour to perswade,1. By some general Reasons and Arguments.2. By a particular Induction and Survey of such as seem most plau∣sibly pretended the silent Monitours of some approaching venge∣ance.First, By some general Reasons.SECT. I. Reasons to prove Prodigies Natural no Signs of a future judgement.The first Argument taken from their doubtfull and uncertain indication; That proved from the confessions of their ablest Expositours; From their different Expositions in all times. The Interpreters of them banisht the Iewish Common-wealth of old, upon this account, Philo. Thuanus. The Argument further urged from Tully. God’s Signs express; The use∣lesness of those which are not.2. From a consideration of the times wherein most attended to. The rea∣son why a regard is to be had to the times and seasons; When Laws or U∣sages first obtained, noted from K. James. The times noted especially for gross ignorance in matters of Religion and Philosophy. Some Obser∣vations upon the remaining Registers of such accidents yet extant: The times remarked also for the publick fears and distractions happening in them. Livy. Seneca.3. From the natural and necessary Causes of these things. More of Na∣ture observable in a Prodigy, then common Occurrences.4. From the Nature and temper of the Oeconomy we are now under.THe Argument which I shall first offer to reprehend the commonArg. 1. vanity of receiving them as a kinde of indications in bodies Po∣litick, is this: Their (pretended) indications are so hugely perplext, doubt∣full and uncertain, that it cannot be concluded what judgement they portend, or when to ensue, or whether private persons or whole Nations be alam’d by them.If God do write Fata hominum in these mystick characters, there is none on earth found able to reade the writing, and (with any certainty) to make known the interpretation thereof. Most of their Expositours (like those upon Aristotle) are rather Vates quàm Interpretes. Concerning that prodigious Comet which shone in our Hemisphere, Ann. 1618▪ one that pretended himself as much Coelo à Conciliis as other men, yet thus freely delivers himself, Deum immortalem! quantò ille plurs de sese fermè Opiniones quàm crines sparsit. To a like purpose Tycho Brahe (discoursing de Nova stella Cygni, Ann. 1600.)

Mediavilla, on Lombards Sentences and Demonology! 1477


A generic portrait of Richardus de media villa, woodcut from the Nuremberg Chronicle

Richard [Middleton], d. 1302/3

Commentum super quartem Sententarium..

Venice: Christophorus Arnoldus, [circa 1476-7]   $22,000


Folio 12 1⁄4 9 1⁄4 inches. a-z10 [et]10 [cum]10 [per]10 A 10 B-D8 (D8v blank and aa1r blank) aa8 bb10 cc8 {320 leaves

DSC_0286Second edition. This copy is rubricated throughout with nicely complicated red initials. It is bound in an age appropriate binding of full calf over wooden boards with clasps and catches with quite impressive end bands.

DSC_0125“Middleton, Richard of [Richard de Mediavilla] Franciscan friar, theologian, and philosopher, was born about the middle of the thirteenth century in either England or France. He studied at Paris, where he formed part of the so-called neo-Augustinian movement, defending the philosophy and theology of Augustine against the inroads of Aristotelianism, during the years 1276–87. He probably studied under William of Ware and Matteo d’Acquasparta, usually viewed as principal figures in this movement.

Middleton’s Commentary on Peter Lombard’s ‘Sentences’ was probably begun in 1281 and was completed in 1284,

when he became regent master of the Franciscan school in Paris, a post he held until 1287. The chief characteristic of his Commentary is its sober assessment of many of the positions of Thomas. Aquinas. However, the tone of his eighty Quodlibet Questions, produced during his regency, is much more critical and on many issues shows a strong anti-Thomist reaction. In this they have more in common with his disputed questions, which were argued after the condemnations of 1277 but before his Sentences commentary. The latter commentary has been edited along with his Quodlibet Questions. A small number of his disputed questions have also been edited, as have six of his sermonDSC_0126s.

Furthermore;  nine questions (23 to 31) in this volume form a veritable treatise on demonology, a rare type in the thirteenth century. Mediavilla’s remark is singular: he is the only thinker who gives an autonomy of existence to the demon, in the framework of a rational description.
Mediavilla focuses on the present of the devil and its modes of action on men. He is the great thinker of the demonic turn of the 1290s.
This text offers one of the origins of a Western genre, the “novel of Satan”.

