County Lives: D. Wales and Scotland – Denbighshire; Dumfries, Dunbarton

D is for Denbighshire, Dumfries and Dunbarton in this selection of County Lives.

Speed’s map of Denbighshire shows the trio of market towns, Denbigh, Ruthin, and Wrexham, well placed in the ‘beautiful and pleasant’ Vale of Clwyd. Visitors flocking there in the 19th century could take as their comprehensive guidebook William Davis’s Hand-book for the Vale of Clwyd; containing a topographical and historical description of the towns of Rhyl, Abergele, Saint Asaph, Denbigh, and Ruthin; with all the adjacent villages, castles, mansions, churches, monuments, antiquities, picturesque scenery, and every object of attraction, etc. Compiled from authentic sources and personal observation, as a general guide for the information of visitors and residents (1856). Further south, Llangollen was already a popular destination, with guidebooks including Wilfrid Tord Simpson’s 1837 Account of the town and vale of Llangollen, including, in a circuit of about seven miles, those objects most worthy of the notice of persons visiting that romantic and interesting neighbourhood.

Denbighshire’s 19th century visitors could include the Eisteddfod in their tour: the 1820 Eisteddfod was held at Wrexham (The Eisteddfod poems were published in Denbigh, as Powysion; sef Odlau ac Ynglynion .. Eisteddfod Gwrecsam, 1820. Dinbych. 1821); two were held at Denbigh in 1824 and 1828 (The Gwyneddion; or, an Account of the Royal Denbigh Eisteddford held in September, 1828; together with the prize essays and poems) and later Eisteddfoddau were held at Llangollen (1858), Denbigh (1860), and Ruthin (1868).

With no Eisteddfod in Llanrwst until 1951, John Williams, Lecturer of Llanwrst (1760-1826) would have had to travel, or time travel, to attend the gathering. Williams is known to Special Collections from his book label and inscription in Thomas Bisse’s Prydferthwch sancteiddrwydd yn y weddi gyffredin [Beauty of holiness in the common prayer], 1722. There were at least seventeen editions of Bisse’s very popular work from 1716 to 1846, but only one in Welsh, of which ours is the least-travelled of the four copies known worldwide: in London, Oxford, Harvard and Liverpool. Bisse is remembered as the founder of the Three Choirs Festival, of Hereford, Gloucester, and Worcester cathedrals.

map of Dumfriesshire showing historic county area

George Chapman (1723-1806), a “very eminent and successful” teacher in Dumfries for nearly 30 years, was renowned for his reforming educational methods, published as, A treatise on education, in two parts, with the author’s method of instruction while he taught the school of Dumfries, and a view of other books on education (1790). The first edition (1773) was followed by four more up to 1792, with detailed instructions for teaching, and growing lists of reviews of other educational works. His obituary in the Gentleman’s Magazine declares, “He zealously devoted himself to the communication of useful knowledge to almost the last day of his life”.

map of Dunbartonshire showing historic county area

Spelling is an issue in Dunbartonshire, which has switched between Dunbarton and Dumbarton at different periods. It appears in both forms in the Statistical Accounts of Scotland. The county town, however, is always with an ‘m’, as in ‘the Cross at Dumbarton’ – the place of publication of Joseph Irving’s Lennox garland; gleaned from divers fields of Scottish poesy (1860). Donbritoun and Lenox both appear on Speed’s map of Scotland, by the southern shore of Loch Lomond.

Special Collections classmarks:

Denbighshire

  • William Davis, Hand-book for the Vale of Clwyd; containing a topographical and historical description of the towns of Rhyl, Abergele, Saint Asaph, Denbigh, and Ruthin; with all the adjacent villages, castles, mansions, churches, monuments, antiquities, picturesque scenery, and every object of attraction, etc. Compiled from authentic sources and personal observation, as a general guide for the information of visitors and residents (Ruthin, 1856: SPEC Y85.3.109)
  • Wilfrid Tord Simpson, Account of the town and vale of Llangollen, including, in a circuit of about seven miles, those objects most worthy of the notice of persons visiting that romantic and interesting neighbourhood (1837: Y83.3.299)
  • Eisteddfod Gwrecsam, Wrexham, 1820, Powysion; sef Odlau ac Ynglynion … Eisteddfod Gwrecsam, 1820 (Dinbych [Denbigh] 1821: SPEC Y82.3.1838)
  • Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru (1828 : Denbigh, Wales), The Gwyneddion; or, an Account of the Royal Denbigh Eisteddford held in September, 1828; together with the prize essays and poems (Chester, 1830: SPEC Y83.3.210)
  • Thomas Bisse’s Prydferthwch sancteiddrwydd yn y weddi gyffredin [Beauty of holiness in the common prayer] (1722: SPEC G53.10)

