598J Walter Travers 1547 or 1548-1635. And translated by Thomas Cartwright.1535-1603.

A Full and Plaine Declaration of Ecclcsiasticall Discipline owt off the Word off God, and off the declininge off the Churehe off England from the same. 

 [Heidelberg] : Imprinted [by. Michael Schirat], M.D.LXXIIII. [1574]       $13,000

Quarto 18 x 14 cm. Signatures: a⁴ b² A-M⁴ N⁴(±N4) O-2A⁴ 2B²  [1] folded leaf of plates  (complete per ESTC but some copies may have been issued with two tables.) 

Bound in later full crushed blue morocco, edges gilt; internally minor tears to inner margin of

title page, some toning, but generally a very handsome copy with the folding table well preserved.

This is an English translation, by Thomas Cartwright, of: Ecclesiasticae disciplinae, et Anglicanae Ecclesiae ab illa aberrationis, plena è verbo Dei, et dilucidà explicatio by Walter Travers. 

 Travers, provost of Trinity College Dublin  and minister of religion, was the son of Walter Travers, of Brydelsmith Gate, Nottingham, England, and his wife, Ann.  He matriculated at Christ’s College, Cambridge, aged twelve, on 11 July 1560, before transferring to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated BA (1565/6) and MA (1569). He was elected a junior fellow of Trinity (8 September 1567), before becoming a senior fellow (25 March 1569). However, his puritanism put him increasingly at odds with the academic authorities, leading him to resign his fellowship in 1570 and to emigrate to Geneva, where his puritan views developed.

While he was there he wrote his Ecclesiasticae disciplinae, printed anonymously (La Rochelle, 1574), in which he outlined a system of ecclesiastical discipline for the Church of England that was heavily influenced by the Calvinist model. Returning to England (1576), he was incorporated MA in Oxford; but, finding no employment, he went to Antwerp (1578), where he was appointed chaplain of the English Merchant Adventurers in April. On 14 May he was ordained in the presbyterian manner by the laying on of hands of twelve ministers, and during his time at Antwerp he served as a presbyterian minister. In July 1580 he returned to England and became personal chaplain to one of the chief royal ministers, William Cecil, Lord Burghley, and tutor to his son Robert.

With Burghley’s help he was made (1581) deputy master of the Temple church in London, where his attempts to introduce presbyterian practices proved controversial and attracted the attention of the Church of England authorities, who frustrated his bid to become master of the Temple in 1584 and had him banned from preaching in 1586. Having failed to convince the queen to complete her reformation of the Church of England, Travers and his fellow presbyterians decided on a strategy of covertly establishing presbyterian structures at a congregational level in order to subvert the foundations of the episcopalian system from within. He played the dominant role in drafting a presbyterian constitution for the church, known as ‘the book of discipline’. However, these efforts sparked a vigorous government crackdown on presbyterianism during 1589–90, which effectively broke the power of the movement. Despite being arguably the most prominent presbyterian in England, Travers avoided arrest thanks to Burghley’s continued patronage; but his prospects were bleak.

However, Burghley enjoyed considerably more influence over Irish affairs and particularly over the recently established TCD, of which he was chancellor. In 1594 he arranged Travers’s appointment as provost of the college. This provoked outrage among the Church of England bishops, but the crown was willing to relax its standards of religious orthodoxy in Ireland, due to the lack of qualified and dedicated protestant clergy there and its difficulties in recruiting such clergy from England for service in Ireland. Setting aside his presbyterianiasm, Travers was ideally suited for this undertaking, having gained a reputation for being an exceptionally learned and gifted teacher and preacher. Believing that a university’s sole purpose was to provide clergy for the church, he effectively turned TCD into a protestant seminary. Its founders had intended that it would teach law and medicine as well as divinities, but under Travers, and indeed for the first fifty years of its existence, the college focused wholly on theology and biblical studies. Although the undergraduate courses taught grammar, rhetoric, and logic, in practice the humanities were regarded purely as a means of interpreting the Bible. Under his auspices, the TCD curriculum was dominated by the books and philosophical principles of Pierre de la Ramée (Petrus Ramus) and would remain so for some time. In seeking to replace Aristotelian logic with a more simplified approach, Ramism provided Travers and his colleagues with the most convenient and accessible method for inculcating the principles of logic, rhetoric, and grammar into their students, many of whom started their undergraduate studies at a disadvantage due to the deficiencies of Irish schooling.

