One of the 29 engraved plates that illustrate the copy of John Blackwell’s History of Spiders of Great Britain and Ireland sold by Thomson Roddick at £400.

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At the very end of a March 16 sale held by Thomson Roddick (20% buyer’s premium) of Carlisle it was bid to £400.

In the original boards, the two large quarto volumes form what had been one of the earlier publications of the great many so far produced by The Ray Society, a scientific society formed in 1844 and named in honour of the eminent naturalist John Ray (1627-1705). This work showed some foxing and spotting, but was a presentation copy from the author to an HR Sandbach.

‘We are well rid of him’

Quite a few lots made higher three, or even four-figure sums, but my other Cumberland pick is one that bound together five small quarto volumes of the works of William Bridge of Great Yarmouth dating from 1647-50.

A controversial cleric and nonconformist, said the catalogue notes, Bridge at one stage went into exile in Rotterdam, but when the news that he had gone to Holland rather than conform was passed on by Archbishop Laud to Charles I, the king apparently replied: “Let him go, we are well rid of him.”

Bridge later returned to Great Yarmouth and became a member of the Westminster Assembly as one of the ‘Five Dissenting Brethren’, a small group of leading churchmen who opposed the Presbyterian majority. In 1643, Bridge preached in front of Charles I, even making a direct attack on the Queen.

The set of his works offered in Carlisle sold at £360.