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Part of a Forum Auctions (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) sale of May 31, this 166pp manuscript was written in several hands, one of the earlier being that of a Mary Syford.

Along with the usual food recipes it included much medical advice such as “Mr Scarlets receit for ye green sickness”, “my Lady Kilgrues medicine for a sore brest”, as well as “Mr Loss of Dorchester his receipt to make chinah broth good for consumption”.

Also contained within its pages were recipes relating to potentially more lethal troubles, “A plague water” and “Doctor burgesses receit against the plague” – plus a table of fatalities.

Headed “what people dyed of ye plague in ye several weekes in ye year of ye lord 1665…”, it lists the numbers of those who succumbed in the months of May to August of that year. The death toll peaks at 6102 in the entry for August 27.

The records probably derived from the published Bills of Mortality used by John Graunt and and Sir William Petty in their statistical works.

The murderers Tom and Bess

Heavens Speedie Hue and Cry sent after Lust and Murther… is a 1635 account by one Henry Goodcole of the murder in Islington of Thomas Claxton and Roland Holt, and the “suddaine apprehending” of Thomas Shearwood and Elizabeth Evans for those crimes. ‘Country Tom’ and ‘Bess of Canberry’, as they were known, were also charged with robbery from a Michael Lowe.

Uncut and unsewn, as issued, this slim quarto work of 1635, with its woodcut frontispiece of the hanged guilty couple and the wood and iron club used in the murder, sold at £3200.

Bound in contemporary limp vellum and sold at £7500 was a companion pair of English courtesy books of 1630-31, The English Gentleman…. and …Gentlewoman by Richard Brathwait.

No doubt influenced by Baldassare Castiglione’s Il Cortegiano (The Courtier), published around a hundred years earlier, the first work focuses on the duties of the gentleman householder, soldier, statesman or justice of the peace, but also contains discussions on gambling and hunting.

For the ladies, however, the focus is principally on dress and behaviour, “What Habilliments doe best attire her, What Ornaments doe best adorne her, What Complements doe best accomplish her”.

Though The English Gentleman… was a first issue, lacking the later ‘Three Choice Characters of Marriage’ section, it did retain the folding explanatory leaves to the elaborate title-page, as was also the case with its companion volume.