Indicative of the high academic standards maintained by Travers and the four Trinity fellows is the fact that they tutored James Ussher (qv), who went on to become one of the most renowned scholars in Europe and who fully acknowledged the debt he owed to his teachers. Each fellow instructed his students in Hebrew and Greek, and read three lectures a day, at the end of which there would be a disputation. On Saturdays each fellow and Travers would dictate in writing a Latin lecture in divinity, while on Sundays they would preach to the students in the college chapel. One of the fellows, William Daniel (qv), was an Irish-speaker, as were some of the scholars, and from 1594 the college supported a project to translate the New Testament into Irish.

Travers’s introduction of Ramism into the Trinity curriculum hinted at his radical past, as this philosophy was strongly associated with religious

Moreover, two of his fellows were Scotsmen – James Hamilton (qv) and James Fullerton, who had studied under the presbyterian and Ramist ideologue Andrew Melville at Glasgow University. Travers also harboured a leading English presbyterian, Humphrey Fenn, who preached in TCD and Dublin during 1594–6. Aided by these similarly puritan academic colleagues, Travers instilled an austerely Calvinist religious sensibility in Trinity that was subsequently to characterise the institution. That said, he made no attempt to revive his ambitions of erecting a presbyterian church system. On Travers’s election as provost, the archbishop of Dublin, Adam Loftus (qv), gave him a friendly warning that he was expected to conform to the Church of Ireland and to avoid the controversies that had dogged his career in the past. While in Ireland, he kept his presbyterian convictions to himself and concentrated on moral and pastoral issues in his sermons, steering well clear of matters of ecclesiastical government. As well as his academic duties, by 1595 Loftus was paying him to preach in Dublin, where again he contented himself with expounding basic protestant doctrine.

While he pursued his role of an educator and evangliest with gusto, he was less enthusiastic about the increasing amount of time he was forced to devote to attending to the college’s parlous finances. As early as August 1594 he noted that the college building had not been completed due to a lack of money, and that Trinity did not have a guaranteed income of £40 a year. Normally a college could expect to receive some private funding, but Ireland’s social elite remained overwhelmingly catholic and refused either to support TCD financially or send their children to it. He turned to the government, and his August 1594 petition that the college receive land worth £100 a year was successful; but he experienced great difficulties in realising this endowment. The queen had granted TCD ‘concealed’ land – property that was adjudged to belong to the crown but had been covertly acquired by private landowners. Such grants placed the onus on the recipient to uncover the ‘concealed’ lands, which was a very time-consuming, costly, and an arduous proposition, particularly for someone like Travers who had no experience of Ireland or knowledge of land law. Moreover, the widespread corruption that had previously characterised the uncovering of concealed lands had caused the queen to impose strict controls on the passing of such grants, putting further obstacles in his path.

During 1594–5, the college appears to have functioned reasonably effectively, due to financial aid from leading government officials and from Dublin’s small but influential protestant community. In particular, one of the college fellows, Luke Challoner (qv), enjoyed a sizeable private income and was generous in providing financial support. However, by the close of 1595 the college was on the brink of bankruptcy, some of the academic staff and students departed, and the translation of the New Testament into Irish ground to a halt. This was a particularly unfortunate development as the study of Irish was neglected for a long time afterwards, which served to entrench the perception that the college was a bastion of an alien British protestantism.   In December 1596 the Dublin government agreed to provide Trinity with an annual subsidy of £100 until the college had been passed a significant portion of the concealed lands owed to it, but expenses continued to run ahead of revenues. In 1597 the college had debts of £372, much of this being owed to the academic staff. Although Travers had a nominal annual salary of £40, it is likely that he received very little of this and he was obliged to sink £100 of his own money into the college. In early 1597 he travelled to England to plead Trinity’s case, and in May the queen belatedly authorised the passing to the college of two sizeable estates in Co. Kerry and Co. Limerick. By then he wished to resign as provost and resettle in England. Although he returned to Ireland, Burghley assured him that he could leave once a suitable replacement was found. However, nothing was done about this and he continued as provost.

The passing of the Munster properties and the college’s government subsidy provided it with an income of £262, which enabled it by the start of 1598 to maintain three fellows and ten students, and pay Travers a salary of £50 a year. However, the outbreak of a rebellion in Munster in October 1598 effectively deprived the college of rent from its lands in the province for the foreseeable future. Given that the Munster rebellion was part of a wider uprising that threatened to overthrow English rule in Ireland, the government was unlikely to have the time or resources to help Trinity make good these lost revenues. This development combined with Burleigh’s death in August to precipitate Travers’s sudden resignation as provost and his return to England in October. Although he was dispatched from Dublin with glowing letters of commendation from leading royal officials that stressed his religious conformity, he failed to find a church post in England and fell into obscurity thereafter. He appears to have lived relatively comfortably, and on his death (January 1635) he disposed of £351 in his will.


