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St John’s College Aa.3 (James 491)

Zachary Grey, Commonplace book. English and Latin, c. 1704

Zachary Grey, antiquary, of Jesus College and Trinity Hall (1688-1766): commonplace jottings and connected prose, including a ‘History of the Swedish War against the Germans’ and a far more substantial ‘Hist[ory of] Engl[an]d’, reign by reign from the earliest times to Mary I. The date of the MS is established approximately by the list of monarchs and the lengths of their reigns at fo. [1v]. There is an evident interest in chronology, with a list of Roman emperors as well as English monarchs. The book was apparently first used for undergraduate ‘Observations’ on principal Latin authors, the blanks between authors being later filled in with jottings on law and theology as well as history. Many of Grey’s papers passed to John Nichols, and were used in his Illustrations and Literary Anecdotes (see DNB).

Supplementary information 

205x170 mm. [188 fos]. Inside front cover and at fo. [1r] ‘E. Libris’ Zacharia Grey aulae Sacrosanctae et Individuae Trinitatis Scholaris’, appearing five times in differing versions. Purchased by the College from Messrs Puttick & Simpson, July 1889 (inscription of J. Bass Mullinger, Librarian, inside front cover).

Autograph, with a few remaining blanks. Paper. Original leather on boards (paper trimmed?).

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