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The author, whose pencil portrait forms a frontispiece, was a close associate of Robert Owen and his play (exceedingly rare in printed form) was designed to promote Owen’s radical social views and plans amongst young people.

First performed at the Burton Street Rooms, London HQ of the Owenites, in 1836, the play was also intended to raise funds for Harmony Hall, a project to which Bate is said to have contributed the huge sum of £12,000 – his entire fortune.

Sold at £900 to Maggs was one of the older documents in the sale, a vellum manuscript of October 29, 1449, that sets out the terms by which the Duke of Somerset, surrounded on all sides by the new and fearsome French siege cannons, surrendered to the French the English-held city of Rouen, where 18 years earlier Joan of Arc had been burned at the stake.

Apparently a notarial copy, this document of the Hundred Years War was written in a neat, legible hand in medieval French and was in excellent condition.

A 1650 Act for the Better Preventing and Suppressing of Prophane Swearing and Cursing, a cornerstone of Puritan plans for the better ordering of national morals, made £150 (Randall) and a group of six Acts relating to Bonnie Prince Charlie and the 1745 rebellion went at £740 to McEwan, who also gave £720
for a contemporary manuscript copy of the dying speech of Lord Belmarino, the Young Pretender’s personal bodyguard at Culloden, who was captured by the English and was the last man to be hanged publicly in London. Three people were trampled to death in their anxiety to get a better view of the Jacobite rebel’s end and the government thereafter put a stop to public hangings in the capital.

A 160pp manuscript of 1785 entitled Notes of Dr Fergusson’s Lectures on Moral Philosophy, dated 1785, was sold for £480 (Lenkiewicz) and an album of caricatures of celebrities of Exeter and surrounding areas in the late 18th century, mostly ink drawings but with a few in pencil, was sold at £580 (Spelman).

A group of railway related letters and documents included an 1843 letter from Robert Stephenson to the engineer James Routh, concerning the track that linked Euston and Birmingham, and another of 1845 in which George Stephenson expresses satisfaction with carriage wheels supplied by a Bradford foundry. They sold at £540 and £520 to Farahar & Dupre.

The 1886 book on life on the Norfolk Broads illustrated right was the star of the sale’s opening section, but while there were no takers for much of a Kray brothers archive entered for sale by journalist and biographer Robin McGibbon, a 1950s photograph of Reggie and Ronnie as young boxers, signed by Ronnie whilst in Broadmoor in 1994, the year before he died, did sell for £600.

Bearing a simple title page ownership label, Edward Elgar’s copy of the vocal score of Wagner’s Siegfried – an edition which appears to have belonged to Lady Elgar for some years prior to their marriage in 1890 – sold at £460 to Farahar & Dupre.

Containing some 1250 samples and interspersed with chromolithographed layout suggestions and room designs, a large thick folio wallpaper sample book of 1892 was sold at £720 (KML Trading).

A 1932, presentation first of Sylvia Pankhurst’s The Home Front, a Mirror of Life in England during the World War, inscribed “with comradely regards” to Gladys Franklin, a schoolteacher that she had known in the early, campaigning years of the century, was sold for £320 (Harrington).

Dominic Winter, Swindon, April 11
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