N. Bernard, The life and death of James Ussher (1656), 26; CSPI, 1592–6, 1596–7, 1598–9; DNB; HMC, Cecil MSS, vi, 460; vii, 151–2; J. W. Stubbs, The history of the university of Dublin (1889); W. Urwick, The early history of Trinity College Dublin (1892); J. P. Mahaffy, An epoch in Irish history: Trinity College, Dublin: its foundation and early fortunes, 1591–1660 (1903); id., The particular book of Trinity College Dublin (1904); John Venn and J. A. Venn, Alumni Cantabrigienses (2 pts in 10 vols, 1922–54), pt I, iv, 262; H. L. Murphy, A history of Trinity College Dublin from its foundation to 1702 (1951), 21–35; S. J. Knox, Walter Travers (1962); H. F. Kearney, Scholars and gentlemen (1970); R. B. McDowell and D. A. Webb, Trinity College Dublin 1592–1952: an academic history (1982); H. Hammerstein-Robinson, ‘Archbishop Adam Loftus: The first provost of Trinity College Dublin’, H. Hammerstein-Robinson (ed.), European universities in the age of reformation and counter-reformation (1998), 53–74; A. Ford, James Ussher (2007)

Thomas  Cartwright was one of the earliest and most learned champions of Puritanism, and he may be regarded as the founder of Presbyterianism in England.  On the accession of Elizabeth, he returned to Cambridge, took his B. A. degree in 1567.  His lectures were so hostile to Episcopacy and the established customs of the Church of England, that he came under the displeasure of the Vice-Chancellor of the University, John Whitgift, a strong Episcopalian; the result was that Cartwright was deprived of his professorship in 1570, and of his fellowship in 1571.  As a result, he went to Geneva, but was persuaded to return to England in the following year (1572). On his return a bitter controversy arose between the Puritans and Episcopalians, Cartwright championing the former and Whitgift the latter.  The Full  and Plain Declaration of Ecclesiastical Discipline  sought to prove that a Presbyterian form of. government, after the Geneva fashion, was the true form of church government.” In this work Travers discusses the proper calling, conduct, knowledge, apparel, and maintenance of a minister, the offices of doctors, bishops, pastors, and elders, and the functions of the consistory. He severely criticized the universities, calling them ‘ the haunts of drones. . . monasteries whose inmates yawn and snore,  rather than colleges of students.’ ” (D. N. B.)


STC (2nd ed.), 24184


597J.  Thomas Watson 1513-1584

Holsome and catholyke doctryne concerningethe seuen sacramentes of Chrystes Church, expedient to be knowen of all men, set forth in maner of shorte sermons to bee made to the people, by the reuerend father in God Thomas byshop of Lincolne. Anno. 1558. Mense Februarij.

Excusum Londini : in ædibus Roberti Caly, typographi. Cum priuilegio ad imprimendum solum, [the. x. of February. M.D.LVIII. [1558]]    Price $25,000

Small Quarto,  18.5 x 13 Cm: signatures π⁴, A-I⁸ K¹² L-Z⁸ 2A⁸(-2A8). In this edition, A1r has catchword: ’working’; last line: ’onely’.(Note: This is NOT the pirated edition of the same year differentiated by the last line on A1r  with catchword “it.”)    This copy is bound in old calf, later spine (peeling at top) , ex-libris sticker to spine, library pocket to added blank and inner rear cover, perforated stamp on the title page.,  old ink number to lower margin content pages,  early BM duplicate ink stamps,  verso tp. And verso Folio there is sporadic early annotations and some  early red underscoring or marginal marks. 

