St John's College U.52-56

Ernest Hampden-Cook, Translations from the Old and New Testaments. English, 1922-31.


Translations into everyday English of various books of the Old Testament and of the Four Gospels by Ernest Hampden-Cook (1860-1932) in five volumes. Hampden-Cook appears to have translated from the original Hebrew and Greek. Vol. 1 contains Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers; vol. 2 Numbers, Deuteronomy, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Habakkuk, Song of Songs, Jonah, and Ecclesiastes; vol. 3 Proverbs, Isaiah, Job, and Daniel; vol. 4 Amos and Hosea; and vol. 5 Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. A note at the beginning of vol. 1 reads '23.5.1922'; the translation of Proverbs in vol. 3 is dated '24.8.1924'; vol. 5 is dated at the end '19.8.1930' and '20.4.1931'.

Born in 1860, the son of a London oil merchant, Hampden-Cook was educated at Mill Hill School, Hackney, and trained for the Congregationalist ministry at the Lancashire Independent College. Admitted as a sizar to St John’s College in 1882, he graduated BA in 1885 with a third class in the Theological Tripos and subsequently served as a minister in New Zealand (1887-9) and New South Wales (1889-90). Returning to England in 1890, Hampden-Cook acted as Resident Secretary to Mill Hill School until 1896. He subsequently served as pastor at Dolgelly (1897-1900), Sandbach (1900-12), Jarvis Brook (1912-14), Salford (1914-16), and Barton-on-Humber (1916-18). In 1906 he carried out a revision of Weymouth’s New Testament in Modern Speech. He died unmarried at Cambridge in 1932, aged seventy-two. A note in The Eagle 47 (1934), 247 reads: 'From the first he had become deeply interested in the attempt to make the Bible more familiar to English-speaking people ... His knowledge of Hebrew led him in later years to undertake translations into the vernacular of parts of the Old Testament. These have been left in MS form, and ought to be preserved.'

Manuscript extra information

Vols 1-4, 330 x 220 mm; vol. 5, 340 x 230 mm. Vol. 1, 419 p.; vol. 2, 420-849 p.; vol. 3, 850-[1277] p.; vol. 4, [37] p.; vol. 5, 652 p. (text on the right-hand pages, very occasional notes on the left-hand pages). Vols 1-4 are written on paper ruled with blue lines and are bound in quarter bindings of leather and blue cloth with decorated endpapers; gilt lettering on the front covers and spines identifies the contents as 'The Old Testament', and gives the author and volume number. Vol. 5 was originally a blank wages book, with pages divided into columns in red ink; it has a half binding of green leather and cloth with sprinkled edges and a handwritten label on the spine reading 'The Four Gospels Hampden Cook'. All five volumes are written in blue ink in Hampden-Cook's neat and legible hand. There are occasional crossings out and corrections. The first 110 pages of vol. 5 are written in a different, unidentified hand.

A letter of 31 May 1933 from Florence Hughes, Hampden-Cook's niece, to Charles Previté-Orton, offering these volumes to St John's, is kept in vol. 1. Stickers on the covers of vols 1, 2 and 4 read 'The Property of Florence Mary Hughes, Tudor House, Barnet'. All five volumes contain a book label recording Mrs Hughes's donation.