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In celebration of the birthday of the famous diarist Samuel Pepys on 23 February we take a look at his connection with Trinity Hall. Surely some mistake? Everyone knows that Samuel Pepys went to Magdalene College, Cambridge, which has the world renowned Pepys Library. Well, on 21 June 1650, Samuel Pepys was admitted to Trinity Hall!

Entry in Venn for Samuel Pepys recording his matriculation at Trinity Hall (extract)

Entry in Venn for Samuel Pepys recording his admission to Trinity Hall (extract)

Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) was the son of a London tailor and the family lived above the shop in Salisbury Court, just off Fleet Street. They had important relations in Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire and in 1643 Samuel was sent to his uncle, Robert Pepys, in order to attend the “Free Grammar School” of Huntingdon. Three years later Samuel returned to London to finish his education at St Paul’s School and to apply to Trinity Hall, Cambridge.

Why Trinity Hall? Well, Trinity Hall was the college of Samuel’s great-uncle, Talbot Pepys. As Recorder of Cambridge (1624-1660) and M.P. for Cambridge from 1625, Talbot Pepys was a man of considerable power and influence. He had a large manor house at Impington and was a leading figure in raising taxes to fund Cromwell’s armies. Perhaps, then, it was natural for Samuel Pepys to choose Trinity Hall.

Trinity Hall in the time of Samuel Pepys

Trinity Hall in the seventeenth century

But Samuel never actually attended Trinity Hall! Sadly, we don’t know the reason why. Trinity Hall was a law college and Claire Tomalin, in her life of Pepys, speculates that perhaps Samuel was not keen on the idea of a career in law, adding “or it may have been too expensive to pursue”. Instead Samuel migrated to Magdalene and matriculated there in 1651.

The choice of Magdalene may have been influenced by the fact that the new Master of Magdalene, John Sadler, was a London neighbour at Salisbury Court. Moreover, Samuel had even more influential relative in Edward Montagu, the Parliamentarian soldier, whose mother was Samuel’s great-aunt. Tomalin tells us, “Montagu’s patronage probably came into it too; his chaplain had a Magdalene connection, and Samuel Morland, who claimed his friendship, had just been appointed to a fellowship there and became Pepys’s tutor.” So it was that Samuel Pepys studied at Magdalene for his Cambridge degree.

Trinity Hall and the Civil War

The Master of Trinity Hall in 1642 was Thomas Eden, who was also the M.P. for Cambridge University. Crawley tells us that Eden was “known by 1642 as one of the rare civilians [i.e. civil lawyers] who leaned towards the Parliamentarian cause”. Eden seems to have been skilful in navigating difficult times and, according to Crawley, “he may have had some influence in saving in saving the College silver from requisition either by the king or by Cromwell”.

Founders cup, circa 1350

Founders cup, circa 1350, a remarkable survival

In 1644 Edward Montagu (a relative of Samuel Pepys’s) and the Earl of Manchester came to Cambridge to purge the university of senior members with Royalist sympathies. Crawley tells us that twelve of the sixteen Heads of Houses were turned out and replaced with Puritan scholars – but Thomas Eden was not one of them! In February 1644 Eden had signed the Solemn League and Covenant and in 1645, a few months before his death, he was appointed to serve on a Parliamentary Committee for Admiralty affairs. Parliament took an interest in (or interferred in!) the appointment of Eden’s successor and it was not until 1546 that a mutually acceptable candidate was found at last. John Bond, who had strong Puritan credentials, was appointed Master. He served as Vice-Chancellor in 1658 and retired at the Restoration in 1660.

During the Commonwealth the discipline of the ecclesiastical courts was abolished. This had a direct impact on our civil lawyers. However, civilians still had probate and Admiralty business. College’s links with Admiralty law may account for a charming manuscript in the Old Library dating from about 1660-1690 called “Sea terms and geography”. It contains a glossary of nautical terms, the names of the winds and geographical descriptions of the world.

Trinity Hall manuscript of "Sea Terms" (MS.32). Pepys would have learnt similar terms on board ship with Montagu

Trinity Hall manuscript of “Sea Terms” (MS.32). Pepys would have studied similar terms aboard the “Swiftsure”

Samuel joins the Admiralty

After obtaining his degree, Samuel Pepys returned to London and worked as a clerk for his patron Edward Montagu, who had risen through the army to become Cromwell’s General-at-Sea. The navy flourished under Cromwell, it was well run and gained enormous respect among the European powers. After the Cromwell’s death the Commonwealth began to fall apart under his son Richard. In the interests of stability, a number of the ruling elite, including Montagu, began to think the un-thinkable and work covertly for the restoration of the monarchy.