Watson was bishop of Lincoln, was born in 1513 in the diocese of Durham, it is said at Nun Stinton, near Sedgefield. He was educated at St. John’s College, Cambridge, proceeding B.A. in 1533–4 and M.A. in 1537. He is confused by Strype and others with John Watson (d. 1530), master of Christ’s College, Cambridge [see under Watson, John, 1520–1584]. About 1535 Watson was elected fellow of St. John’s College, where he was for several years dean and preacher. There, writes Roger Ascham [q. v.], Watson was one of the scholars who ‘put so their helping hands, as that universitie and all students there, as long as learning shall last, shall be bound unto them’ (Scholemaster, ed. Mayor, p. 198). Besides Ascham, Watson had as friends and contemporaries Cheke, John Redman, Sir Thomas Smith, and others who led the revival of Greek learning at Cambridge. They would frequently discuss Aristotle’s ‘Poetics’ and Horace’s ‘Ars Poetica’ while Watson was writing his tragedy of ‘Absalom.’ Watson’s fastidious scholarship would not allow him to publish it because in one or two verses he had used an anapaest instead of an iambus, though Ascham declared that ‘Absalom’ and George Buchanan’s ‘Jephtha’ were the only two English tragedies that could stand ‘the true touch of Aristotle’s precepts’ (ib. p. 207). Watson’s play is said to have remained in manuscript at Penshurst, but it is not mentioned in the historical manuscripts commission’s report on the papers preserved there (3rd Rep. App. pp. 227 sqq.); it has erroneously been assigned by Mr. Fleay and others to John Watson [q. v.], bishop of Winchester, and has also led to Thomas’s confusion with Thomas Watson [q. v.], the poet (e.g. Gabriel Harvey, Works, ed. Grosart, i. 22, 23, 112, 218, ii. 83, 171, 290, where the references i. 112, 218, ii. 83, 290 are to the poet; and Nash, Works, ed. Grosart, ii. 65, 73, iii. 187, where the last reference also is to the poet).

In 1543 Watson proceeded B.D., and in 1545 Stephen Gardiner [q. v.], bishop of Winchester, appointed him his chaplain and rector of Wyke Regis in Dorset; he is also said to have been presented to the vicarage of Buckminster, Leicestershire, in 1547. He zealously abetted Gardiner in his dispute with the council as to its authority to make religious changes during Edward VI’s minority, and is said to have been the medium of communication between the council and Gardiner. He is himself stated to have been imprisoned in the Fleet in 1547 for preaching at Winchester against two reformers, who thereupon complained to Somerset and Sir William Cecil, and to have been liberated with Gardiner on 6 Jan. 1547–8; but there is no record of his imprisonment before 4 Dec. 1550, when he was summoned before the privy council. He was in the Fleet prison in the following year, when he was called as a witness at Gardiner’s trial, and examined as to whether the bishop had, in his sermon at St. Paul’s on 29 June 1548, maintained the authority of the council or not; he avoided offence by declaring that he had been too far off to hear what Gardiner said (Lit. Rem. of Edward VI, p. cviii). In the same year he assisted Gardiner in preparing his ‘Confutatio Cavillationum,’ a second answer to Cranmer, which was published at Paris in 1552. On one occasion during the reign Watson’s life is said to have been saved by John Rough [q. v.], a service to which Rough appealed in vain when brought before Watson and Bonner in Mary’s reign. On 3 Dec. 1551 Watson was present at a private discussion at Sir Richard Morison’s house on the question of the real presence; his argument is preserved in Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (MS. 102, p. 259), and is abridged in Strype’s ‘Life of Cheke’ (pp. 77–86).

On Mary’s accession Watson became one of the chief catholic controversialists. On 20 Aug. 1553 he was selected to preach at Paul’s Cross, when, to prevent a recurrence of the disturbances at Gilbert Bourne’s sermon on the previous Sunday, many of the privy council and a strong guard were present. According to a contemporary but hostile newsletter, ‘his sermon was neither eloquent nor edifying … for he meddled not with the Gospel, nor with the Epistle, nor no part of Scripture’ (William Dalby in Harl. MS. 353, f. 141, where the writer proceeds to report ‘four or five of the chief points of his sermon;’ Machyn, pp. 41, 332–3; Greyfriars Chron. p. 83; Wriothesley, Chron. ii. 29; Chron. Queen Jane, p. 18). Watson’s services as a preacher were, however, constantly in request, and he always drew large audiences (Machyn, pp. 128, 131, 132, 166). On 10 May 1554 John Cawood published at London Watson’s ‘Twoo notable Sermons made the thirde and fyfte Fridays in Lent last past before the Quenes highnes concerninge the reall presence of Christes body and bloode in the Blessed Sacramente.’ Ridley wrote some annotations on these sermons, which he sent to Bradford (Bradford, Works, ii. 207–8; Ridley, Works, pp. 538–40); and Robert Crowley [q. v.] in 1569 published ‘A Setting Open of the Subtyle Sophistrie of Thomas Watson … which he used in hys two Sermons … upon the reall presence,’ London, 4to. Crowley prints Watson’s sermons passage by passage, with an answer to each (cf. Strype, Eccl. Mem. III. i. 115–25). When, in January 1557–8, convocation determined on the publication of a series of expositions of catholic doctrine somewhat similar to the ‘Homilies’ of 1547, Watson revised the sermons he had preached at court in the previous year and published them as ‘Holsome and Catholyke doctryne concerninge the Seven Sacraments of Chrystes Churche … set forthe in the maner of Short Sermons.’ The royal license to Robert Caley, the printer, was dated 30 April 1558 (Lansd. MS. 980, f. 302), and the first edition appeared in June following; a second edition followed on 10 Feb. 1558–9, and a third (described in the ‘British Museum Catalogue’ as the first) in the same month. They were reprinted by Father T. E. Bridgett in 1876 (London, 8vo).

