Alexander Pope and Marginalia
We don’t encourage students to write in books unless they are going to be famous - and of course you can’t always tell if fame will come eventually. But Alexander Pope must have been pretty certain, as he made numerous notes in the books of his we have in the Hurd Library. Here is one he made in his 1611 copy of Spenser’s poems. The expression that has caught his eye is...
The fruit of the vine
Wine is a perfect accompaniment to home-made bread (see our last blog), of which Bishop Hurd’s nephew, young Richard, was well aware. After his uncle’s death in 1808 he went to live in the Old Palace in Worcester, where he planted some grape vines in 1809. Here is a letter from the supplier, Mr Wynne: Richard has noted the varieties and recorded their planting: He even kept the...
The staff of life
Bread is a universally acknowledged staple diet. Bishop Hurd’s nephew, young Richard, spent a lot of time in his uncle’s library, making notes about (and sometimes in) the books. In early 1800 he turned his attention to the making of this vital food. (His interest in rice pudding came later - see our last blog but one). In February he transcribed a recipe for bread made with bran...
Another Lottery winner - Thomas Gray
Last week it was announced that the Heritage Lottery Fund, which has been so generous to Hartlebury Castle, is supporting the restoration of of Thomas Gray’s monument and family tomb in St Giles’s churchyard at Stoke Poges. It is the first step in the run-up to the 300th anniversary of Gray’s birth in 2016. He was four years older than Richard Hurd but they were close friends...
Lovely rice pudding for dinner again!
Lovers of A.A.Milne will remember little Mary Jane, the fussy eater who threw a tantrum whenever rice pudding made its appearance for her supper. She might have been pleased to see it had she had the misfortune to live among the poor of Worcester in 1800. Some scraps kept by Bishop Hurd’s nephew, young Richard, show his uncle’s concern for those unable to afford bread. Rice, it was...
Our new graduate trainee
Today we welcomed Sarah Stretton’s successor to the Hurd Library. Alison Winston is one of the five new Skills for the Future trainees, who all began work last week on our new project, Nurturing Worcestershire’s Treasures. Alison will divide her time between the University of Worcester Research Collections and the Hurd Library. Her main tasks will be to continue putting records into...
The power of a village community
Followers of Twitter will know that the Hartlebury Castle Preservation Trust (www.hartleburycastletrust.org)has been successful in its first round application to the Heritage Lottery Fund. It has been awarded £413,700 of development funds in support of its efforts to secure the castle’s future as a heritage site, benefiting the local community, the UK and beyond. But it all started...
THE LOST WINDOW
The glazing of the east window in the chapel at Hartlebury Castle was installed in 1898 by the family of Bishop James Perowne, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his becoming a priest. The Bishop can be seen in the bottom left hand corner and his most famous predecessor, Hugh Latimer, in the right. The original glass, now long lost, had been installed about 1750 as part of Henry...
The empty plinth
A job Mike and Ken were asked to do after sorting out the Hurd Library windows last year was to clear junk out of a glory hole under the roof, just outside the north door of the library. They removed everything except some large pieces of marble, which they thought might be important. They were indeed. They were the plinth, with an inscription by Bishop Hurd, which once supported a plaster bust...
Trouble at Vicarage?
We never know what we are about to discover in the Hurd Library. One week it’s a piece of obscure ancient Greek, the next it’s a long-forgotten record of a very cross local clergyman. The Reverend Charles Shipley, Vicar of Grimley and Hallow, was a good friend of the Hurd Library, giving several very fine books to it both before and after Bishop Hurd’s death. These include an...
The visits of researchers to the Hurd Library continue to help us unlock some of its secrets. When Dr Stephen Gregg was with us last month, investigating the use Bishop Hurd made of the works of Edward Hyde, first Earl of Clarendon, one of the books he looked at was this one: It was given to Hurd the year it was published, Stephen thinks, by William Warburton, who mentions it in a letter dated...