Samuel Pepys by ClaireTomalin

Life of Samuel Pepys  by Claire Tomalin

At such a time Montagu needed a man he could trust and he chose Samuel Pepys as his secretary. Thus at the age of 27 Pepys joined the Admiralty. On 23 March 1660 Pepys set sail with Montagu aboard the “Swiftsure”. According to Tomalin “Pepys enjoyed his snug cabin, set out to learn sea terms, walked on the deck to keep sickness at bay as they put to sea.” From the “Swiftsure” the party transferred to the “Naseby” (soon to be renamed the “Royal Charles”) which sailed to the Netherlands to bring Charles II and his brother James back to England.

Montagu had royal favour for the part he played in the Restoration and through his influence Samuel was appointed clerk of the acts at the Navy Board, at a salary of £350 a year! Pepys turned out to be an admirable civil servant: a hard worker and loyal to his royal master James Duke of York. He was also a canny businessman. Dealing with naval supplies, he managed to amass a considerable fortune and a wonderful library!

Pepys Library at Magdalene College Cambridge

Pepys Library at Magdalene College Cambridge

Postscript

Two members of the Pepys family attended Trinity Hall: Talbot Pepys, Samuel’s great-uncle and John Pepys, Talbot’s second son (and Samuel’s cousin).

Talbot Pepys matriculated as a pensioner at King’s in about 1595 and became a scholar of Trinity Hall in 1601. He was Recorder of Cambridge and M.P. During the 1640s and 1650s Talbot Pepys sided with Parliament, being appointed to numerous parliamentary commissions and serving on the committee of the Eastern Association. Shortly before the Restoration, aged 77 and with failing eyesight, he resigned the recordership in favour of his eldest son, Roger, who also became M.P. for Cambridge

John Pepys was admitted as pensioner at Christ’s in 1636 and was admitted to Middle Temple in 1640. In 1641 he obtained an LLB from Trinity Hall and was appointed a fellow. In 1647 he was called to the Bar and obtained an LLD from Trinity Hall.

References

Samuel Pepys: the unequalled self” by Claire Tomalin. London: Penguin Books, 2002

Trinity Hall: the history of a Cambridge college, 1350-1975” by Charles Crawley. Cambridge: Trinity Hall, 1976

Alumni Cantabrigienses: part 1, From earliest times to 1751” compiled by John Venn and J. A. Venn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1924

The Pepys Library, Magdalene College Cambridge, opening times

The Master of Trinity Hall is a major player in the new BBC2 series “Wolf Hall”! The “Sherlock” actor Mark Gatiss plays Stephen Gardiner (Master of Trinity Hall from 1525-51 and 1553-55) in the TV drama based on Hilary Mantel’s historical novels about career of Thomas Cromwell.

The first volume of Hilary Mantel's trilogy on Thomas Cromwell

The first volume of Hilary Mantel’s trilogy on Thomas Cromwell

Stephen Gardiner came up to Cambridge at the age of 14 (which was not unusual in those days). He obtained his Bachelor degree from Trinity Hall in 1518 and became Doctor of Civil Law in 1521 and Doctor of Canon Law in 1522. Crawley tells us that Gardiner “was in residence at Trinity Hall, and almost certainly a fellow, in the early 1520s, and was not at that time reputed to be a rigid or intolerant man”. He lectured in civil and canon law during the years 1521-24 and was appointed in 1523/4 to examine in both subjects for four years.

In 1523 he was engaged by the University on business with Cardinal Wolsey. The Cardinal was so impressed by Gardiner that he took him into his employ in 1524. It was probably through Wolsey’s influence that Gardiner was elected Master of Trinity Hall in 1525. Gardiner was an absentee Master. However, he clung to his Mastership until his death, despite the fact that he held other more important offices.

Trinity Hall's portrait of Stephen Gardiner

Trinity Hall’s portrait of Stephen Gardiner. For a colour version go to BBC’s “Your Paintings”

Gardiner was to rise to become Bishop of Winchester, Chancellor of the University of Cambridge (1540-47 and 1553-56) and eventually Lord Chancellor. He seems to have valued Trinity Hall as a potential bolt-hole if things went wrong in his public life and Crawley quotes a report that “if all his [Gardiner’s] palaces were blown down by iniquity, he would creep honestly into that shell”.