Meanwhile, on 25 Sept. 1553, Watson was commissioned by Gardiner, as chancellor of Cambridge University, to inquire into the religious condition of the colleges (Strype, Parker, i. 82–3), and three days later he was admitted master of St. John’s, Lever having fled beyond seas; he was created D.D. in the following year. In the convocation that met at St. Paul’s on 23 Oct. 1553 Watson strenuously upheld the Roman catholic interpretation of the real presence against James Haddon [q. v.] and others (part of the disputation is preserved in Harl. MS. 422, ff. 38 sqq.; cf. Philpot, Works, p. 168; Dixon, Hist. iv. 78 sqq.). On 18 Nov. he was presented to the deanery of Durham in succession to Robert Horne (1519?–1580) [q. v.] In April 1554 he was sent to Oxford to dispute with Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer, and on the 14th was incorporated D.D. in that university. He also took part in the proceedings against Hooper and Rogers, and is said to have urged Gardiner to arrest Dr. Edwin Sandys [q. v.], afterwards archbishop of York. He resigned the mastership of St. John’s in May 1554, and on 28 Aug. 1556 was presented to the rectory of Bechingwall All Saints (Rymer, xv. 444). On 7 Dec. 1556 Mary issued a license for filling up the see of Lincoln, rendered vacant by the translation of John White (1511–1564) [q. v.] to Winchester; Watson was elected, and on the 24th of the same month was granted the temporalities of the see. The papal bull of confirmation was dated 24 March 1556–7, but the bishop was not consecrated until 15 August. In the interval Watson was one of the delegates appointed by Cardinal Pole to visit Cambridge University in January 1556–7; the visitation was disgraced by the trial and condemnation as heretics of the dead Bucer and Fagius, and by the exhumation and burning of their bodies (Lamb, Documents, 1828; Cooper, Annals of Cambridge).

Watson is said (Gee, Elizabethan Clergy, 1898, p. 30) to have been the first sufferer for religion under Elizabeth, and to have been confined to his house for preaching an incautious sermon at Queen Mary’s funeral; but Watson is here confused with John White, bishop of Winchester. Watson was absent through ill-health from the parliament which met in January 1558–9, but he took a prominent part in the debate on religion held in the choir of Westminster Abbey on the morning of 3 April. The conference broke down because Sir Nicholas Bacon, who presided, insisted that the Roman catholics should begin the discussion. They refused, and ‘the two good bishops [Watson and White], inflamed with ardent zeal for God, said most boldly that “they would not consent nor ever change their opinion from any fear.” They were answered that this was the will of the queen, and that they would be punished for their disobedience’ (Cal. State Papers, Venetian, 1558–80, No. 58). They were at once arrested and sent to the Tower (Machyn, Diary, p. 192; Wriothesley, Chron. ii. 144; Zurich Letters, i. 13; Acts P. C. vii. 78; State Papers, Dom. Eliz. iii. 52).

