Topographical Library Of Edward Lhwyd
( Originally Published Late 1800's )
After the dreadful catastrophe of Hafod, where an invaluable library depended on the carelessness of a servant in airing a bed, your antiquarian readers will not be displeased to learn the fate of a valuable collection of provincial typography, formed in the last age by the learned and industrious antiquary Edward Lhwyd, of Wales, and of Jesus College, Oxford, where he succeeded Dr. Plot as Keeper of the Ashmolean Museum. In search after the languages, histories, and customs of the original inhabitants of Great Britain, he travelled several times through Wales, Cornwall, Scotland, Ireland and Bas Bretagne. Many curious observations in natural history, botany, etc., made by him in those travels, were inserted in the " Philosophical Transactions," particularly Nos. 334, 335, 336, and 337. The chief fruit of his travels was his "Archaeologia Britannica," Oxford, 1707, fol., " Glossography," divided into ten sections. He left in MS. a Scotch or Irish-English dictionary, which Mr. David Malcolme„ a minister of the Church of Scotland, undertook to print by subscription, and published proposals, 1732, in above thirty sheets, 8vo. Mr. L. had the use of all Mr. Vaughan's collections at Hengwert (who was the next great collector for illustrating the Principality) and having, with incessant labour and great exactness, employed a considerable part of his life in searching into the antiquities of the Welsh, all that was antient or valuable in their MSS. ; transcribed all the old charters of their monasteries that he could meet with ; examined into the antiquities of Ireland, Armoric Bretagne, and other countries inhabited by the same people ; compared them together, and made his observations upon the whole ; but died, 1709, before he had digested them into the form of a discourse on the original inhabitants of these islands. He communicated large and valuable additions concerning Wales to Bishop Gibson when he was publishing Camden's " Britannia," which he revised for the second edition. His intimate acquaintance Tom Hearne characterizes him (account of antiquities between Windsor and Oxford in Leland's " Itinerary," V. 144) as "a man of indefatigable industry, and of an enterprising and daring genius, whom no difficulties or hardships could deter or frighten from prosecuting his worthy and laudable designs ; and therefore, as nothing uncommon or fit to be noticed could escape his inquiry, so he could never rest satisfied till he came to a view of it himself."
His collections for a second volume of archaeologia, which was to give an account of the antiquities, monuments, etc., in the Principality, were numerous and well chosen ; but, on account of a quarrel between him and Dr. Wynne, then fellow, afterwards principal, of Jesus College, and Bishop of St. Asaph, the offer of purchasing them was refused, and they were purchased by Sir Thomas Saunders Seabright, Bart, of Beechwood, in Herts, who was of the same college, created LL,D. 1732, and died 1736. His two sons and successors died 1765 and 1794 ; and his grandson, the present baronet, in arranging his library, dispersed them by auction in the course of the last month. They have, however, found a patron in their author's countryman, Sir Watkins Williams Wynn, Bart., who purchased for 70 guineas Mr. L.'s notes and drawings of antiquities, monuments, etc., in one folio, six 4to., and six 8vo. books ; and thirty-six of his pocket memorandum-books of observation on natural history and antiquities in various parts of England, Wales, etc., etc., for 20 guineas ; four vol, es of copies of Welsh Rolls and Charters for 6 guineas ; and for ;guineas four volumes of ancient Welsh chronicles, poetry, etc., a e of loose papers included, and collections for the Welsh c:cur '": 9 for Bishop Gibson. Various parts of antient Welsh MSSS., an original MS. of the " Archæologia " for L5. Mr. Owden, in his Cambrian Biography," 219, has fallen into a strange mistake in saying that Lhwyd's "Collection of Welsh MSS., which once formed the Seabright collection, is now in the possession of Thomas Johnes, Esq., of Havoc, in Cardiganshire."
Sir Roger Twisden, Bart., whose books made a part of the library at Beechwood, was " a great encourager of learning, and a patron of learned men, being himself a master of our ant and English history and laws, and left behind him the united of the scholar and the gentleman " (Hasted's " Kent," ii 176). e published an edition of our chronicles, principally the Northern ones, in Latin, 1652 (Simon Dunelmensis, Johannes et Ricardus priores Hagustaldensis, Ailredus abbas Rievallensis, Radulphus de Diceto Londinensis, Johannes Brompton Jorvallensis, Gervasius Monachus Dorobernensis, Thomas Stubbs Dominicanus, Gull. Thorn Cantuariensis, Henricus Knighton Leicestriensis).