However, when Gardiner’s fortunes WERE reversed, during the reign of Edward VI, he did not have a chance to retreat to Trinity Hall! Instead he was imprisoned in the Tower and put on trial. In February 1551 he was deprived of his bishopric and sometime later that year he was deprived of the Mastership of Trinity Hall (to be replaced by Walter Haddon in 1552). During the turmoil after the death of Edward VI, Crawley tells us that Gardiner “cautiously chose to stay in the Tower until Queen Mary came in person to release him and reinstate him.”

Gardiner's dedication to Mary Tudor in his book against the marriage of priests.

Gardiner’s dedication to Mary Tudor in his book against the marriage of priests (1554)

His time in the wilderness was over! Gardiner was once again Bishop of Winchester, Privy Councillor, Master of Trinity Hall, Chancellor of the University of Cambridge and, from August 1553, Lord Chancellor of England.

You can follow Stephen Gardiner’s career at the centre of Tudor power in BBC Two’s series “Wolf Hall” broadcast on Wednesday evenings.

Postscript:

Trinity Hall has a portrait of Stephen Gardiner by the school of Hans Holbein the younger. In the library’s Trinity Hall Collection, we have three books by Gardiner: ‘A detection of the devil’s sophistrie’ (1546), ‘De vera obedientia’ (1553) and ‘A traictise declaryng … that the pretensed marriage of priestes … is no mariage’ (1554).

The heavilly annotated titel page of "A detection of the devil's sophistrie"

Annotated title page of Trinity hall’s copy of “A detection of the devil’s sophistrie”

For an insight into the religious controversies of the time, take a look at an earlier blog post “Thomas Morgan of Minety”. In the post Dunstan Roberts, our guest blogger and graduate of Trinity Hall, looks at the extensive contemporary annotations to our copy of ‘A detection of the devil’s sophistrie’.References

Trinity Hall : the history of a Cambridge college, 1350-1975  / Charles Crawley. Cambridge: Trinity Hall, 1992

Wolf Hall / by Hilary Mantel. London: Fourth Estate, 2009

Bring up the bodies / by Hilary Mantel. London: Fourth Estate, 2012

BBC Two Wolf Hall (first episode on iplayer)

BBC’s Your Paintings: Stephen Gardiner

Radio Times Wolf Hall in pictures

“Christmas time! That man must be a misanthrope indeed in whose breast something like a jovial feeling is not roused – in whose mind some pleasant associations are not awakened – by the recurrence of Christmas.” These were the sentiments of Charles Dickens in 1835.

The making of the Victorian Christmas began as early as 1800 when Queen Charlotte set up a decorated Christmas tree in the Queen’s Lodge at Windsor for the delight of her young guests at a children’s party. During the 1820s and 1830s there was a strong revival of interest in Christmas traditions, with emphasis on feasting and conviviality – a trend that was reflected by Charles Dickens in his first Christmas piece “Christmas festivities” published in 1835. “Punch” had its first Christmas issue in 1841 and the first Christmas cards were sent in 1843, three years after the introduction of the penny post. However, it was the huge success of Charles Dickens’s tale, “A Christmas Carol”, with its message of loving kindness to the poor and the themes of the home and family love which defined Christmas as we know it today.

The superb Christmas Tree in Hall!

This year’s superb Christmas Tree in the newly refurbished Dining Hall!

But how did the great author himself celebrate Christmas? His son Henry Fielding Charles Dickens (Harry) had vivid recollections of Christmas at Dickens’s beloved home Gad’s Hill. Christmas was a time not only for the family but also for friends of the family. Gad’s Hill was often “full to overflowing and rooms had to be taken in the outlying cottages for some of the guests”.

Harry tells us that Christmas was “a great time, a really jovial time, and my father was always at his best, a splendid host, bright and jolly as a boy and throwing his heart and soul into everything that was going on.” These were not soporific Christmases with people dozing by the fire. Instead they were packed with entertainments and activity, including round games, songs, country walks and energetic dances all driven by Dickens’s prodigious energy. According to Harry “On one occasion, I remember, we had a country dance … – down the middle and up again! There was no stopping him! His energy, his light-heartedness, his buoyancy, were simply immense.”

The culmination of Christmas excitement came in 1866 when Dickens put on a sports day in a large field at the back of Gad’s Hill. It was a public event with “an immense crowd” of over 2,000 people! Charles Dickens himself describes the day in a letter to one of his best friends, John Forster, “The great mass of the crowd were labouring men of all kinds, soldiers, sailors and navvies… I made them a little speech from the lawn, at the end of the games.” The sports day was a huge success and, according to Dickens, “the road between this and Chatham was like a fair all day.”