Dumfries

  • George Chapman (1723-1806), A treatise on education, in two parts, with the author’s method of instruction while he taught the school of Dumfries, and a view of other books on education … (London : published for the author, and sold by the booksellers in town and country, 1790: SPEC Y79.3.1131/1115)

Dunbartonshire

  • A Lennox garland; gleaned from divers fields of Scottish poesy (Printed for J.I. [Joseph Irving], at the Cross of Dumbarton, 1860: SPEC FRASER 1665)

Map of Denbighshire from Wikishire.co.uk CC-BY-SA

County Lives: C (1) England & Ireland – Cambridgeshire to Connaught

Map of the counties in the historic province of Connaught (Wikishire.co.uk CC-BY-SA)

Stretching from Cumberland to the Channel Isles, and from Cambridgeshire to Cornwall via Cheshire, this collection of County Lives includes Connaught (Connacht), the first of the four historic provinces of Ireland, encompassing the counties of Clare, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon, and Sligo.

map of Cambridgeshire showing the historic county area

John Speed’s map of Cambridgeshire has a blank shield in its border of the arms of colleges of Cambridge University: Emmanuel (1584) is there, but not Sidney Sussex (1594), although the map itself is dated 1610. A sign of the Theatre’s long publication process. A very different map of the county in the first (quarto) series of the General Views of the Board of Agriculture (1794) was one of few praised by William Marshall in his Review and abstractsof the series (1808-1817). Marshall commended the Land use and soil map “not merely of Cambridgeshire but properly including the Fen Lands of the counties of Northampton, Huntingdon, Norfolk and Suffolk”. The fen-lands are picturesquely depicted in Robert Farren’s etchings of The fen-lands of Cambridgeshire(1883) owned by private press book collector William Noble. The New Cambridge guide (1815) offers a more exhaustive, not to say exhausting, approach: A view of the University, town, & county of Cambridge: containing correct & comprehensive descriptions of the public buildings, colleges, churches, curiosities, &c. &c. &c. A concise account of the different orders, degrees, ceremonies, and offices in the University; a list of the present University officers; and a variety of new and interesting matter.

Speed’s Channel Isles are part of a map divided into four: Holy Island and the Farne Islands off the coast of Northumberland to the left, leaving space on the right for ‘Garnsey’ (plus Sark, Herm and Iethou) and ‘Jarsey’, but omitting altogether Alderney and Burhou. He nevertheless describes the whole as “delightsome and healthful”. The language, which Speed calls, “French, though after a corrupt manner” retained sufficient identity into the 20th century to be collected for the library of the Gypsy Lore SocietyFolksongs of Great Britain and Ireland: a guidebook to the living tradition of folksinging in the British Isles and Ireland, containing 360 folksongs from field recordings sung in English, Lowland Scots, Scottish Gaelic, Irish Gaelic and Manx Gaelic, Welsh, Cornish, Channel Islands French, Romany and Tinkers’ cants, etc.(1975).

map of Cheshire showing historic county area

Cheshire is described by Speed as “wholesome for life”, although he admits it can be cold, and that he might be biased, as a Cheshire native, by “affection to my natural producer”. Special Collections shows a similar bias in the quantity of Cheshire items it holds, especially in the collection of Thomas Glazebrook Rylands, a former President of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire and Warrington worthy. Rylands’s books on Cheshire include Egerton Leigh’s opinionated Glossary of words used in the dialect of Cheshire (1877), for example:

Papers read to the Historic Society, such as James Kendrick’s Warrington local sketches and Charles Potter’s Observations on the geology and archaeology of the Cheshire shore (1876) can be read now in the digitized Transactions of the Historic Society. And Cheshire historians can also turn to The history of the county palatine and city of Chester (1819) by George Ormerod (1785-1873), based on more than a decade’s work, and reckoned to be the best of the county histories.

