Calke Abbey Highlights (2)

Previously, I mentioned some of the highlights of the stores collection at Calke. It is clear even at this relatively early stage (about 800 books have now been added to the Trust’s collections database and will be added in due course to COPAC), that the stores not only contain books from the final generations of Harpur Crewes, but also a substantial library from the family of Col. Godfrey Mosley (1863-1945), who married the last baronet’s eldest daughter, Hilda Harpur Crewe (1877-1949). Mosley’s family owned a house at Burnaston near Etwall in Derbyshire (now demolished and the site of a Toyota factory), built by his grandfather Ashton Nicholas Every Mosley (1792-1875) – son of a younger son of Sir John Parker Mosley, 1st Bt, of Rolleston Hall (near Burton on Trent). Apparently, parts of Burnaston house are still somewhere in storage after an export licence to Tokyo was refused. Godfrey’s father was the Rev. Rowland Mosley, who held the living of Eggington, associated with the Every family. Some of his books are now at Calke, as are some of the Rolleston Mosleys’ collection.

The Mosleys frequently intermarried with members of the Every family, another Derbyshire family, which means that any books inscribed by their former owners could have arrived at Calke with Godfrey through various routes (his mother was another Every, for example). Once all the books have been catalogued, this library among the vast collections at Calke could become an interesting research project in itself!

In the meantime, here are two interesting items I’ve discovered so far:

Instructive rambles in London by Elizabeth Helme (1808)

Ownership and gift inscription on front pastedown to Instructive rambles in London (1808)

The first of these is Elizabeth Helme’s Instructive rambles in London and the adjacent villages (1808) a volume intended to provide a moral compass for children (rather than being an account of a sight-seeing tour around London). First published in 1798 [ESTC N8708], it was evidently popular, since seven further editions appeared in the first two decades of the nineteenth century.

The Calke copy contains a gift inscription to a Susanna Sophia Flower, who I haven’t placed yet, from Her Royal Highness the Princess Elizabeth, dated 21 April 1811. Presumably this is Princess Elizabeth, from 1820 Landgravine of Hesse-Homburg (1770-1840), daughter of George III of England and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. The pastedown also contains an ownership inscription: “C. Flower”, which is probably the Hon. Caroline Flower (d. 1840), daughter of Henry Jeffery Flower, 4th Viscount Ashbrook, who married Henry Every in 1829 and was Godfrey Mosley’s maternal grandmother. This suggests that Susanna Sophia Flower was also related to the Viscounts Ashbrook and was evidently friendly with Princess Elizabeth. A third inscription in a child’s hand appears to indicate that “Eliza red this”, perhaps this was a younger sister of Godfrey’s mother Jane.

Ambassades memorables (1680): engraved additional title page.

Ambassades memorables (1680): Main title page.

The second item is a Dutch publication, printed in Amsterdam for Jacob Meurs “merchand libraire”: Ambassades mémorables de la Compagnie des Indes orientales des Provinces unies vers les empereurs du Japon : Contenant plusieurs choses remarquables arrives pendant le voyage des ambassadeurs; et deplus, la description des villes, bourgs, châteaux, forteresses, temples & autres bâtiments: des animaux, des plantes, montagnes, riviéres, fonteines; des moeurs, coutumes, religions & habillemens des Japonois: comme aussi leurs exploits de guerre, & les revolutions tant anciennes que modernes que ces peuples ont essuyées. Le tout enrichi de figures dessinées sur les lieux, & tire des mémoires des ambassadeurs de la compagnie.

One of the myriad illustrations in Ambassades memorables (1680)

It is a French translation of Arnoldus Montanus’s Gedenkwaerdige gesantschappen der Oost-Indische Maetschappy, in fact a detailed account of Japanese culture and society (as well as a description of the architecture, landscapes, flora and fauna) by envoys to the Emperor of Japan. It was first published in Dutch by Jacob Meurs in 1669 and a German translation appeared from his establishment the following year. This French edition is in two parts and contains a large quantity of illustrations and maps (see STCN). There are a few copies of this in the British Isles, and the Calke copy is possibly one of two so far identified in National Trust book collections (the other may be at Blickling Hall in Norfolk, but is only known from a card index).

This volume possibly came to Calke via Godfrey Mosley’s father. The title page is inscribed “Ashton Mosley Burnaston House nr Etwall Derbyshire 1858” and is therefore an item from the collection of Ashton Nicholas Every Mosley (1792-1875), Godfrey’s paternal grandfather. Apart from a number of other older items so far identified as coming from Burnaston House, Ashton Mosley appears to have had an interest in foreign countries. Another account of the Far East, this time by one of the envoys of the Dutch East India Company to the court of China, was inscribed by him in 1859. It is the English translation [ESTC T114817] of a Parisian publication which appeared around the same time (1798). At the moment, the 2-vol set is incomplete and I’m hoping that volume 1 will turn up in the course of cataloguing the stores collection. A third book describes the North-African coast, which was published in 1750 [ESTC T92932] (also inscribed with the year 1858).


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Filed under Calke Abbey, Eighteenth century, ESTC items, Historic Libraries, National Trust, Nineteenth century, Provenance Research, Seventeenth century

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