Door to the Master's Lodge, Trinity Hall 2010

The door to the Master’s Lodge, Trinity Hall, Christmas 2010

Harry was admitted to Trinity Hall in 1868 (just a couple of years after this Christmas sports day) to read Mathematics. He worked hard and obtained a scholarship at the end of his first year in 1869 to the great delight of his father. Unfortunately, 1869 was to be the last Christmas for Charles Dickens and Harry, in his memoirs, recounts a very different Christmas at Gad’s Hill that year:

“It was on Christmas night, the Christmas before his death. My father had been ailing and had been troubled with his leg which had been giving him considerable pain, and he was lying on the sofa when we started this Memory Game… After successfully repeating a string of words the time came for him to add his own contribution.” Dickens suddenly came out with “Warrens’ Blacking, 30 Strand.” Harry remarks, “What a contrast that Christmas night… On the one hand a great name, admitted and respected throughout the world; while on the other, his mind had reverted to the tragic tale of his childhood.” That Christmas Dickens was looking back to his traumatic time as a boy when he was sent to work in a blacking factory to earn six shillings a week after his own father’s bankruptcy. Charles Dickens was to die just six months later on 9 June 1870.

The Old Library Trinity Hall in winter, complete with snowman!

The Old Library Trinity Hall in winter, complete with snowman!

Harry continued his studies at Trinity Hall and graduated in 1872 as 29th wrangler. He chose a legal career and was called to the Bar in 1873. He had a successful career, being appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1892, a Bencher of the Inner Temple in 1899 and Common Serjeant in 1917.

Throughout his life Harry continued to keep the memory of his father alive. During the 1914-18 war he gave recitals of his father’s works to raise money for the Red Cross. In “An open book” Monica Dickens tells us that at family Christmas gatherings at his home in Mulberry Walk, Harry performed imitations of his father giving his famous “Readings”, during which he would wear a geranium, his father’s favourite flower, and lean on the same velvet-covered reading stand used by Dickens during his reading tours. Moreover, to celebrate his 80th birthday in 1929, Harry went through the whole of “A Christmas Carol” without a hitch, his false teeth loosening at the melodramatic section, “I know him – Marley’s ghost!”

“A Christmas Carol” was first published on 17 December 1843 and by Christmas Eve it had already sold over 5,000 copies! The book was immensely popular and is still in print today.

The Hall with a dusting of snow

The Hall with a dusting of snow

References

“Christmas festivities” by Charles Dickens which appeared in Bell’s Life in London on 27 December 1835.

The recollections of Sir Henry Dickens, K.C. by Henry Dickens. London: Heinemann, 1934

A Christmas Carol and other Christmas writings by Charles Dickens; introduction by Michael Slater. London: Penguin Classics, 2010 (ISBN 9780141195858)

Wikipedia: Henry Fielding Dickens

An open book by Monica Dickens. London: Heinemann, 1978

The first Christmas tree” by Alison Barnes, article in History Today, vol.56, issue 12, 2006

It is not all about Russian spies! While some Trinity Hall alumni went on to become spies for Russia, bringing notoriety and dishonour to their College, one notable alumnus forged an honourable connection with Russia in the twentieth century through his distinguished scholarship. Anthony Cross (TH 1957-61) studied Russian at Trinity Hall and became the third Professor of Slavonic Studies, 1985-2004.

Professor Cross is internationally known for his work on eighteenth-century Russia and Anglo-Russian relations. Among numerous honours, he received an Honorary Doctorate from the Institute of Russian Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Pushkin House) in 2010.

Throughout his career Professor Cross has built up a remarkable personal library and the Jerwood Library Trinity Hall has been the fortunate recipient of his fine collection of about 500 books on Pushkin and his age. Although the collection contains some works written in English, the majority of the books are rare volumes in Russian. These were either purchased, mainly during the time of the Soviet Union, or collected by gift.

Pushkin book

Published in Moscow in 1937

Alexander Sergievich Pushkin (1799-1837) is the national poet of Russia. He was born in Moscow and came from an aristocratic family, of which he was very proud. He was no less proud of Abram (Ibrahim) Gannibal (1696-1781), his great- grandfather on his mother’s side, who was an African slave brought over to Russia to serve as a page in the court of Peter the Great and who later rose to a prominent position in Russian society.

Pushkin showed promise as a poet at a young age and was educated at the prestigious Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum, an exclusive boarding school attached to the Catherine Palace, near St Petersburg. He published his first poem at the age of 15 and had made a name for himself in literary circles by the time of his graduation. His first long poem “Ruslan and Lyudmila” appeared in 1820 and he went on to write many classics of Russian literature including the verse novel “Eugene Onegin”, the tragedy “Boris Gudonov” and the novel “The captain’s daughter”, amongst others.