Among those preserved here with his signature were Higden, bought for Z2 12s, 6d. by Colonel Shipley ; Malmesbury " De Gestis Regnum Anglorum " (,J1 7s., by Mr. Heber) ; Thorn (12s. do.) ; Henry of Huntingdon and Giraldus " de Expugnatione Hibernie (Zz 1s. do.) ; Ven. Bede (Z' r 3s. Dr. Burney) ; " Chronicon Math. Paris, sive Historia minor, cum vita, Autoris per doctissimum virum Rog. Twisden, bar.," in paper (Z2 8s. do.) ; transcript of Leland's "Collectanea de vitis illustribus" (Zr as., Triphook). Besides a variety of Rolls of Parliament, of Richard II., Henry IV., V., and VI. (among others are the 9th to 12th Parliaments of Richard IT,, in the beginning of which are "several curious transcripts and remarks by Sir Roger, beginning with some abbreviations of the 8th of Edward III., the Roll itself being wanting. This abbreviation was taken by Mr. William Bowyer, Keeper of the Records in the Tower." Others from beginning of the 13th to the end of the 21st Richard II.; from the beginning of the 1st Parliament of Henry IV. to the end of that reign ; from the beginning of the 6th to the end of the 13th ; from the beginning of the 1st Parliament to the end of the 9th of Henry V.; from the beginning of the 1st to the end of the 15th of Henry VI. ; from the beginning of the 18th to the end of the 39th, (Those eight vols. were bought by Colonel Shipley, son of the Dean of St. Asaph, for 7 guineas). " Extracts and notes taken out of the original Journal of the Upper House of Parliament, as copied from Sir Symonds D'Ewes' own book, who copied them from the original. This very book was collected and written by the learned Sir R. Twisden from Sir S. D'Ewes, while the said Sir Roger was a prisoner in Lambeth House, 1645, and contains a 4mo. Eliz. ad conclusionem 43 ejusd. reginw, 1601. He was then confined in the Lollard's Tower at Lambeth." He suffered greatly for his loyalty, and was forced at last to compound for his estate for the sum of £1,300. He died 1672, aged 75. Hearne published " Guliemus Neubrigensis" from a copy collated by him, with an excellent MS. formerly of St. Mary's Abbey, at Newburgh, purchased by Mr. Heber ; and another copy, containing other pieces by the same author, purchased at this sale by the Marquis of Buckingham.
A beautiful Coran, in Arabic, the capitals illuminated with gold, in its original binding, and at the beginning this attestation of its being presented to Sir Roger by Sir Paul Pindar, when Ambassador to the Porte, in the reign of Kirig James I. :
" Liber hic ex dono Pauli Pindari equitis aurati, qui oratoris munere publicè functus Constantinopoli, dorai reversus per procuratorem suum pro patre meo (cujus erat amantissimus) non sine, difficultate obtinuit etiam istis partibus, raro enim et non cuicunque personæ venduntur hi libri. Unde fit ut nescio an magis laudarem eorum in transcribendis libris diligentiam (totum enim hoc opus MS. est), an admirarer illorum c2ecitatem, qui talia credunt 7uæ exteris committere non audent. Donavit mense Junio 1624. Roger Twisden."
This was purchased for the Archiepiscopal library at Lambeth by the Rev. J. H. Todd, librarian there.
A MS. on vellum, 4to., imperfect at the beginning, ending " Explicit speculum juratoris." By Thomas Wignhal, a Premonstratensian monk, of Dereham Abbey, Norfolk, miscalled in the copy in the Harleian Library Wygnate for Wyngale.
" Mount Calvary, or the History of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Cornish and English, by John Kergwin." This is a transcript of the 3rd Cornish MS. in the Bodleian Library mentioned by Dr. Borlase, Nat. Hist., p. 295, " which Mr. Lhwyd received from Mr. Anstis. Mr. Scawen had a copy of it, 1678, long before Lhwyd had his copy from Anstis, and gives a literal transcript of it. This MS. was mentioned before, and was in the possession of Dr. Lyttelton, Dean of Exeter."
Proceedings, Speeches, and Debates in Parliament in 1627 and 8. " These debates are not printed. The Authors of the Parliamentary History appear to have seen a MS. of the same period, but do not give the debates at length. A few leaves wanting. This was bought for the Marquis of Buckingham for £6 6s. as also Sir John Poley's account of his services with Lord Essex in Ireland, with a drawing of the battle between Blackwater and Ardmagh, where the English were defeated by Tyrone and his kernes : for three guineas and a half. This came out of the Poley Library, which was incorporated in that of Beech-wood. Also, for Z2 15s. a copy of George Owen's " History of Pembrokeshire," 1603, of which there are several copies.