Hurd and Winchester
One of Bishop Hurd’s closest friends was Dr Thomas Balguy (1716-1795). They had met at Cambridge. Balguy was also in orders and moved to Winchester as a prebendary in 1757, becoming Archdeacon in 1759. Many of Hurd’s letters are to him, the bulk being in the Beinecke Library at Yale, where I saw them in 2011. We have a fine portrait of Balguy by William Hoare in the Hurd Library. ...
A better summer residence than Eccleshall
On 2 December 1774 Richard Hurd was told that he was to be appointed Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, succeeding Brownlow North, who was off to Worcester. The episcopal residence then was Eccleshall Castle, a house not unlike Hartlebury in appearance with its two projecting wings. But it seems to have had some drawbacks, which were noted in 1806 by Thomas Harwood in his History and antiquities...
A busy week
This week has been a busy one in the Hurd Library. Firstly we have had a researcher - Dr Stephen Gregg (Bath Spa University), who has been studying the use Bishop Hurd made of some of his books, notably Clarendon’s History of the rebellion, which he had in several editions. We worked in the office to keep warm. Another Stephen was engaged on something completely different: He was...
Starting as he meant to go on
Richard Hurd began his lifelong passion for book collecting when he was an undergraduate at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. In the Hurd Library we have two books, purchased in 1737 when he was only 17. Each bears an elegant ownership inscription: One of them is a Cicero, dated 1730; the other is by the Master of Trinity, the great scholar Richard Bentley (1662-1742), dated 1735: The purchase of...
My Week (1788)
One of the pleasures of reading The Times on Saturdays is Hugo Rifkind’s column My Week - an imaginary diary by a well-known person who has had some unfortunate publicity recently. In 1788 a witty Welshman, David Williams, turned his hand to something similar in his anonymous publication Royal Recollections, a send-up of George III’s visit to Cheltenham, Gloucester and Worcester in the...
Given Bishop Hurd’s love of literature it is surprising to find only one English novel in the Hurd Library; this is Horace Walpole’s Castle of Otranto, 1765. The author’s name is added in Hurd’s own hand. One might have expected to find a copy of Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones, as Hurd’s friend Ralph Allen was the model for Squire Allworthy. Hurd certainly read...
Not all the books in the Hurd Library were collected by Bishop Hurd himself. After his death in 1808 several gifts or purchases were added by succeeding bishops. This fine volume, illustrating momentous events in England from 1816-1823, was added probably by his successor, Bishop Cornewall. It deals in particular with the accession of King George IV (whom Hurd had tutored many years previously)...
Today, 13 January, is Bishop Hurd’s 293rd birthday. He recorded it in the manuscript notes of his life, which is among the collections of the Hurd Library. His nephew, young Richard, added a note about his parents, John and Hannah Hurd: Chris Penney, Hurd Librarian
Volunteers: what do they do?
The Hurd Library has no paid staff. Without its loyal and enthusiastic volunteers we would achieve very little. Many of them help us to run tours of the library, acting as stewards and giving talks. Three of them turn up almost every Tuesday morning to carry out the vital tasks of shelf-checking and book-cleaning. Walter Tinley and Robert Wagstaff, seen above, have been checking the shelves for...
Happy New Year!
Boys making a snowman in Thomas Bewick’s History of British birds. If January 2013 gives us weather like that there won’t be much gardening, but, just in case (and it’s lovely and mild today) Philip Miller tells us what to do: And we are sure to have a companion, especially if we are wearing something red: (Thomas Bewick of course) Chris Penney, Hurd Librarian
Christmas at Hartlebury Castle
Not that we shall be there on Christmas Day of course but this is one I prepared earlier. Here is a Hellebore, also known as the Christmas Rose, from one of the Hurd Library’s most beautiful books, Curtis’s Flora Londinensis, 1777-1798. There is a Christmas tree in the saloon, overlooked by Queen Charlotte, Bishop Johnson and Bishop Arthur Perowne. Perhaps this is how Thomas...
The Next 'Spanish' Steps of a Graduate Trainee
Since the end of my wonderful year’s traineeship at The Hurd Library and UOW Research Collections last September, I have been living and teaching English in Southern Spain. I live in a town called Ecija, which is situated between the cities of Seville and Cordoba. I’ve been asked to write this update on my next step by Hurd Librarian Chris Penney. When I arrived here at the beginning...