Another Cheshire collector, Robert George Morton, could see the “Cheshire shore” from his house in West Kirby, but would have missed the 1936 school trip to the Mersey side of the Wirral: New Brighton, Wallasey, Cheshire: seaside, countryside, industry, shipping: a visit by boys of the Wordsworth Senior School, Stoke Newington, June 12th-June 26th, 1936. Local schoolchildren leaving their mark on the Children’s books include Miss Rowlinson, of Laburnham School in Lymm, with her school prize copy of Stories for little readers (1849), and the probably not so prize-winning Chas. Lloyd, who inscribed his geography textbook, “Heswall, Cheshier”.

map of Cornwall showing historic county area

Tudor Cornwall was one of the most heavily industrialized counties, and still had native Cornish speakers, but probably not the sea monsters depicted on Speed’s map in “her environing seas”. The county’s mining history depended on its rich geology, as explained in Thomas Hogg’s Manual of mineralogy, in which is shown how much Cornwall contributed to the illustration of the science (1828). Rylands’s collection has Cornish history too, pre-dating even Roman Chester, including Antiquities, historical and monumental, of the county of Cornwall. Consisting of several essays on the first inhabitants, druid-superstition, customs, and remains of the most remote antiquity in Britain, and the British isles, exemplified and proved by monuments now extant in Cornwall and the Scilly Islands, with a vocabulary of the Cornu-British language (1769). Written by William Borlase, Rector of Lugdvan, near Penzance, it is particularly good on Druids.

map of Cumberland showing historic county area

John Speed’s Cumberland map describes the ‘Picts Wall’ as “the uttermost Limits of the Romane Empyre”; no doubt the Roman legions would have agreed with his comments on the county’s chilliness. The tourist hordes swarming to Hadrian’s Wall in the 19th century had a growing range of guidebooks, such as Thomas West’s Guide to the Lakes, in Cumberland, Westmorland, and Lancashire (Kendal, 1821) and the Handbook for Westmorland, Cumberland and the Lakes in John Murray’s series (1869). ‘Hasty pudding’ may not have been their breakfast of choice, despite the enthusiastic comments Arthur Young (1741-1820) made in the margin of his copy of the General View of the agriculture of the county of Cumberland:

It would not be possible to devise a breakfast for a labouring man more palatable, wholesome, invigorating or more easily prepared than hasty pudding made of oatmeal ate along with skim’d milk which obtains universally in the northern counties.

No tourists would be drawn to the western Irish province of Connaught by Speed’s description of the air as “not altogether so pure and clear as in the other provinces of Ireland” on account of the bogs, “both dangerous and full of vaporous and foggy mists”. A detailed 17th-century account of Connaught by Roderic O’Flaherty was published in 1846 as A chorographical description of West or H-Iar Connaught, edited by James Hardiman, who took a dim view of the place. He hoped that the publication might, by making the area better known, “eventually lead to the moral and social improvement of its population” and show what might be written about other places when “even so much could be elicited from so unpromising a locality as H-Iar Connaught”. Or you could read Eneas MacDonnell’s cheerier Speech delivered … at a meeting of the inhabitants of Mayo, held, July 16th, 1826: wherein the ancient fame of Ireland, and her liberal contributions to the diffusion of religion, science and civilization throughout Great Britain and other nations, are, in part, illustrated.

Special Collections copies of works cited:

Cambridgeshire

  • Robert Farren,The fen-lands of Cambridgeshire drawn and etched by R. Farren (Cambridge, 1883: SPEC Noble D.01.02/oversize)
  • The New Cambridge guide (Cambridge, 1815: SPEC Y81.2.9)

Channel Isles

  • Peter Kennedy (editor), assisted by Allison Whyte; musical transcriptions and guitar chords by Raymond Parfrey, Folksongs of Great Britain and Ireland: a guidebook to the living tradition of folksinging in the British Isles and Ireland, containing 360 folksongs from field recordings sung in English, Lowland Scots, Scottish Gaelic, Irish Gaelic and Manx Gaelic, Welsh, Cornish, Channel Islands French, Romany and Tinkers’ cants, etc (1975: SPEC Scott Macfie F.1.31)