Camden’s story, repeated by Strype and others, that the two bishops threatened to excommunicate Elizabeth, has been disputed by Roman catholic historians. The incident on which it is probably based is reported by the Venetian ambassador. White ‘said “the new method of officiating was heretical and schismatic.” Then they replied “is the queen heretical and schismatic?” And thus in anger they sent him back to the Tower’ (Cal. State Papers, Venetian, 1558–80, No. 82). In June Watson was released, and allowed ten days to decide whether he would take the new oath of supremacy. He refused, and on the 26th was deprived of the bishopric of Lincoln (Machyn, p. 201; Cal. State Papers, Simancas i. 79, 82, Venetian 1558–80 No. 91). He was again committed to the Tower on 20 May 1560. In May 1563 he was brought before the ecclesiastical commissioners, but remained steadfast in his refusal to take the oath. On 6 Sept. following he was handed over to the custody of Grindal, bishop of London, because of the plague, and a month later was transferred to the keeping of Coxe, the bishop of Ely. On 9 Jan. 1564–5 he was once more committed to the Tower (Acts P. C. vii. 183). On 5 July 1574, being then in the Marshalsea, on giving a bond not to ‘induce any one to any opinion or act to be done contrary to the laws established in the realm for causes of religion,’ he was transferred to the custody of his brother John Watson, a citizen of London (Lansd. MS. 980, f. 302; Acts P. C. viii. 264). Three years later the council accused him of abusing his liberty by suffering evil-disposed persons to resort to him, and by perverting them in religion, which confirms Dod’s statement that, ‘while Bishop Watson lived, he was consulted and regarded as the chief superior of the English catholic clergy, and, as far as his confinement would permit, exercised the functions of his character.’ He was accordingly, on 28 July, committed to the custody of the bishop of Winchester, being allowed his own Roman catholic attendant, “uppon consideracion that it is less dainger to lett one already corrupted then a sound person to attend uppon him’ (ib. x. 16). In January 1578–9, at the bishop of Winchester’s request, Watson was transferred to the keeping of the bishop of Rochester. He now entered into correspondence with Douai, and this, coupled with the invasion of the jesuits and missionary priests, led to severer measures against him. In August 1580 he was committed to close keeping at Wisbech Castle, where his remaining days were embittered by the quarrel between the jesuits and seculars which developed into the famous archpriest controversy. Watson died at Wisbech Castle on 27 Sept. 1584, and was buried in Wisbech parish church.

Watson was perhaps, after Tunstall and Pole, the greatest of Queen Mary’s bishops. De Feria described him in 1559 as ‘more spirited and learned than all the rest.’ Godwin and Strype refer to him as ‘an austere, or rather a sour and churlish man.’ The austerity may be taken for granted, but the gloss is due to religious antipathy. Ascham spoke warmly of Watson’s friendship for him, and bore high testimony to his scholarship. Besides the works already mentioned, Watson is credited with a translation of the first book of the ‘Odyssey,’ which is now lost, and a rendering of a sermon of St. Cyprian which is extant in Cambridge University Library MS. KK. 1. 3, art. 17, and in Baker MS. xii. 107. A treatise entitled ‘Certayne Experiments and Medicines,’ extant in Brit. Mus. Sloane MS. 62, art. 1, is ascribed in an almost contemporary hand to Watson, and his ‘Disputations’ at London in 1553 and at Oxford in 1554 are printed in Foxe’s ‘Actes and Monuments.’ The collections on the bishops of Durham, assigned to him by Tanner and extant in Cottonian MS. Vitellius C. ix., are really by Christopher Watson [q. v.]

[Variant title   Holsome and catholyke doctryne concerninge the seven sacramentes.  Excusum Londini : in ædibus Roberti Caly, typographi. Cum priuilegio ad imprimendum solum, [the. x. of February. M.D.LVIII.] [1558]]          

[An elaborate life of Watson is prefixed by the Rev. T. E. Bridgett to his reprint of Watson’s Holsome and Catholyke Doctrine, 1876, and is expanded in Bridgett and Knox’s Story of the Catholic Hierarchy deposed by Elizabeth, 1889, pp. 120–207. See also authorities cited in text and in Cooper’s Athenæ Cantabr. i. 491; a few additional facts are contained in the recently published Acts of the Privy Council, 1558–82; Cal. State Papers, Simancas, vol. i., Venetian, 1558–80; Dixon’s Hist. of the Church; and Gee’s Elizabethan Clergy, 1898.]




187J Cranmer, Thomas, Archbishop of Canterbury Cranmer

A Defence of The True and Catholike doctrine of the sacrament of the body and bloud of our sauiour Christ, with a confutation of sundry errors concernyng the same, grounded and stablished vpon Goddes holy woorde, & approued by ye consent of the moste auncient doctors of the Churche. Made by the moste Reuerende father in God Thomas Archebyshop of Canterbury, Primate of all Englande and Metropolitane.

Imprynted at London : in Paules Churcheyard, at the signe of the Brasen serpent, by Reynold Wolfe. Cum priuilegio ad imprimendum, 1489-1556. Imprynted at London : in Paules Churcheyard, at the signe of the Brasen serpent, by Reynold Wolfe Cum priuilegio ad imprimendum solum, anno Domini M D L [1550],     Price: $28,000.00 

Quarto  18.7 x 13.5 Cm Signatures: *4, A-Z4, Aa-Gg4 The text is printed in Black Letter The title page features an elaborate woodcut border with four vignettes including the Last Supper (McKerrow and Ferguson 73) The final leaf bears the colophon and Wolfe’s printer’s device (McKerrow 119) There are several woodcut initials in the text.

