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New Testament in Syriac (1555)

Posted Wednesday, 18th July 2012

[Title in Syriac] Liber sacrosancti evangelii de Iesu Christo … In urbe Viennae … hoc opus anno a Christi nativitate MDLV [1555] XXVII Septembris Regiis impensis. Caspar Craphtus Elvangensis suevus characteres Syros ex norici ferri acie sculpebat. Michael Cymbermannus prelo et operis suis excudebat. [I.488] (Darlow & Moule 8947)

The first book printed in Syriac and the editio princeps of the New Testament in this language, printed in Vienna in 1555. It was edited by Johann Albrecht Widmanstadt (1506-1559) with the aid of Moses of Mardin, a scribe in the service of the Patriarch of Antioch, and dedicated to Ferdinand, King of Hungary and Bohemia, Archduke of Austria and Duke of Burgundy, at whose expense the work was published. Although ostensibly for Syriac-speaking Christians who were in need of a New Testament in their language, it was created partly as a missionary tool to convert Jews and Muslims in the East. It was also the product of a sixteenth-century humanistic interest in the Orient in response to the rising threat of the Ottoman Empire and the desire to go back to the roots of the Bible. According to Widmanstadt in his dedication to Ferdinand, who succeeded Charles V as Holy Roman Emperor in 1558, more scholars were able to read Hebrew and Chaldean than ever before, which went a long way to undo the linguistic dispersal after the Babel episode. This edition had a print-run of 1000 copies of which 300 were given to Moses to take to the Patriarch of Antioch. A second edition was produced by Michael Zimmermann (Cymbermannus) in 1562, after obtaining imperial licence to use the Syriac type.[1]It is mentioned in the 1611 English King James version as being in ‘most learned men’s libraries’ in the translators’ note to the reader.

This copy was given to the Baptist Union by J.B. Sherring, who possibly inherited it from R.B. Sherring. It carries a Baptist Union Library bookplate, covering an older plate, and a note that Dr. Whitley gave the volume to Henry Wheeler Robinson. When Wheeler Robinson’s library was transferred to Regent’s Park College in 1945, it came to the Angus Library. It has a distinguished provenance in that it appears to have come from the library of the Duke of Sussex, i.e. Prince Augustus Frederick (1773-1843), sixth son of King George III and Queen Charlotte. According to the ODNB:

He supported the progressive political policies of his time, including the abolition of the slave trade, Catholic emancipation, the removal of the civil disabilities of Jews and dissenters, the abolition of the corn laws, and parliamentary reform.

Augustus Frederick was a great patron of the arts and sciences. He was elected president of the Society of Arts in 1816, and between 1830 and 1838 served as president of the Royal Society. He resigned from this post to concentrate his expenses on his not insignificant library, which contained c. 50,000 volumes, including about 1000 Bibles.[2]This library was sold in stages after the Duke’s death in 1843 by the auctioneer R.H. Evans, who had also presided over the famous Roxburghe sale of 1812.[3]

[1] R.J. Wilkinson, Orientalism, Aramaic and Kabbalah in the Catholic Reformation : The first printing of the Syriac New Testament. Leiden: Brill, 2007. Ferdinand has been elected Emperor designate in 1531.
[2] T. F. Henderson, ‘Augustus Frederick, Prince, duke of Sussex (1773–1843)’, rev. John Van der Kiste, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 [, accessed 6 July 2012 ]
[3] D. Pearson, Provenance research in book history. London: British Library & Oak Knoll, 1998, pp. 148-9.
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New Testament in “Englyshe”

Posted Tuesday, 19th June 2012

The Newe Testament of our saviour Jesu Christe faythfully translated out of the Greke … [Colophon: Imprynted at London by Rycharde Jugge, dwellynge in Paules churche yarde at the signe of the byble. Vvith the kynge his mooste gratious lycence, and privilege, forbyddynge all other men to print or cause to be printed, this, or any other Testament in Englyshe, [1552]]
This is the final page of the New Testament in English, edited from the Tyndale version and printed by the London-based printer and bookseller Richard Judge or Jugge (d. 1577), who had his workshop in St Paul’s churchyard. The text is a colophon giving Judge’s details and it refers to the licence he was given by King Edward VI (whose portrait appears on the title page) to print the New Testament in English. Above the colophon, Judge’s printer’s device is prominently displayed: in the medallion is a pelican feeding her children by pecking her chest (a well-known symbol of Christ), flanked by two women representing prudence and justice.

The publication itself is characterised by the use of large woodcuts and decorated initials. The Angus Library has two copies, but both have suffered damage over time. 
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A leading female book collector

Posted Thursday, 7th June 2012

The early nineteenth century was a period of feverish book collecting among the well-to-do in Britain and the rest of Europe. One important collection of books in England was that of a lady called Frances Richardson Currer of Eshton Hall in Yorkshire.
Thomas Dibdin, Earl Spencer’s librarian at Althorpe, thought she was the most important female book collector in Europe – not that there would have been that many! She also owned a substantial art collection and was a generous patron of local institutions.
The core of the collection at Eshton was formed by the botanical and historical books of Frances’ great-grandfather, the physician and botanist Richard Richardson (1663–1741). A catalogue made in the life-time of Frances Currer reveals her interest in works on religion. She never married and after her death in 1861, her library (consisting of an estimated 20,000 volumes) was sold by her heirs. The main sale, at Sotheby’s on 30 July 1862, raised about £6000. At a second sale, in 1916, more than £3700 was made. As a consequence, Currer’s books can be found all over the world, including one here at the Angus Library.