Cheshire

  • Egerton Leigh (1815-1876), A glossary of words used in the dialect of Cheshire founded on a similar attempt by Roger Wilbraham contributed to the Society of Antiquaries in 1817 (1877: SPEC Ryl.B.3.19)
  • George Ormerod (1785-1873), The history of the county palatine and city of Chester (1819: SPEC Ryl.B.1.5)
  • New Brighton, Wallasey, Cheshire: seaside, countryside, industry, shipping: a visit by boys of the Wordsworth Senior School, Stoke Newington, June 12th-June 26th, 1936 (Ilford: Gregg School, 1936: CHILDREN BVII:47.1)
  • Stories for little readers: I. The sister; II. A lion in the way; III. The whip-poor-will, &c. &c. (1849: JUV.A981)
  • Edward George Hodgkinson, Preliminary geography (1913:  JUV.1473)

Cornwall

  • William Borlase, Antiquities, historical and monumental, of the county of Cornwall … with a vocabulary of the Cornu-British (1769: SPEC Ryl.B.1.20/oversize)
  • Thomas Hogg (1777-1835), A manual of mineralogy, in which is shown how much Cornwall contributed to the illustration of the science (1828: SPEC Y82.3.216)

Cumberland

  • Thomas West, A guide to the Lakes, in Cumberland, Westmorland, and Lancashire (Kendal, 1821: SPEC Y82.3.124)
  • John Murray (Firm), Handbook for Westmorland, Cumberland and the Lakes (1869: SPEC Y86.3.36)

Connaught

County Lives: A – Anglesey, Aberdeen, Argyll and Ayr

We start off our County Lives series across the Irish sea, on Anglesey. John Speed described its air as, “reasonable, grateful and healthful” and depicted Tudor Beaumaris, with its own school and windmill. Special Collections holds 18th and 19th century works on the history and antiquities of Anglesey, including Angharad Llwyd’s History of the Island of Mona or Anglesey (1833), Henry Rowlands’ Discourse on the antiquities natural and historical of the isle of Anglesey (1766), and a Welsh botanology of its native plants, with a useful “Alphabetical catalogue of the Welsh names of vegetables rendered into Latin and English; with some account of the qualities, economic or medicinal, of the most remarkable” (1813). And not to be missed is the Excursion on the outside of a stage coach, from Llangollen to Menai Bridge. With cursory observations, by a traveller (1830). Perhaps some of these titles were being read by the Beaumaris Book Club, whose rules (dated 2 Jan 1854) are pasted into our copy of Thomas Carlyle’s Latter-day pamphlets (1850).

map of Aberdeenshire showing historic county area

Aberdeen is well-represented by 19th century printed works thanks to the Thomas Glazebrook Rylands collection of publications by Aberdeen’s Spalding Club (1839 – 1869) “established for the publication of the historical, genealogical, topographical and literary remains of the North-eastern counties of Scotland.” More personal glimpses of Aberdonians can be found in a Keepsake gift-book with a former owner’s inscription, “Helen Jane Gerald, Old Aberdeen, Dec. 11th 1836” (1837) and the Victorian chapbook relating “The life and astonishing adventures of Peter Williamson, who was carried off when a child from Aberdeen and was sold for a slave.” The digitised copy from the Thomas Fisher Library shows the author looking remarkably cheerful after his adventures.

map of Argyllshire showing historic county area

The shire of Argyll also included most of the Inner Hebrides (except Skye and Eigg, which were part of Inverness-shire) represented in Special Collections by Thomas Pennant’s 1774 Voyage to the Hebrides, the second volume of his A tour in Scotland, and a voyage to the Hebrides; 1772 (printed much more locally, in Chester). John Fraser, one of our Scottish collectors, owned the more sober 1883 Argyll manifesto by the Edinburgh journalist Alexander Robertson, who gave evidence (singling out the Duke of Argyll) to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Condition of Crofters and Cottars in the Highlands and Islands, which led to the Crofters’ Act (1886). The 9th Duke of Argyll (and Governor-General of Canada) also turns up in the Children’s book collection: Canadian life and scenery with hints to intending emigrants and settlers (1886) is part of the larger Canadian pictures by John Douglas Sutherland Campbell, Duke of Argyll (1845-1914).

map of Ayrshire showing historic county area

Finally, Ayr is also featured in John Fraser’s Scottish book collection, celebrating the Ayrshire-born poet, Robert Burns (1759-1796). The 1891 pamphlet by Wallace Bruce, The Auld Brig’s welcome on the unveiling of the Burns statue, Ayr, July 8, 1891. Recited by the author at the unveiling ceremony alludes to Burns’ poem ‘The Brigs of Ayr’.