A selection of books on Pushkin from the collection of Professor Cross

A selection of books from the collection of Professor Cross

Pushkin had a short and tempestuous life. He was exiled several times for his liberal views, he was an inveterate gambler and fought as many as 29 duels. Most tempestuous of all was his relationship with the beautiful Natalya Goncharova whom he met in 1828 and married in 1831. The couple moved in court circles, but Pushkin’s pride was hurt because the Tsar awarded him the lowest court title. As a result Pushkin came to believe that he was only accepted at court on account of his wife’s beauty.

After several years of marriage, rumours began to circulate about Natalya’s close relationship with her brother-in-law Georges d’ Anthès. In February 1837, Puskin challenged d’ Anthès to a duel in order to defend his wife’s honour.  The duel proved fatal for Pushkin and he died of his wounds two days later on 10 February 1837. One hundred years after Pushkin’s death, the town of Tsarskoye Selo was renamed “Pushkin” in the poet’s honour.

This fine collection of books on Pushkin and his age is housed in the Jerwood Library Trinity Hall and is a valuable resource for researchers and scholars.

Bookplate in the books of Professor Cross' collection at Trinity Hall

Bookplate in the books of Professor Cross’ collection at Trinity Hall

Professor Anthony Cross is Emeritus Professor of Slavonic Studies and a Fellow of Fitzwilliam College Cambridge. He has written widely on Russia and his latest publication is a bibliography of travel writing about Russia under the Tsars “In the lands of the Romanovs: an annotated bibliography of first-hand English-language accounts of the Russian empire (1613-1917)”.

biblography

Resources:

Biography of Professor Anthony Cross http://www.mml.cam.ac.uk/slavonic/staff/agc28/

In the lands of the Romanovs: an annotated bibliography of first-hand English-language accounts of the Russian empire (1613-1917) Cambridge: Open Book, 2014 (ISBN 9781783740574)

The Hillwood Museum Washington DC also has a collection of books from the library of Professor Anthony Cross

Wikipedia for biographies of Pushkin and his circle

Hundreds of woodblocks from the great Plantin Press in Antwerp were shipped to London for a magnificent new edition of John Gerard’s “The herball or generall historie of plantes” published in 1633. Gerard’s book first appeared in 1597, and the new edition of 1633 was revised by the apothecary and botanist, Thomas Johnson. It was so popular that it was quickly reprinted in 1636.

John Grerad, from the title page of the 1636 edition of his "Herball"

John Gerard, from the title page of the 1636 edition of his “Herball”

John Gerard (c.1545-1612) was a herbalist and curator of the London physic garden of the College of Physicians. His patron William Cecil, Lord Burghley, was one of the most powerful men in Elizabethan England (and Chancellor of the University of Cambridge) and Gerard was also employed as superintendent of Burghley’s gardens in the Strand and at Theobald’s in Hertfordshire.

His herbal, which was written in English rather than Latin, was a great success despite the fact that he was not regarded as a scholar by his contemporaries. He was condemned for borrowing widely from other scholars, including Dodoens and Lobel, without giving them due credit – a clear example of Elizabethan plagiarism!

Nevertheless, in his revised edition Thomas Johnson (d. 1644)seeks to excuse Gerard’s failings. “His chief commendation is, that he out of a propense good will to the publique advancement of this knowledge, endeavoured to performe therein more than he could well accomplish; which was partly through want of sufficient learning … and although there were many faults in the worke, yet judge well of the Author.” However, Johnson was at pains in his edition to rectify some of Gerard’s shortcomings and the work of 1633 contains his extensive revisions.

The Plantin woodblocks which arrived in London for the new edition had originally been made for an edition of Rembert Dodoens’ herbal “Stirpium historiae pemptades sex”. They are beautifully executed in a lively style and show excellent botanical detail. This made them a valuable resource and eminently suitable for re-use in other publications, as was the case here.

The "pretty Perian tulip", Tulipa Persica

The “pretty Persian tulip”, Tulipa Persica

Amongst a comprehensive array of botanical illustrations in the herbal, there are 30 woodblocks of the genus “tulipa”. Gerard is somewhat overwhelmed by the task of describing the many varieties of tulip available at the time. Instead he confines himself to a few, saying “each new year bringeth forth new plants of sundry colours not before seen; all of which to describe particularly were to rolle Sisiphus stone”. Among the tulips illustrated are “the purple tulip”, “the bright red tulip”, the “white tulip with purple streakes”, “the pretty Persian tulip having a red floure with whitish edges” and “the late yellow, with sanguine spots and a blacke bottome”. Gerard also describes some of the tulips he has seen in cultivation including one “in our London gardens, of a snow white colour, the edges slightly washt over with a little of that we call blush colour”.

