Lot 258
  • 258

Book of Common Prayer--

5,000 - 7,000 GBP
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  • The booke of the common prayer and administracion of the Sacramentes, and other rites and ceremonies of the Churche: after the rite of the Churche of England. Edward Whitchurch, [4 May] 1549
  • paper
folio, black letter, title within woodcut border, woodcut initials, title and calendar printed in red and black, annotated and inscribed throughout in several early hands, eighteenth-century calf, leather spine-labels, lacking 10 leaves (A2, A9, O2-O7and V10), leaves lxxxi and lxxxv-lxxxvi torn with loss of text, title-page torn at foot and restored with some loss to border, marginal tears in first few leaves repaired, wormholes, some dampstaining, corners bumped, joints slightly worn, spine bumped at head


Robert St Leger (d.1564); Robert Stephenson, inscriptions dated 1578 and 1581; John George Bell, inscription


ESTC S122894; STC 1620; Griffiths 1549/8

Catalogue Note

The St Leger family copy from Leeds Castle, inscribed by the mathematician and astronomer Thomas Digges.

The Robert St Leger whose death in 1564 is recorded in this copy was probably the brother of Antony St Leger (1496?–1559) who, as Lord Deputy of Ireland (a post he held six times), was responsible for imposing the English liturgy based on the 1549 Book of Common Prayer on the Irish church. In return for his service in Ireland, he was granted Leeds Castle in 1552.

In addition to the record of various St Leger family births and deaths, this copy is inscribed by the mathematician Thomas Digges (c.1546–1595) with the Latin motto murus aeneus sana conscientia. Digges was an innovative mathematician, author of the "most self-consciously advanced and novel work on geometry published in sixteenth-century England" (Stephen Johnston, DNB) and the first English writer to make a public declaration of his support for the ideas of Copernicus. Digges was connected to the St Leger family by his marriage to Anne, the daughter of Warham St Leger (1525-1597).