Provenance: 1 Thomas Maker, his gift to Philip Cowrtney (contemporary inscription by Cowrtney on title and with his marginalia and his initials ‘PC’ on colophon) 2 Richard Monckton Milnes (1809-1885; Crewe Hall bookplate) 3 George Goyder (bookplate; sold Sotheby’s London, 19 July 1993, lot 54)

This copy is bound in contemporary, blind-stamped English calf with small medallion portrait rolls The boards are composed of printer’s waste taken from John Bale’s ” Illustrium Maioris Britanniae Scriptorum” of 1548 The text block is backed with vellum manuscript fragments A number of blank leaves have been bound in at the beginning of the volume Internally, this copy is in excellent condition with clean, wide margins Both the binding and the text are in strictly original condition.

STC 6002 (with catchwords B4r “des”, S1r “before”) Title page border: McKerrow and Ferguson 73; Printer’s device: McKerrow 119 References: Diarmaid MacCulloch, “Thomas Cranmer, A Life”; GW Broniley, “Thomas Cranmer, Theologian”). 

Price: $28,000.00 


352 I  ) NOWELL, Alexander (1507-1602). William WHITAKER (1548-1595), translator into Greek

 Christianismou stoicheiosis. [In Latin]: Christianae pietatis prima institutio.

London: John Day, 1578. Price: $3,800

Octavo 12 . x 9 cm. Collation: A-Q8 (lacking two leaves: Q7-8 at end containing final portion of Latin text, Errata and John Day’s coat of arms). Text in Greek and Latin on facing pages. Title-page surrounded with typographical ornaments, 10-line initial “H” on A2r, elaborate typographical ornament on A5 (repeated on final leaf). Contemporary vellum, traces of two alum-tawed leather ties at the fore-edge, later MS lettering on spine. Imperfect and priced accordingly; the textblock is quite fresh, and is preserved in what appears to be its first binding. 
A fresh copy of an Early English Catechism printed by John Day, in Latin with a Greek translation. As is well known, the Catechism became one if the principal vehicles for teaching the young in Elizabethan England. 

Our copy is unpressed; bears a 16th-century ownership inscription; and is preserved in contemporary vellum: on the blank leaf opposite the title-page is ink offsetting from the typographical borders, likely an indication that this binder’s leaf has been in situ since the book was printed. If that is correct, the inescapable conclusion is that is the original binding (the title in MS on the spine was added later). 

“This (says Ames) is a curiously printed book, equal to the Stephens’, and has the same coat of arms at the end [lacking in this copy], as the Catechism of 1577 … Herbert has been entirely indebted to Ames for his description of this rare little book; of which I never saw or heard of a copy” (Dibdin, Typographical Antiquities, 2024).

Of this edition, we have been able to trace only two other copies that have appeared on the market, namely: Christie’s NY 2003, and Maggs Catalogue 901 (1966). 

Provenance: William Hamer (contemporary signature: “William Hamers”) — we have been unable to identify this early English book owner –> Nathan Comfort Starr (armorial bookplate), former Grolier Club member.
ESTC S113382. STC 2nd ed. 18728. See: Foster Watson, The English Grammar Schools to 1660: Their Curriculum and Practice, 2019.


7) 562JJohn Bale 1495-1563.

The first two partes oft he Actes or vnchaste examples of the Englyshe votaryes, gathered out of theyr owne legendes and chronycles by Ihon Bale.

[Imprinted at London : by Iohn Tysdale, dwellynge in Knyght Riderstrete nere to the Quenes Waredrop, Anno. 1560]   Price. $4,000

Octavo: 14 x 10 cm. Signatures –(π, A⁸) A- M⁸ N⁴, ²A-U⁸. (Lacking the general title page and prelims(8 leaves total) {n.b.I have had two other copies of this edn. and neither have had the first 8 leaves?}though body of work complete with both divisional titles.) Both parts have a separate title page and collation.

Imprint from colophon of the first part; the colophon to part 2 is undated. Bound in Attractive full morocco by Riviere, gilt. Hinges with areas of rubbing. A few small marginal holes (no loss of text) and some light and faded water-stains to last few leaves, some very light foxing in places.

These books are full of salacious accounts of medieval English clergy.

“… Bale establish[ed] the myth of the pristine pre-Augustinian English Church, the golden age before 597, which was to be influential in Elizabethan thought and a useful weapon against Puritan iconoclasm. But Bale’s target in The Actes was still the Roman Church. His purpose was not to show that in this golden age surplices had existed, but rather that clerical celibacy had not. … Though the Marian experience and events of the Elizabethan and early Jacobean period (the Bull of 1570, the miraculous deliverance in 1588, and the Gunpowder Plot of 1604 being the most obvious) combined to heighten and reinforce English anti-Catholicism, its historical justification stemmed from Bale’s earliest works [particularly the ‘Actes of the Englysh Votaryes]. “Fairfield.John Bale: Myth maker of the English Reformation.