Spot the difference
All the window work is now finished and the Hurd Library is restored to glory in time for Christmas.Another improvement has been the removal of the strip of red carpet from the middle, which used to make the room resemble a corridor. The view looking south. And the view looking north. Chris Penney, Hurd Librarian
What on earth are cricketeers? They were giving the newly enthroned Bishop of Winchester, Brownlow North, a good deal of grief shortly after his move from Hartlebury to Farnham Castle in 1781. He wrote this letter to his successor in the See of Worcester, Richard Hurd, on 20 August. Whatever they were - presumably not the local cricket team - he was anxious to get them out of his park,...
The December woodcut from Spenser’s Shepheardes Calender. From Pope’s copy of the 1611 edition of the complete works in the Hurd Library. And here are some hints from Philip Miller for work to do in the garden this month. Rather obsessed with dung, as usual, but the advice about snails is spot on and he reminds us that there are flowers out even in December, if we are lucky. ...
The blue-eyed boy
Although Bishop Hurd never married and had no children he did have a favourite nephew, Richard Hurd jr, the son of his younger brother Thomas, who was a draper in Birmingham. Young Dickie, as he was affectionately called as a boy, was born in 1750 and attended a boarding school in Northampton. In 1763 he wrote this letter to his father. That year he spent his Christmas holidays with Uncle...
The storms of November
Hartlebury was buffeted yesterday by such violent winds and torrential rain that one of the museum staff had to come up to the library to advise me to leave early for fear the lime avenue might fall on my head. I had been so absorbed in Bewick’s History of British birds that I had failed to notice that the fallen leaves outside were doing vertical take-offs and our lovely restored windows...
Last week I was whisked off to a mystery destination by my kind (and much younger) sister, which turned out to be Lisbon. As Bishop Hurd is never far from my thoughts I couldn’t help remembering some letters I was reading in his library the week before which, in December 1754, urged him to go there himself, as chaplain and secretary to the Earl of Bristol, who was to be posted to the...
A handsome gift
By 1784 Bishop Hurd’s library had become so well known that it was attracting gifts from his neighbours. One of them, Henry Cecil of nearby Hanbury Hall, sent a set of Baskervilles. Here is one of them: John Baskerville has been called the greatest type-designer of the post-incunabula age and was, like Hurd himself, a midlands man. He was born in nearby Wolverley but spent most of his...
Here is this month’s woodcut from Spenser’s Shepheardes’ Calendar, in his collected works 1611, formerly belonging to Alexander Pope. The dust sheets in the Hurd Library have prevented us from giving you our monthly gardening hints from Philip Miller’s Gardener’s Calendar; but we will resume in due course. Chris Penney, Hurd Librarian
The last lap
The job is almost finished, apart from the replacement of a few panes of glass. Today Ken put the blinds back up. And Paul and Andy from Purecleans came to clear up all the mess. First they did the tops of all the presses and cleaned the dust sheets before carefully removing them. It’s a long time since this pediment saw a hoover - and look what Paul found: These two plaster...
The end is in sight
Last Friday saw the end of the wood work. It was rather cold both inside and out and Nathan drew the short straw as James had finished. He observed that Mike had a nice woolly hat …. So Mike made him one out of a dishcloth, looking rather like the bishop’s nightcap, but he didn’t wear it for long and I used it to do some dusting. Here they all are, hard at it. Last job...
Of course they are not casements, but sash windows in the Hurd Library. But by the time our colleagues have finished working their magic, with traditional methods and materials, they will be in a better state than they have been for many years. Nathan and Ken refitting a lower sash this morning. This is an original 18th century brass window lock - restored to full working order by Ken. James...
They also serve who only stand and wait
The bow windows came back from the workshop today. But Mike might not have looked quite so pleased if he had known what Ken had up his sleeve for him a little later… Let’s just get it in position… Hold it there, please… Just stand there until I’m sure I’ve got it right - it’s not that heavy and there’s a scaffold outside! Nearly...