Special Collections copies of works cited:

Anglesey

  • Angharad Llwyd History of the Island of Mona or Anglesey (1833): SPEC Y83.5.27
  • Henry Rowlands (1655-1723) Mona antiqua restaurata. An archaeological discourse on the antiquities, natural and historical, of the isle of Anglesey, the Ancient Seat of the British Druids (1766): SPEC Ryl.0.1.08
  • Hugh Davies (1729?-1821) Welsh botanology (1813): SPEC Y81.3.384
  • Excursion on the outside of a stage coach, from Llangollen to Menai Bridge. With cursory observations, by a traveller (1830): SPEC Y83.3.665(5)
  • Thomas Carlyle (ed.) Latter-day pamphlets (1850): SPEC L10.12

Aberdeen

  • The Keepsake (1837): SPEC Annual 1a.K213
  • The life and astonishing adventures of Peter Williamson, who was carried off when a child from Aberdeen and was sold for a slave (1840?): SPEC Y85.3.208(21)

Argyll

  • Thomas Pennant Voyage to the Hebrides (1774): SPEC J13.26-27
  • Argyll manifesto by the Edinburgh journalist Alexander Robertson (1883): SPEC Fraser 1065(17)
  • Canadian life and scenery with hints to intending emigrants and settlers (1886): JUV.A158:1(1)

Ayr

  • Wallace Bruce, The Auld Brig’s welcome on the unveiling of the Burns statue, Ayr, July 8, 1891. Recited by the author at the unveiling ceremony (1891): SPEC Fraser 894(5)

Maps from wikishire.co.uk CC-BY-SA

County Lives: A-Z of the historic counties of Britain

Christopher Saxton’s map of Cheshire  SPEC H49.45*

Two of Special Collections & Archives currently locked-down treasures are our c.1590 hand-coloured printed maps of the counties of England and Wales by Christopher Saxton (approximately 1540-1610), and the 1611/1612 Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain by John Speed (1552?-1629). These two atlases are amongst the earliest to depict all the historic counties of England and Wales. Ireland is represented in Speed’s atlas by maps of the four historic provinces of Connaught, Leinster, Munster and Ulster, and Scotland by a single map, since Speed started his work before the Union of the Crowns in 1603, when Scotland was still a separate kingdom. Both of these cartographical treasures were generous gifts to University College, Liverpool from Henry Yates Thompson (1838-1928), a Liverpool benefactor (he also funded the Palm House in Sefton Park) who was renowned for his collection of medieval manuscripts.

Using Saxton and Speed as inspiration, and thinking of University students and staff now dispersed around the country, we are posting a new County Lives series on the SCA blog and @LivUniSCA twitter account, based on our behind-the-scenes work to upgrade collection catalogues, making it easier to search for people, places and subjects. County Lives will highlight items from our collections relating to each of the historic counties or provinces where the University community and our social media followers may now be living and working, or perhaps looking forward to revisiting in the future.

And as we are unable to take new photographs of our locked-down collections, we invite readers to tweet their own photographs showing these places four hundred years on from Saxton and Speed.

Temperance in Liverpool

A group of first year undergraduate students in History have put on an exhibition in Special Collections and Archives drawing on their research into food and drink in Liverpool for the module HIST 106.  Having decided to focus on alcoholic drink and the way in which it shaped nineteenth-century Liverpool, they found that the Library holds particularly interesting materials relating to the Temperance Movement.

This is an edited version of the students’ own account of the exhibition:

‘The exhibition includes temperance pamphlets, an 1801 map of the town, the 2011 study published by Liverpool University Press of The Liverpool Underworld and a graph representing the number of public houses between 1860 and 1914 which, displayed together give an insight into the problems the town faced with alcohol and drunkenness.