Bale became the last Prior of the Ipswich Carmelite house, elected in 1533. He abandoned his monastic vocation, and got married, saying, “that I might never more serve so execrable a beast, I took to wife the faithful Dorothy.” He obtained the living of Thorndon, Suffolk, but in 1534 was summoned before the Archbishop of York for a sermon against the invocation of saints preached at Doncaster, and afterwards before John Stokesley, Bishop of London, but he escaped through the powerful protection of Thomas Cromwell, whose notice he is said to have attracted by his miracle plays.

In these plays Bale denounced the monastic system and its supporters in unrestrained language and coarse imagery. The prayer of Infidelitas which opens the second act of his Three Laws is an example of his profane parody. These somewhat brutal productions were intended to impress popular feeling, and Cromwell found in him an invaluable instrument. When Cromwell fell from favour in 1540, Bale fled with his wife and children to Antwerp. He returned on the accession of King Edward VI, and received theliving of Bishopstoke, Hampshire, being promoted in 1552 to the Irish see of Ossory. He refused to be consecrated by the Roman Catholic rites of the Irish church, and won his point, though the Dean of Dublin made a protest against the revised office during the ceremony.

He also quarrelled bitterly with the aged and respected judge Thomas St. Lawrence, who travelled to Kilkenny to urge the people to reject his innovations. When the accession of Queen Mary inaugurated a violent reaction in matters of religion, he was forced to get out of the country again. He tried to escape to Scotland, but on the voyage was captured by a Dutch man-of-war, which was driven by bad weather into St Ives, Cornwall. Bale was arrested on suspicion of treason, but soon released. At Dover he had another narrow escape, but he eventually made his way to the Netherlands and thence to Frankfurt and Basel. Bale’s intent in his autobiographical Vocacyon was to write a polemical account of his escape from Ireland in parallel with the life of St Paul. Although the Vocacyon is a broadly true account, Bale possessed a “self-dramatizing tendency”.

During his exile he devoted himself to writing. After his return, on the accession of Queen Elizabeth I, he received (1560) a prebendal stall at Canterbury, where he died and was buried in the cathedral..

STC (2nd ed.), 1274


The First Catholic New Testament in English.

The Nevv Testament of Iesus Christ, translated faithfully into English, out of the authentical Latin, according to the best corrected copies of the same, diligently conferred vvith the Greeke and other editions indiuers languages; vvith arguments of bookes and chapters, annotations, and other necessarie helpes, for the better vnderstanding of the text, and specially for the discouerie of the corruptions of diuers late translations, and for cleering the controversies in religion, of these daies: in the English College of Rhemes.

Printed at Rhemes : By Iohn Fogny, 1582. Price: $35,000

Quarto 218 x 165 mm. signatures: a-c4, d2, A-Z4, Aa-Zz4, Aaa-Zzz4, Aaaa-Zzz4, Aaaa-Zzzz4, Aaaaa-Ddddd4 , Eeeeee2 .

This copy is bound in seventeenth-century calf, sympathetically rebacked, with an attractive gold-tooled floral motif to the board edges. Internally, this copy is in very good condition with clean leaves. There is a little foxing to the first two leaves and a few trivial marginal tears. The upper margin is cut a bit close, but the text is never affected. The title page is set within a decorative border; the text is adorned with ornamental woodcut initials throughout. The text is beautifully printed in Roman with printed annotations, marginal notes, arguments, and chapter summaries in italic.

“The ‘editio princeps’ of the Roman Catholic version of the New Testament in English. Translated from the Vulgate by Gregory Martin, under the supervision of William Allen and Richard Bristow. According to the “Douai Diaries”, Martin began the translation in October 1578 and completed it in March 1582.

“The translation adheres very closely to the Latin, though it shows traces of careful comparison with the Greek. But its groundwork was practically supplied by the existing English versions, from which Martin did not hesitate to borrow freely. In particular there are very many striking resemblances between Martin’s renderings and those in Coverdale’s diglot of 1538. Martin’s own style is often disfigured by Latinisms.

“This Rheims New Testament exerted a very considerable influence on the King James version of 1611, transmitting to it not only an extensive vocabulary, but also numerous distinctive phrases and turns of expression.” (See J.G. Carleton’s exhaustive analysis, The Part of Rheims in the Making of the English Bible. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1902.)


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