Lot 64
  • 64

Gardiner, Stephen, and John Ponet

15,000 - 20,000 GBP
116,500 GBP
bidding is closed


  • A traictise declaryng and plainly prouyng, that the pretensed marriage of priestes, and professed persones, is no mariage, but altogether vnlawful... by Thomas Martin. London: Robert Caly, 1554
  • Paper
4to (195 x c.140mm.), wide margins, errata leaf at end, with more than 500 pages of contemporary manuscript notes in the hand of John Ponet, the text annotated on c.262 pages, and the book interleaved with an additional c.266 pages of manuscript notes, in English, Latin, and Greek, using both a secretary and an italic hand, with some notes in red ink, comprising Ponet's working notes and drafts for his "An apologie fully aunsweringe... a blasphemose book gathered by D. Steph. Gardiner... and other papists... under the name of Thomas Martin... against the godly mariadge of priests" (published 1556), nineteenth-century half morocco, title-page and verso of last leaf soiled, title with slight paper adhesion, some light staining, minor worming in lower margin of final third


Law Society, old library stamp on first and last leaves, and armorial bookplate


ESTC S112322; STC 17517

Catalogue Note

An exceptional rarity: a complete working manuscript by a major controversialist writing in the fury of the religious controversies of the mid-sixteenth century. John Ponet (1514-1556) was a leading reformer under Edward VI and was raised to the see of Winchester in 1551 (following Gardiner's ejection). He escaped into exile after Mary's accession and settled in Strassburg, from where he continued to contribute to controversies of the period including the on-going debate over the lawfulness of priestly marriage.

The current lot was Ponet's own copy of an influential tract against priestly marriage attributed in print to Thomas Martin but usually credited (including by both Ponet himself and by the ESTC) to Stephen Gardiner, which Ponet had interleaved and then annotated with notes that would form the basis of his confutation, An apologie fully aunsweringe... a blasphemose book (1556). It includes drafts of passages that are found in the printed text, such as Ponet's attack on the tract's dedication "not only to a queen, but also to a virgin queen... not doutinge belyke that her graces eares will not be offended with... your shameless shiftes, your ruffian lyke talke and lowde lyes" but these notes were substantially revised before reaching print: the bulk of this manuscript is a point by point refutation of "Martin's" arguments on priestly marriage, whereas Ponet's Apologie was not structured in this way. It also appears that the manuscript contains substantial material that never found its way into print as Ponet died before he could complete his promised second part of his Apologie. As was commonly the case with religious controversy of the period, Ponet's manuscript combines a formidable range of theological citations, intricate arguments (Chapter XII of the Traictise is an attack on Ponet's earlier publications, to which Ponet now responds in details), ad hominem attacks (returning repeatedly to the accusation that "Martyn playd allway the fole in Christmas" at Oxford, for example) and homely vignettes taken from everyday life. For example, he points out that forcing married priests to divorce would force the breaking of a sacrament to enforce a vow:

"...much lyke an yrishe surgeon that dwelled in Canterbery when I was a boy whiche toke apon himselfe to hele the sore eye of a monk in Canterbery, & the left eye beinge sore he said he must first put his medicine in the right eye ... & at the last he made the monk to see aswell in the one as with the other. for in pretendinge to heale the one eye he did put out both..."

A book from Ponet's library will be sold in these rooms in the Music and Continental Books sale, 5 June 2013, lot 192.