The "many branched tulip with a yellow floure", Tulipa Serotina

The “many branched tulip with a yellow floure”, Tulipa Serotina

Thomas Johnson adds a footnote about tulips “I do verily thinke that they are … the Lillies of the field mentioned by our Saviour, Mat. 6.28, 29”. He gives the following reasons “First, their shape: for their floures resemble Lillies; and in these places whereas our Saviour was conversant they grow wilde in the fields. Secondly, the infinite variety of colour… And thirdly, the wondrous beautie and mixtures of these floures.”

The Old Library’s copy of Gerard’s herbal is the 1636 edition, coincidentally published when tulips were at the height of fashion. At this time “tulip mania” had taken hold in the Low Countries, with prices for bulbs reaching their peak in March 1637.

Ballerina Tulip

Tulip “Ballerina”, Trinity Hall gardens

Tulips remain popular spring flowers today. The flower beds of the Old Library, Trinity Hall are planted with two striking varieties which flower in April and early May: the orange and gold “Ballerina” and the appropriately named “Black parrot”. Despite the early season this year, tulip enthusiasts will still have a chance to see a myriad of tulips in bloom if they visit the specialist stands at the Chelsea Flower Show.

Tulip "Black Parrot"

Tulip “Black Parrot”, Trinity Hall gardens

The Old Library’s copy of Gerard’s herbal was recently conserved by the Cambridge Colleges Conservation Consortium through the generous support of alumnus Richard Ferens (TH 1957-1960) and his wife Penelope in celebration of their Golden Wedding.

References

Most of the refernces are from Wikipedia

Gerard’s “Herball” can be viewed online: https://archive.org/details/herballorgeneral00gera

The Plantin Moretus Museum in Antwerp is open to the public and has UNESCO World Heritage status

Trinity Hall gardens: http://www.trinhall.cam.ac.uk/about/gardens/

Last term the Old Library hosted a visit by a group of retired members of the Royal Navy which included several alumni of Trinity Hall. Nearly all had served in the Navy and been posted to Russia, either in National Service or as Defence Attaches, diplomats or interpreters, and several had taught Russian in universities. It was a wonderful opportunity to take a different look at the material in our special collections and I was suprised at the riches I discovered!

Shipping at the port of Sebastopol. From Pallas's "Travels through the southern provinces of the Russian empire in the years 1793 and 1794"

Shipping at the port of Sebastopol. From Pallas’s “Travels through the southern provinces of the Russian empire in the years 1793 and 1794″

Historically Trinity Hall had a strong link with the Navy as a result of its teaching of the civil law. This equipped Trinity Hall lawyers for a career in either the Ecclesiastical Courts or the Admiralty Courts because both courts used civil law and not common law. This explains the existence in the Old Library of a number of books relating to naval matters.

We have a charming late 17th-century (ca. 1660-1690) manuscript “Sea terms and geographical tracts” (MS.32) which deals with definitions of seafaring terms and contains a digest of geographical information necessary for understanding naval affairs.

“Sea terms and geographical tracts” (MS.32)

“Sea terms and geographical tracts” (MS.32)

In addition, the Old Library has a two-volume manuscript, dating from ca.. 1693-1710, a “Miscellany on Admiralty and Maritime Law” (MS.43.1-2). Written in several hands, this manuscript contains notes on civil law relating to Admiralty law which would be of direct relevance to any Trinity Hall law student intending to make his career in the Admiralty Courts. It belonged to a law student of All Souls, Oxford, whose signature at the front is dated 1693. This student is none other than the notable lawyer and later Master of Trinity Hall, Sir Nathanael Lloyd!

Manuscript "Miscellany on Admiralty Law". This opening relates to "Pyracy"

“Miscellany on Admiralty and Maritime Law” (MS43). This opening relates to “Pyrates”

Continuing the seafaring theme, the Old Library also contains the “Life of Admiral Lord Nelson” (London, 1810) and two first editions of the voyages of Captain Cooke, “Voyage towards the South Pole” (London, 1777) and “Voyage to the Pacific Ocean” (London, 1784). All “must haves” for the gentleman’s country house library and for the fellows of Trinity Hall.

