Number: 5786 Date: Sept 16
By Jonathan Wynne-Jones
(Courtesy: Church of England Newspaper)
AN ANTHOLOGY of writings by Christian martyrs printed in the 17th Century has been discovered in a London cellar by a retired teacher. It is believed to be the only book in this country with all four parts of A Cloud of Witnesses, which is made up of extracts from works such as Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. Other martyrologists in the book include Fuller, Petrie and Clark. The letters and prayers of martyrs such as Ridley and Latimer are collected alongside correspondence with Queen Elizabeth, with references to events such as the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. The book, which was printed between 1665 and 1678, has been in the family of Eric Inwood for centuries, but he only recently rediscovered it lying in his cellar.
Alongside the text are marks and annotations, which could have been made by one of the book’s original owners, believed to be an Exeter clergyman.
Mr Inwood said that it was likely that this is how it came to be with his grandmother, who lived in Exeter in the 1850s, before it was passed on to his father. Mr Inwood realised the rarity of the book after he visited the British Library to find another copy to photocopy missing pages from his edition, but found that they did not have a copy. “It is incredibly exciting to come across a book like this,” he said. “I had no idea how rare it was until I started trying to replace some of the pages that were missing.”The Bodleian Library in Oxford has a book, which contains two parts of A Cloud of Witnesses series, but not all four, which are contained in Mr Inwood’s edition. Insurers have advised him to cover the book for up to £5,000.