Category Rare books

Independence day

At the end of January, the United Kingdom left the European Union. To mark this event, the Ward Library has been supplementing its collection of the writings of Mark Fitzgeorge-Parker (1954-2014), a Petrean who reinvented himself as the racing novelist ‘Mark Daniel’. ‘A sensualist… and compulsive writer, cook, scholar and lover’, Mark wrote ’37 published […]

A new manuscript online : Homiliary compiled by Paul the Deacon, Peterhouse MS 130

The fifteenth-century catalogue of the Peterhouse Library, initially compiled on Christmas Eve 1418, gives details of over 450 manuscripts. Our present collection of some 270 manuscript volumes represents over half the working library which was accumulated by the College during the two and a half centuries after its foundation; and is one of only three […]

John Locke, Esther Masham, and the Works of the learned Isaac Barrow (1700)

Isaac Barrow (1630–77) was admitted as a foundation scholar of Peterhouse in 1643, in the middle of the English Civil War. He did not stay long at the College, where his uncle and namesake had been a Fellow, but transferred to Trinity in 1646, and was elected a Fellow there in 1649. In 1655 he […]

‘Cooper’s Dictionary’: a seventeenth-century detective story

The cataloguing project of the rare book collections in the Perne Library is now in its sixth and final year. More than three thousand electronic records have been created and added to the on-line library catalogue, with details about the existing editions and relevant information about individual copies. Along the way, the two cataloguers have […]

MS.270: Rebinding a Medieval Manuscript

Introduction Peterhouse MS.270, is a breviary or small collection of liturgical texts according to the use of Sarum originating from the fourteenth century, probably from East Anglia.  In the recent catalogue of the medieval manuscripts of Peterhouse, Rod Thomson describes it thus: “Beautifully written, probably by a single scribe, in formal gothic bookhand, with initials […]

“Supplementum chronicarum”, or the story of a book in sixteenth-century Cambridge

Of the volumes currently housed in The Perne Library at Peterhouse, more than a quarter were bequeathed to the College by its then Master Andrew Perne, at his death in 1589. The majority of these books were printed in the sixteenth century, and it is safe to assume that Andrew Perne (c. 1519 -1589) bought […]

The Cambridge Fish Scribe

Although few medieval scribes signed their work, there are exceptions in Peterhouse manuscripts. One man entered his name three times in a collection of commentaries on Aristotle: ‘written by me Tydeman of the Kingdom of Sweden, the Province of Närke, at the University of Cambridge, Kingdom of England, in the year 1450’ ( MS 188). […]