Perhaps not surprisingly, given the nature of the Angus, it is a history of the Reformation written by Daniel Gerdes (mentioned in the 1833-catalogue of Currer’s collection), published in the Dutch town of Groningen in 1744.

The reason we can be reasonably certain that this was Frances Currer’s copy of Gerdes’ work is that it has her bookplate pasted in at the front of the volumes (Franks 7624). The college at Regent’s Park did not immediately buy the work when it was up for sale but, according to the note on the bookplate, was entered into the collection a few years later.
Which contemporary female author from Yorkshire used some of Frances Currer’s name as part of a pseudonym?
A catalogue of the library collected by Miss Richardson Currer, at Eshton Hall by C.J. Stewart. London: printed for private circulation only, MDCCCXXXIII [1833], p. 63
Franks bequest: a catalogue of British and American book plates bequested to the Trustees of the British Museum by Sir Augustus Wollaston Franks (1903)
Colin Lee, ‘Currer, Frances Mary Richardson (1785–1861)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [, accessed 31 May 2012]

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We are linked….hopefully

Posted Wednesday, 23rd May 2012

As can been seen from the posts below, today we have been connecting the various social media sites that we have for The Angus.

And I think, hope, we have cracked it so now you can click on the various widgets in the side panels and

  • Follow us on Twitter @RPC Library, or
  • Friend us on Facebook, or
  • RSS us on the blog

Here’s hoping it works!


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    Test twitterfeed

    Posted Wednesday, 23rd May 2012

    Categories: Uncategorized

    Test links

    Posted Wednesday, 23rd May 2012

    Test dlvr it links

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    A Rare and interesting book

    Posted Monday, 21st May 2012

    Josse van Clichtove, De vita et moribus sacerdotum opusculum … secunda emissio. Parisiis: Ex officina Simonis Colinaei, 1520 (USTC 145230).

    A Flemish theologian, Josse van Clichtove (d. 1543) was a prolific author and editor. Already as a student in Paris, he was interested in monastic reform and pastoral theology. One of his aims as an editor was to promote the works of the Christian Fathers to a wider audience and he gained a reputation as an authoritative theologian, with leading humanists such as Jacobus Wimpfeling and Beatus Rhenanus showing great appreciation for his learning. He was a firm opponent of Martin Luther’s ideas and critical of his contemporary Erasmus of Rotterdam. Initially a firm critic of current sacerdotal practices, in later life Clichtove focused his attentions more on attacking the rise of Lutheran theology.

    This work here sets out Clichtove’s ideas about the proper behaviour and duties of the priest. The first edition of this work was published in 1519 with a pictorial title page by Henri Estienne the Elder (d. 1520), the founder of a distinguished line of printers, who printed a number of Clichtove’s works in the 1510s.

    Henri the Elder’s widow married Simon de Colines, Estienne’s assistant, who published this second edition in 1520. Only two earlier editions which bear Colines’ name are now known to survive. The first dated edition under Colines’ supervision was a Greek translation of Cato’s Distichs, printed in 1518 (USTC 160484). Another work by Clichtove, a tract on the duties of the king, was printed by him in 1519 (USTC 186848).

    The title page of this 1520 edition is very plain compared to the first edition (USTC 145034) – for an image of the title page, have a look here.

    It is one of the oldest works in the Angus Library, but it is not entirely clear when it was added to the collection. A handwritten note on the back of the front cover describes the work as ‘tres rare’ (i.e. very rare) in 1786 when it was bought at the sale chez ‘le duc de la Valliere’ in Paris. It is described on USTC as a quarto, which may mean that the Angus Library copy was quite heavily cut down to resemble an octavo when it was rebound in the eighteenth century.

    Contemporaries of Erasmus: A Biographical Register of the Renaissance and Reformation, Volumes 1-3. Ed. P.G. Bietenholz and T.B. Deutscher. University of Toronto Press, 2003.

    S.H. Steinberg, Five hundred years of Printing. New edition, revised by John Trevitt. [London]: British Library, 1996. P. 39.

    Universal Short Title Catalogue (University of St Andrews, available online at

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    Teachers Visual Guides

    Posted Thursday, 17th May 2012

    As part of the Heritage Lottery Fund project we are hoping to develop National Curriculum resources for use with Key stage 3 students. We are currently interviewing teachers to find out:

    • What areas they would appreciate additional resources in?
    • What subjects are hot topics at the moment?
    • What format the additional resources would take?
    • And what we could do that would be of most benefit to them?

    Below is a presentation that is being given to teachers as a general representation of types of items we hold and the subject areas where we could possibly develop resources.


    If you have any feedback or think you may have something to offer in the development of these resources please leave a comment or email us at

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    Regent’s, Angus, Thomas Helwys and Radio 4

    Posted Sunday, 29th April 2012

    Below is the link to the segment on Radio 4, the segment recorded in
    The Angus Library and Archive starts 15:00 minutes into the program about
    Thomas Helwys and The Short Declaration of the Mistery of Iniquity.
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    The Angus Library on Radio 4 this Sunday

    Posted Friday, 27th April 2012

    The Angus Library and Archive is on Radio 4’s Sunday Program this coming Sunday between 7am – 8am.
    Trevor Barnes is running a 6 minute spot focusing on the
    400th anniversary of the English beginings of the Baptist denomination
    with a focus on Thomas Helwys
    and The Short Declaration of the Mistery of Iniquity.

    We would love to hear your thoughts.

    We will post the link early next week for those that miss it and for those who may just not be awake at 7am on Sunday.

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    From the blog

    7th October 2015

    Escaping to 1896 India…

    It’s been a very busy few days here at Regent’s Park College.  All our new students have arrived and there is a much busier,...
    Read more