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Document number: 3951
Date: 05 Oct 1839
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: THIRLWALL Newell Connop
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Last updated: 2nd February 2011

Kirby Underdale
Octr 5. 1839


I beg you to accept my best thanks for your obliging present.<2> I wish that you had more fellow-labourers in the same field. May I take the liberty of asking whether you happen to know of a library in London which would be described in Latin as “Ad aedes D. Katharinæ”.<3> One of the professors at Bonn Dr Ritschl<4> inquired of me about it last summer having met with a reference to some Manuscripts of Plautus or Terence,<5> I think, said to be contained in it (I have just found the Programm which gives a more precise account of the matter. “Anglicorum codicum multitudo in promptu fuit Lengis Norvicensis Præsulis, e quibus illam ingentem discrepantis scripturae supellectilem congestam bibliothecæ D. Catharinæ legavit, unde postea utendam Harius (1724) accepit: cujus vide praef. p. xxiv.” – to Terence. <6>

I thought this might be a library attached to S. Katharines Hospital<7>

Sir Your very obd svt
C Thirlwall

H. F. Talbot Esqr

[address panel:]
Pocklington October five 1839
H. F. Talbot Esq
31 Sackville Street
C Wood<7>


1. In the East Riding of Yorkshire; Thirlwall was Rector there.

2.WHFT, Hermes: or Classical and Antiquarian Researches, No. 2. (London: Longman, Orme, Green, Brown & Longman, 1839).

3. Ad aedes D[ominæ] Katharinæ, i.e., to Catherine's Hall. Thirlwall is writing from memory and what he remembers is 'bequeathed to' or 'left to' (legavit).

4. Friedrich Wilhelm Ritschl (1806–1876), Professor at Bonn University, famous classical scholar and a student of Plautus.

5. Titus Maccius Plautus (254–184 BC), a Roman playwright whose comedies are the earliest surviving intact works in Latin. Terence was Publius Terentius Afer (195–159 BC), a Berber slave brought back to Rome; a Roman senator educated and then freed him and he became a popular playright.

6. John Leng DD (1665-1727), Fellow of Katharine Hall (College status did not come until 1860), Latin scholar, Bishop of Norwich; edited the Cambridge edition of Terence in 1701. Francis Hare DD (1671-1740), Fellow of Kings College, Cambridge. Classical scholar, Bishop of St Asaph, later of Chichester; produced a 1724 edition of Terence. Translation: There was a large quantity of English books and writings in the possession of Leng, Bishop of Norwich. From this material, varied (alternatively, irreligious) in content, he made a huge and munificent bequest to Lady Catharine’s library. Hare later used this material in his 1724 publication, see page 24 of his preface” to Terence. The Bishop of Norwich is expressed figuratively as Praesul - the lead dancer -he who dances in front, the top figure. There is a precedent for this in a text about Herbert Losinga, Bishop of Norwich (d. 1119). He earlier paid to be Bishop of Thetford and for his father to be Abbot of Winchester: Filius est Praesul, Pater Abbas, /Simon uterque./Quid non speremus si nummos possideamus. (The son is a bishop, the father an abbot. Bought in both cases. What can we not hope, if we have money!).

7. The Royal Hospital and Collegiate Church of St Katharine by the Tower, London, was demolished in 1825 to make way for St Katherine’s Dock. It moved to Regent’s Park, London, was renamed the Royal Foundation of St Katharine and became an almshouse. In the 20th c., it moved to Limehouse, London, close to its first site and is now a retreat and conference centre.

8. The franking privelege was extended by Charles Wood, 1st Viscount Halifax (1800-1885) politician, MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer. MP for Halifax, Yorkshire in 1839.

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