Windows update (episcopal, not microsoft)
We are entering the fourth week and getting used to the Hurd Library under wraps. Ken is justly proud of his fine new window sill. Mike is getting on well with his repointing but has been a bit of a target for bees - they think he’s a sunflower. He’s brought me some more little presents. You never know what you are going to find stuffed behind the old mortar. This is a...
Another opening, another blog....
Ken had to get a window out for repair. There was plenty of company today Walter and Robert enjoyed watching progress. And I kept being given little presents…. This is an 18th century pulley wheel from one of the sashes. And here’s a bit of the original lime mortar, showing strands of 18th century horse hair. (Bishop Hurd was very fond of horses. He had one called Thumper...
The episcopal windows continued
This one was a so-and-so to get out - but they managed it! While Ken was putting a new lock on my office door Mike took advantage of the sunshine to clean up the terrace. Meanwhile Nathan joined the team and started getting the repaired windows ready for a coat of paint. Mike made an experimental bit of lime mortar earlier in the week, to ensure it will match the stonework (previously...
Exactly 230 years ago, in 1782, Bishop Hurd walked up and down his almost completed library, admiring the builders’ progress and pleased with the knowledge that he was building for posterity. It must have looked very much as it does now, with steps and scaffolding and builders’ tools as work proceeds on the windows. Here are two of the original lead weights from one of the sashes: ...
October in the Hurd Library
The October woodcut in Spenser’s “The Shepheardes Calendar”, from our 1611 copy of the works, once belonging to Alexander Pope. The Hurd Library is shrouded in polythene dust sheets this month, while conservation work is done to the woodwork on the windows. Below is Bishop Hurd, being suitably veiled by Mike and Ken of Thackway and Cadwallader, Builders Ltd. Christine...
The mole hills are disfiguring the lawns at Hartlebury Castle again. We never see the occupants (who are probably busy whitewashing down below), but Thomas Bewick knew what they looked like. Here is his engraving of a mole in Beilby’s General history of quadrupeds,1791. Christine Penney, Hurd Librarian. firstname.lastname@example.org
In the garden at Hartlebury Castle there is a fig tree - a very appropriate plant to find in a bishop’s garden, for it was from fig leaves that Adam and Eve made their first clothing, as recorded in Genesis chapter 3 verse 7. It is interesting to see how these garments were described in early versions of the Bible. The Vulgate has “perizomata”, a translation from the Greek...
And so to bed...
Members of the National Trust will have enjoyed Lucy Worsley’s article on state beds in the autumn magazine. We have one at Hartlebury Castle too. It was prepared for a possible overnight by the Prince of Wales (later King George IV) who visited Bishop Hurd on 26 September, 1807. The Prince of Wales feathers are depicted on the pelmet. In the event the Prince did not stay the night...
When I walk though Hartlebury churchyard early in the morning I often meet the rabbits playing on the grass near Bishop Hurd’s tomb. They have their burrows under the north wall, with very neat little entrances. There are rabbits in Bishop Hurd’s library too - engraved 200 years ago by Thomas Bewick in Beilby’s General history of quadrupeds, 1791 Christine Penney, Hurd...
Here are some of Philip Miller’s hints for the work you should be doing in your gardens this month. It is a little early to plant tulips but no doubt he knew what he was doing! (The gardener’s kalendar 1760) Christine Penney, Hurd Librarian, email@example.com
The September woodcut from The Shepheardes Calendar, in Alexander Pope’s copy of Edmund Spenser’s Works, 1611 Christine Penney, Hurd Librarian. firstname.lastname@example.org
The gravel walks must be kept clean from weeds, and constantly rolled, as the...– Work to be done in the Pleasure-Garden Philip Miller, ‘August’, The Gardeners Kalendar, 1760. Posted by Sarah Stretton, Skills for the Future Graduate Trainee at The Hurd Library and University of Worcester Research Collections.
The pleasure-garden must now be duly looked after, to keep it neat; for in moist...– Work to be done in the Pleasure-Garden. Philip Miller, ‘August’, The Gardeners Kalendar, 1760. Posted by Sarah Stretton, Skills for the Future Graduate Trainee at The Hurd Library and University of Worcester Research Collections.