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Sunday, 26 October 2014

Morant's 'History of Colchester' and 'History of Essex'.(1)

The Revd. Philip Morant’s ‘History of Colchester’ (1748) and ‘History of Essex’, in two volumes (1768) are the first published histories of the County.  The Essex Society for Archaeology and History acknowledges the work of this local historian every year with a Morant Lecture in the spring and Morant Lunch in the autumn.  Several copies of the work have come into the possession of the Society over the years.  One of the most interesting is a copy recently repaired by a bookbinder and accessioned to our Library is one owned by a former member Isaac Chalkney Gould.  It is the original edition complete with plates which have not been interfered in any way with zealous librarian’s stamps to prevent the theft of the same.  It is one of the treasures of the Society, now in the special collection in our Library.  Before re-accession the current Honorary Deputy Librarian took some photographs. 

In the front cover are two handwritten notes which display the provenance of these two volumes.

“I desire that my friend Horace
Wilmer, may select any books,
china, or furniture, to the value
of twenty pounds as a free gift
in memory of one who appreciated
his never-failing kindness.
The 2 vol original edition of
Morants Hist. Essex (worth about
12 to 14 guineas) may form part
of the above if Horace Wilmer
has not the work already &
cares to possess it.
I C Gould

“My dear old friend died Oct 11 – 1907”

“Aug 1930
The 2 vols of Morant’s History of
Essex were given to me by my old
friend Horace Wilmer, FSA
H W Lewer
Priors, Loughton, Essex”

“[The volumes came into the possession of the Essex Archaeological Society in 1944]
The gift of H W Lewer, Esqr, FSA. Hon Treasurer.
Dec 1944”

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