Reactions from the upper classes to the opening of new public houses which, at the time, were frequented by the working classes, were mostly negative: this can be seen in contemporary sources such as the 1865 Liverpool Life, which describes public houses as ‘very dirty’. The pamphlets show the attempts made to pull the city up from the notoriety it had garnered, while the quotations on the labels give first-hand views on alcohol at the time.  Temperance was a popular movement in Liverpool due to the reputation the city had.  To showcase this reputation we selected a quotation from the Liverpool Review of 1891: ‘In no other town in Great Britain, perhaps, have the evils of drunkenness and immorality been so paraded and so rampantly offensive as Liverpool…’. Another source which emphasises this matter is M. Macilwee’s The Liverpool Underworld Crime in the City, which we opened to display the chapter on ‘The Demon Drink’. We also quoted a passage from the book which both portrayed drunken behaviour but also introduced debates over why Liverpool had developed in this way.

As a contrast with these two items, we found the pamphlet The Direct Veto at Work by the Owners of the Land, which argued for the positive effects of the temperance movement, revealed in quotations such as ‘Within the prohibited area [where drink was not sold] the people are clean and respectable’ and another pamphlet which described the results of the prohibition movement, claiming that these areas are ‘very bright spots’ in the ‘black spot on the Mersey’.

Temperance

The map shows some of the public houses that existed in 1801.  It doesn’t represent every public house within the city centre but it’s clear that alcohol was important to the contemporary economy.  We emphasised our point by using plastic houses placed on the map; red houses near to important focal points, such as the docks and green houses outside the city centre.  Although there were fewer pubs than there are today, many of them were in locations which are still home to many bars and pubs today, such as Hanover Street and Bold Street.

The graph shows the number of public houses between the years 1860 and 1914.  We were interested to learn that the numbers of public houses proceeded against and convicted correspond with the period in which the temperance movement was launching effective measures against drunkenness.

Overall, the exhibition offers a glimpse of the nineteenth-century temperance movement in Liverpool. Although the movement did not succeed in its aims, it is revealing to identify the nature of its concerns, the way in which it linked alcohol, physical dirt and anti-social behaviour and tried to overcome the latter by eliminating the former.’

The group’s tutor, Dr Alexandrina Buchanan, commented: ‘One of the strengths of History teaching at Liverpool is that it demands primary research through direct engagement with contemporary sources from the first year onwards and encourages students to think about history as a public resource, which can be used to inform debate on present-day issues. Putting on this exhibition has given the students a valuable experience in terms of group work and project management, understanding the practical problems faced by curators and learning how to create a narrative through things rather than words. I am very grateful to Katy Hooper and the staff in SCA for all their work helping the students to put on this display.’

Open Days; Open doors

Special Collections & Archives opened its doors to welcome visitors to the University of Liverpool’s recent Open Days with an array of notable books from the collections on view in the reading room. We included the Trianon Press facsimile of William Blake’s watercolours for the poems of Thomas Gray:

Treasures from our Special Collections on show in the Sydney Jones Library: William Blake watercolour #livopenday pic.twitter.com/xrYMgS3aIX

— LiverpoolUniLibrary (@LivUniLibrary) June 22, 2013

and Walter Crane’s Flower Wedding:

Tuesday Library Treasure: Walter Crane’s Flower Wedding pic.twitter.com/KtfVX6nNC8

— LiverpoolUniLibrary (@LivUniLibrary) June 25, 2013

Visitors clearly enjoyed their day – although we did risk turning the Trianon Press facsimile into a literal watercolour!

RT @daisgoodman: the Sydney Jones library at Liverpool uni has the most beautiful collection of old books I want to cry #livopenday

— Uni of Liverpool (@livuni) June 22, 2013

Prospective students had a packed programme, so we designed a set of postcards to give a flavour of Special Collections & Archives to those who might not have time to visit. The images were drawn from the Collection Pathways posters also used to advertise the collections within departments. Shown below are:

The Annunciation scene from a medieval manuscript book of hours: Liverpool University Library MS.F.2.8; the world map from a 1482 edition of Ptolemy’s Geographia; the Sankey viaduct from Thomas Bury’s Coloured Views of the Liverpool to Manchester Railway (1831); and the timeline from Olaf Stapledon’s Star Maker, as featured recently on BBC Radio 4 (see SC&A’s blog).

Design by William Blake in Mora, Meditaciones poeticas, 1826. SPEC H9.13