The questions of volume IV

23 . Did the first sin of the angel come from a good principle?
24. Can the angel at the moment of his creation sin?
25 . In the first sin of the angel, was the comparison of the creature anterior, according to the order of nature, to the distancing from God?
26. Was the first sin of the angel pride?
27 . Did the evil angel repent of his pride?
28 . In the evil angels, does sin follow another sin without end?
29. Does the sorrow of the evil angels leave her with a certain joy?
30 . Would the evil angels not be?
31 . Can bad angels play our sensations?

Middleton’s link to the neo-Augustinian movement is seen especially in his treatment of the will, even though he does not entirely follow his teachers, Ware and Acquasparta. For Middleton the will is much more noble than the intellect, since it is much more noble to love God than to understand him. Understanding without the corresponding love separates man from God. However, the key to the will’s nobility is its freedom. The intellect is forced by evidence when evidence is given; the will also is forced by its nature to seek the good, but it is free in choosing the means to its predetermined goal. Even if the intellect were prudent enough to show man the best means to his goal, he would not be forced to adopt them. ‘For although the intellect, like a servant with a lamp, points out the way, the will, like the master, makes the decisions and can go in any direction it pleases’ (Stegmüller, 722).

The superiority of the human will over the intellect further manifests itself in Middleton’s conception of the nature of theology. Certainly, the study of the scriptures attempts to clarify human knowledge of both creator and creatures; principally, however, it aims to stimulate man’s affections. Middleton believes that scripture prescribes laws, forbids, threatens, attracts man through promises, and shows him models of behaviour that he should follow or avoid. The study of scripture perfects the soul, moving it toward the good through fear and love. It is more of a practical science than a speculative endeavour. A theology that is speculative is one that models itself on the theology of the metaphysician or philosopher and tends to reduce Christian faith to reason.

The influence of Aquinas is more in evidence in Middleton’s theory of knowledge.     Middleton rejects the illumination theory of Bonaventure and his more loyal followers. Man’s intellectual knowledge can be explained, he argues, by the abstraction performed by the agent intellect from the singulars experienced by the human senses. In short, human individuals know, and they know by means of their own intellectual efforts, not by some special divine illumination. Unlike those who endorse the illumination theory, Middleton contends that there is no direct knowledge of spiritual beings, including God. God is not the first thing known. He can be known only by starting with creatures and by. reasoning about their origins or final end. Middleton died in Rheims on 30 March 1302 or 1303.”   [Oxford DNB]


Goff M-424; BMC V 206.
(The ISTC shows two US copies…

St Louis Univ., Pius XII Memorial

Library (-)& YUL – i.e. both defective) add UCLA.


See also  Satan the Heretic: The Birth of Demonology in the Medieval West November 15, 2006by Alain Boureau (Author), Teresa Lavender Fagan (Translator)513wgqIFYkL._AC_US218_


Physica Curiosa 1662 Gaspar Schott

563G Gaspar Schott 1608-1666

{Parts One and Two in two bindings } (Only three complete copies of this massive opus have come to auction in the last thirty-five years)


P. Gasparis Schotti Regis Curiani E Societate Jesu, Olim in Panormitano Siciliæ, nunc in Herbipolitano Franconiæ Gymnasio ejusdem Societatis Jesu Matheseos Professoris, Physica Curiosa, Sive Mirabilia Naturæ Et Artis Libris XII. Comprehensa, Quibus pleraq;, quæ de Angelis, Dæmonibus, Hominibus, Spectris, Energumenis, Monstris, Portentis, Animalibus, Meteoris, &c. rara, arcana, curiosaq; circumferuntur, ad Veritatis trutinam expenduntur, Variis ex Historia ac Philosophia petitis disquisitionibus excutiuntur, & innumeris exemplis illustrantur. Ad Serenissimum Ac Potentissimum Principem Carolum Ludovicum, S.R.I. Electorem, &c. Cum figuris æri incisis, & Privilegio.



Herbipolus [i.e., Wurzburg]: Sumptibus Johannis Andreæ Endteri & Wolffgangi Jun. Hæredum. Excudebat Jobus Hertz Typographus Herbipol, 1662                   $8,500


DSC_0001DSC_0246Two Quarto  volumes. 203 x 163 mm{[28] l., 770 pages ., [1] l., pages. 771 – 1583, vol.I.   [a]-g4 A-5D4 5E1                              vol. II: [ ]1, Eeeee2-4, 5F-5Z4, 6A-6Z4, 7a-7Z4, 8A-8Z4, 9A-9R4. 1583 pages. This volume contains plates I to LVII two of which are folding ( 56 of 57 plates (lacking plate VI) Plate X is trimed and mounted with no loss. See image below.

