Monday, 3 August 2009

A More (or Less) Ordinary Book, Part 2

As I said in my last post, I have identified the "Thos Spedding" who signed his name across the title-page of an odd-volume of The Female Spectator that I found recently; he features in The Spedding Family (1909) by Capt. John Carlisle D. Spedding (below). It is the Rev. Thomas Spedding, MA (1722–87).

Thomas was the third of the five children of Carlisle and Sarah Spedding (John, James, Thomas, Jane and Sarah); but he had twelve children of his own (Frances, Sarah, Carlisle, Isabella, Carlisle, Mary, Langton, Anne, Thomas, Jane, Elizabeth, Isabella; the first Carlisle and Isabella dying as infants). JCDS doesn't have much to say about these children beyond their dates of birth and death, but he tells us about Thomas:

b. at Whitehaven, 7 Jan., 1722. Educated at Trinity College, Dublin, which he entered 2 Oct., 1739. A.B., 1744. A.M., 1747. Rector of Distington, co. Cumberland, 1747–1752, and Incumbent of St. James's, Whitehaven, 1753–1783. m. ——1747, at ——, Isabella, dau. of Isaac Langton, of Cocermouth, co. Cumberland, who was b. 17 May, 1725, and d. 29 May, 1787. He d. 24 April, 1783, at ——. The both lie buried at St. James's Church, Whitehaven, co. Cumberland, where a tablet will be found to their memory.

Samuel Jefferson, The History and Antiquities of Allerdale Ward, above Derwent, in the County Cumberland (1842), 392, provides details of this "tablet": in the The Chapel of St. James, "On the east wall, north of the altar-table, is a marble monument, with a head of the deceased in a medallion," bearing the following inscription

In memory of the
first Minister of this Chapel,
who died April 24th, 1783, Æ. 61 years.
In him were most agreeably united
The tender husband,
The affectionate parent,
The faithful friend,
The worthy Pastor, and
(Reader, if thou requirest yet more)
The honest man.
He was sincerely respected through life, and
In his death, universally lamented,
But by none
More than by his numerous
Admiring Congregation.
ISABELLA, the wife of the
Revd. Thos. Spedding, A.M.
Died May 29th, 1787, aged 62 years

The Whitehaven parish website tells us that "St James Church was built between February 1752 and July 1753 and is a fine example of Georgian architecture. The church build was at a cost of £3400 to a plan by Mr Carlisle Spedding—a mining engineer in charge of the Whitehaven Collieries of Sir James Lowther. The building known as St James' Chapel was consecrated on the feast of St. James on Wednesday 25th July 1753."

So, after four years in a backwater—Distington—Thomas got to become the first incumbent in one of the finest Georgian church's in the county, designed by his father. Nepotism maybe, but nice.

Anyway, moving back a little, Thomas went to Trinity College, Dublin. At the time, as Wikipedia explains, "Parliament, meeting on the other side of College Green [to Trinity], made generous grants for building. The first building of this period was the Old Library building, begun in 1712, followed by the Printing House and the Dining Hall …" So Thomas would have go to see one of the most beautiful libraries in Europe when it was new.

Thomas arrived in October 1739, staying there for eight years, until he received his A.M. (i.e., "Artium Magister," aka "Master of Arts," or MA) in 1747. One day while still a student at Trinity, but after receiving his A.B. (i.e., "Artium Baccalaureus," aka "Bachelor of Arts," or BA), Thomas wandered over to the shop of George and Alexander Ewing at the Angel and Bible in Dame Street, and bought a copy of The Female Spectator.

The Female Spectator was published in parts in London between April 1744 and May 1746. I have not found any advertisements for the Dublin edition by the Ewings, but it was published by subscription and is dated 1746 on the title-page, so I think it is safe to assume that the subscriptions were collected in mid-1746 and it was printed and distributed in late 1746.

There are 346 subscribers listed at the start of volume 1, for a total of 603 sets (twenty subscribers taking 277 sets). Thomas Spedding is not one of the subscribers listed, though there are five Trinity students listed (John Bainbridge, Parker Busted, Will. Collis, Farthing Davis and Dalton Mc. Carthy), two Bishops and twenty-three clergymen.

For the record, the subscribers include the following: Right Honourable Lord Viscount (1), Right Reverend Lord Bishop (1), Right Honourable Viscount (1), Right Honourable Countess (1), Right Honourable Lady (2), Right Honourable Lord (1), Right Reverend Bishop (1), Lady (1), Sir (2), Gent (8), Honourable Mrs (1), Honourable Captain (1), Captain (3), Alderman (2), Doctor (4), Esquire (42), Reverend (23), Mr (112), Miss (69), Mrs (59), bookseller (19) plus one "PN" (whatever that is). Of course, there is some cross over; for instance, the booksellers duplicate Mr (18) and Mrs (1). Put another way this is 469 males and 134 females.

The Ewings probably printed either 750 or 1000 sets and so I presume this means that Thomas went and bought his non-subscriber set from the shop. Since another edition was printed in Dublin in 1747, Thomas must have bought his set late in 1746 or early in 1747, before the new edition appeared. Of the 750 or 1000 copies of Thomas's set printed, only four sets survive. I list them in my Bibliography under Ab.60.3:

Cambridge University Library [Hib.7.746.41–44]
Rice University Library, Texas [WRC PR3506. H94A65 1746]
University of Texas Library [PR1369.F452 1746]
Youngstown State University Library, Ohio [PR3506.H94 A65 1746]

The National Library of Ireland, Dublin, has two odd volumes [IR 6551 Dublin 1746 (7), v.1–2] and the Royal College of Physicians, Dublin has one odd volume [Kirkpatrick Coll. K631, v.2]. I have, now, a mixed set [09.69, v.1; 05.88, v.2–4].

Thomas bought, or had, his set nicely bound: a full burgundy leather, the spine in six compartments, elaborately decorated in gilt, the front and back covers with a gilt decorative rule around the edges, and all the edges gilt (an unusual extravagance, and uncommon except on bibles and prayer-books). The binding is now well-worn, with most of the gilt edging lost, and showing much use, but it is still sound, indicating that it was well bound to begin with.

There are four inscriptions and a bookplate in this volume, but the front free end-paper has been cut away, so it is possible that there were more inscriptions. In fact, it is almost certain there were more because end-papers are usually cut away to remove inscriptions that might embarrass the owner. One of the four inscriptions is the one by Thomas, on the title-page. The other three (below) will have to wait until my next instalment in the history of this 'More (or Less) Ordinary Book'

[UPDATE 22 Feb 2011: for Part 1 of this series of posts see here.]

[UPDATE: 2 July 2016: After all my pictures disappeared (again) I decided to give up on external hosts for large versions (1000px) of my image files and, for now on, will stick with the smaller images (500px), which Blogger is prepared to host.]

No comments: