Five volumes from Thomas Plume's Library

Item date: 17th century
Grant Value: £3,000
Item cost: £6,375
Item date acquired: 2021
Item institution: Thomas Plume's Library
Town/City: Maldon
County: Essex

Dr Helen Kemp, Plume Librarian, writes:   The Trustees and Staff of Thomas Plume’s Library would like to thank the Friends of the National Libraries for, once again, providing generous funds for us to replace missing books from our core collection. We were successful in buying five books at auction in October 2021 using grants from the Friends of the National Libraries and the Friends of Thomas Plume’s Library. 

Dr Thomas Plume (1630-1704) left his collection of c.8,000 books and pamphlets to the people of Maldon, in a purpose-built library and schoolroom he fashioned from the redundant Church of St Peter. The books are mostly from the 16th and 17th centuries, were printed all over Europe, and encompass a wide range of topics.

Sometime in the early 20th-century, when we were still a lending library, many of our books went missing due, in part, to there being no on-site Librarian. In 1987 a local resident noticed that a book bearing our Ex Libris inscription was being offered for sale in an auction. He clubbed together with some friends and bought the book for the Library. The Librarian then made a careful comparison of the previous two catalogues and noted down details of all the other books which were missing from the collection. 

The Friends of Thomas Plume’s Library were then formed and, since that first book was discovered, they have sought to help the Trustees in buying replacement books – in a few cases the originals – but mainly books of the same edition. The value of some of these rare books means that sometimes we need to seek extra funding, and the Friends of the National Libraries have kindly provided assistance to us on a number of occasions.

The auction where we found these five books comprised the third sale from The Fox Pointe Manor Library (the origin of the ten books we were able to purchase last year with the help of the Friends of the National Libraries). 

The books purchased with the grant are as follows:

  • Sir Balthazar Gerbier, A Brief Discourse Concerning the Three chief Principles of Magnificent Building. Viz Solidity, Conveniency, and Ornament, first edition, 1662. 
  • Lucas Jacobsen Debes, Faeroae, & Faeroa Reserata: that is a Description of the Islands & Inhabitants of Foeroe, first edition in English, translated by John Sterpin, printed by F.L. for William Iles, 1676. 
  • Josephn Georgirenes, A Description of the Present State of Samos, Nicaria, Patmos, and Mount Athos, first edition, printed by W. G. and sold by Moses Pitt, 1678. 
  • Richard Kirby and John Bishop. The Marrow of Astrology, 2 parts in 1, first edition, printed by Joseph Streater, 1687.
  • Miguel de Luna, The History of the Conquest of Spain by the Moors. Together with the Life of the Most Illustrious Monarch Almanzor, first edition in English, 1687.         

The books are in very good condition and have some excellent illustrations. We hope that you will come to visit the Library in the future to see these books.

Item Provenance
Bought from Forum Auctions (21 October 2021, various lots)