Physicæ curiosæ pars I.

: I. Mirabilia angelorum ac dæmonum.                                     II. Mirabilia spectrorum.                          III. Mirabilia hominum.                             IV. Mirabilia energumenorum.                   V. Mirabilia monstrorum.                          VI. Mirabilia portentorum.




Physicæ curiosæ pars II.:

VII. Mirabilia animalium in genere.                                                                                        VIII. Mirabilia animalium terrestrium.                                                                                              IX. Mirabilia animalium volatilium.                                                                                                X. Mirabilia animalium aquatilium.                                                                                                XI. Mirabilia meteorum.                                                                                                                   XII. Mirabilia miscellanea.

First edition. Both volumes are bound in contemporary vellum.

Physica Curiosa is an encyclopedia of the natural sciences of the age. In keeping with Schott’s character, it compiles many of the illustrations and literature previously published. As with many natural history publications of the era, it depicted fantastical creatures alongside real ones. Divided into twelve books, the first six books are devotedDSC_0238
to “miraculous” subjects, including Demons and Angels, spectres, demonic possessions, human and beastly monsters, and portents. Part I is mainly a treatise on demonology, huge encyclopedia of wonder and the occult.Chapters are devoted to angels and demons and their relationships with wizards, ghosts,vampires, incubi and succubi, In great detail, it is followed by depictions of Physical anomalies ( with many interesting images


DSC_0251DSC_0249DSC_0248DSC_0247The last six books deal with the “marvels” of nature – real creatures from exotic locales, such as elephants and rhinos.dsc_0098


Descriptions of remarkable animals, including the American sloth, armadillo, & anteater, the first with the musical notes illustrating its strange song (which also fascinated Harsdörffer); one folding plate illustrates Diego de Gozon killing the dragon of Rhodes, 1345, the last two show the famous linden trees & antiquities of Neustadt am KocherPhysica Curiosa’s target audience was other scholars, educators, and the rich nobility of the time, as this was the demographic that could afford the publication.

Many other creatures presented by Schott exemplify the practice of misrepresenting real creatures, or imposing religious elements on natural entities. dsc_0104

“Gaspar Schott, German physicist, born 5 February, 1608, at Konigshofen; died 12 or 22 May, 1666, at Augsburg. He entered the Society of Jesus 20 October, 1627, and on account dsc_0118of the disturbed political condition of Germany was sent to Sicily to complete his studies. While there he taught moral theology and mathematics in the college of his order at Palermo. He also studied for a time at Rome under the well known Athanasius Kircher. He finally returned to his native land after an absence of some thirty years, and spent the dsc_0096remained of his life at Augsburg engaged in the teaching of science and in literary work. Both as professor and as author he did much to awaken an interest in scientific studies in Germany. He was a laborious student and was considered on of the most learned men of his time, while his simple life and deep piety made him an object of veneration to the Protestants as well as to the Catholics of Augsburg. Schott also carried on an extensive correspondence with the leading scientific men of his time, notably with Otto von Guericke, the inventor of the air-pump, of whom he was an ardent admirer. He was the author of a number of works on mathematics, physics, and magic. They are a mine of curious facts and observations and were formerly much read.





He wrote many interesting works: the ‘Magia Universalis Naturae et Artis,’ 4 vols., Wurzburg, 1657-1659, which contains a collection of mathematical problems and large number of physical experiments, notably in optics and acoustics. His ‘Mechanicahydraulica-pneumatica’ (Wurzburg, 1657) contains the first description of von Guericke’s air pump. He also published ‘Pantometricum Kircherianum’ (Wurzburg, 1660); ‘Physica curiosa’ (Wurzburg, 1662), a supplement to the ‘Magia universalis;’ ‘Anatomia physico-hydrostatica fontium et fluminum’ (Wurzburg, 1663), and a ‘Cursus mathematicus’ which passed through several editions. He also edited the ‘Itinerarium exacticum’ of Kircher and the ‘Amussis Ferdinandea’ of Curtz.” (Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. XIII, page 589)

DeBacker-Sommervogel vol. VII col.909 no. 8;

Physica Curiosadsc_0097




I had the honor of owning this one for a while.

It is now at SMU via ¶ Boethius — De philosophico consolatu (1501)

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