General Map of the Russian Empire. Frontispiece to Coxe's "Account of the Russian discoveries between Asia and America"

General Map of the Russian Empire. Frontispiece to Coxe’s “Account of the Russian discoveries between Asia and America”

But what of Russia? Well, the Old Library has a small collection of books on voyages and travels. These include an “Account of the Russian discoveries between Asia and America” by William Coxe (London, 1780) containing wonderfully detailed maps of voyages; “Travels into Poland, Russia, Sweden, and Denmark” also by William Coxe (London, 1784) which has full-page engravings of Russian landmarks including St Basil’s and the Kremlin; and E. D. Clarke’s “Travels in various countries of Europe, Asia and Africa” (Cambridge, 1810-1823), the first part of which is on Russia Tartary and Turkey.

A Finn in her national costume. From Johann Gottleib Georgi's work published in St Petwersburg in 1776

A Finn in national costume. From Johann Gottleib Georgi’s work (St Petersburg, 1776)

Moreover, some recent additions to our special collections from the library of the late Lawrence Strangman include several books on Russia. Most of these have delightful hand coloured plates.  Johann Gottleib Georgi’s early work “Description de toutes les nations de l’empire de Russie” (St. Petersburg, 1776) contains brightly coloured plates which influenced many subsequent publications including the illustrations in the Russian volumes of “The world in miniature”, Ackerman’s pocket series edited by Frederick Shoberl (London, 1822-23).

Hand-coloured plate prineted by Ackerman for Shoberl's "World in Miniature"

Hand-coloured plate of a Kamtchaka couple. Printed by Ackerman for Shoberl’s “World in Miniature”

Travels through the southern provinces of the Russian empire in the years 1793 and 1794” by P. S. Pallas (London, 1812) contains sophisticated hand-coloured plates of the topography and peoples of the Crimea. Also in Strangman’s collection is a volume of essays “Fugitive pieces, on various subjects” (London, 1765) which includes a chapter by Lord Whitworth, ‘An account of Russia, in the year 1710’. Of particular interest to our visitors was the detailed description of the vessels in the shipyards on the Don!

Postscript

Bringing the Russian connection into the 20th century, Trinity Hall is famous for two notorious alumni who spied for the Soviet Union: Alan Nunn May (TH 1930) and Donald Maclean (TH 1931). Although these men were contemporaries at Trinity Hall they were not close friends. Both were high achieving undergraduates (Nunn May gained a First in mathematics and physics, and Maclean a First in modern languages) and both were members of Cambridge University Communist Party. However, the similarity ends there.

The outgoing Maclean was a member of the Trinity based communist study group with Blunt, Burgess, Cairncross and Philby (the Cambridge Five). He joined the Foreign Office in 1935 from where he passed secrets to the Soviet Union. Maclean defected to the Soviet Union in 1951 and died far away from the country of his birth in Moscow in 1963.

Nunn May, an altogether quieter man, stayed on at Trinity Hall for a PhD in physics and then went to King’s College London in 1936. In 1943-44 he passed on vital atomic bomb secrets to the Soviet Union, saying at his trial at the High Court in 1946 “I thought this was a contribution I could make to the safety of mankind”. Nunn May was sentenced to 10 years, but was released early (in 1952). After several years teaching at a university in Ghana, he spent the rest of his days living quietly in Cambridge, although there is no record of his ever returning to darken the doors of Trinity Hall!

The Old Library doesn’t seem to conform to any particular classification scheme–at least, none that I can fathom–but over the past few months it’s become clearer and clearer to me that the books are in some kind of order. I’ve found myself in a bit of a ‘history of England’ rut, with pretty much every book for miles (slight exaggeration) another assessment of the same topic. So when the next title on my list promised the “sufferings of the clergy”, I thought things might finally be looking up. I anticipated, at best, a discussion of seventeenth century torture devices in vicarages; at worst, an exposition of the shoddy living conditions the clergy had to endure, things like poor TV reception and no hot water after 8am.

Obviously, it was none of those things. In fact, it turned out to be over seven hundred pages of brilliantly executed passive aggression. The book’s full title is An attempt towards recovering an account of the numbers and sufferings of the clergy. It was compiled by clergyman and biographer John Walker (1674-1747) of Exeter, and printed in London in 1714. It was written as a response to an earlier work, printed in 1702, by Edmund Calamy (1671-1732), called Abridgment of Mr Baxter’s narrative. This was, itself, a rearrangement of another work, the original (presumably) Mr Baxter’s narrative, which had suffered at the hands of an ill-experienced indexer. (We’ve all been there.) What made Calamy famous at the time, though, wasn’t just his ability to recognise bad indexing when he saw it. It was the ninth chapter of his book, which was a list of nonconformist ministers silenced or thrown out after the Restoration in 1660. Wykes (2004) describes the book as “a popular statement and defence of nonconformity against the high-church attack on dissent and toleration”.

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Edmund Calamy, 1671-1732

The publication of this list created a bit of a storm. In the second edition of his book, printed in 1713, Calamy himself acknowledged it: “for some Years there was scarce a Pamphlet came out on the Church side, in which I had not the Honour of being referr’d to in the invective part of it” (1713, in Wykes, 2004). But I’d be shocked if any of these books Calamy mentioned included an attack quite as lengthy, profound and vitriolic as Walker’s Sufferings of the Clergy. Given that it appeared the year after Calamy wrote this acknowledgment of infamy, I’m tempted to believe that Walker took it as a challenge. Walker’s idea was to produce a similar sort of volume, but this time listing the conforming clergy who were deprived and sequestered by the puritans in the period before the Restoration. He admits as much in his Preface: “[the work] was wholly occasioned by the ninth chapter of Dr Calamy’s Abridgment of Mr Baxter’s life” (1714, p. i).Image

It sounds vaguely admiring at this point, but Walker soon sticks the knife in. “I take it for granted”, he writes, “Dr Calamy himself knew as many reasons for his Work, as anybody else, and that he was not wanting to produce the Best of them” (1714, p. i). He continually compares his motivations to those of Dr Calamy: if he can write a list, then why can’t I? If you don’t object to Dr Calamy’s list, then you can’t object to mine. After a while it starts to read like an early eighteenth century rendition of “Anything you can do, I can do better” from Annie, Get Your Gun.

This slightly obsessive attack on poor old Dr Calamy for whom, I’ll admit, I’m starting to feel sorry, runs to over fifty pages, after which Walker gets down to the actual business of the suffering. The book itself is divided into two parts: first, a history of ecclesiastical affairs prior to the Restoration, designed essentially to justify the treatment of nonconformists after the Act of Uniformity in 1662 based on their behaviour when they were in charge (du Toit, 2004); and second, the list itself. I’m  impressed by Walker’s organisation and indexing skills, and I’m starting to suspect that he was secretly a librarian. The famous ‘suffering’ varies in type and severity, from George Williamson of Bristol, who got kicked out of his vicarage (1714, p. 4), to George Crakenthorp of Essex, who was accused of being a “common tippler, and often drunk” (1714, p. 219). There’s Samuel Taylor of Suffolk, who was left so penniless that he had to beg relief from the “corporation for ministers’ widows” (1714, p. 383) and William Knight of Huntingdonshire, whose ruination set off a chain of events which led to his grandson getting his maid pregnant. Worst of all, the maid was a “hog-herd’s daughter” (1714, p. 288). There’s a Mr Eaton of Cheshire, whose wife was carried to a dunghill (1714, p. 236), presumably against her will. Walker reports that several members of the clergy died before the Restoration, but a lot do have happier endings. Take Thomas Paske of Clare Hall, Cambridge, for example. He was restored and his great worth was proven beyond all doubt when, on one day, he was visited by “three bishops, four privy counsellors, two judges and three doctors” (1714, p. 141). Someone definitely needed to explain the concept of ‘office hours’ to Thomas Paske.

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Walker’s Sufferings portrays these poor ministers as maligned, unjustly accused of all sorts of scandal, replaced by unsavoury gentleman, harrassed and persecuted simply for their loyalty. There’s a genuine sense of their collective martyrdom shining through and, without a copy of Calamy’s Abridgment in front of me it’s difficult to tell if Walker copied that too. I imagine he did. But they say the best form of flattery is imitation, so maybe Calamy wouldn’t have minded too much after all.

References

Calamy, E. (1702). An abridgment of Mr Baxter’s history of his life and times. London: Printed by S. Bridge for Thomas Parkhurst [and two others].

Du Toit, A. (2004). ‘Walker, John (bap. 1674, d. 1747)‘. Oxford Dictionary of National Bibliography. Oxford: OUP. Accessed 23 Aug 2013.

Walker, J. (1714). An attempt towards recovering an account of the numbers and suffering of the clergy of the Church of England. London: Printed by W.S. for J. Nicholson [and five others].

Wykes, D.L. (2004). ‘Calamy, Edmund (1671-1732)‘. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: OUP. Accessed 23 Aug 2013.

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