Friday, 11 October 2013

The Post-Medieval Owners of "The Bohun Bible"

The literature on the "Bohun" Bible suggests that the parent volume was written perhaps for a nunnery, perhaps in East Anglia, and was perhaps volume III of a four-volume set of which volume I is now British Library, Royal MS. 1 E.iv.

The last leaf of the parent volume of the dispersed leaves, now Bodleian Library, MS. Lat. bib. b. 4, f. 46v (formerly f. 413v in the parent volume), is inscribed “Richardus Legh me possidet Anno Domini 1613” (the first four words are repeated below this, but are crossed through in both cases); this is presumably Richard Legh, b. 1549(?), of East Hall, High Legh, Cheshire, or Richard Legh, b. 1554, of West Hall, High Legh. Extensive genealogies of these families can be found here.
Relative locations of Lymme, High Legh, and Nether Tabley
Below the Legh inscription on the Bodleian leaf is:
"Ex libris Petri Leicester de Nether-Tabley: qui liber mihi Dono datur a Richardo Maria Dumvill de Limme Armigero, 27 die Martii, Anno Domini 1665.”
This refers to Richard Maria Domville (b. 1600 or 1603?, d. 1667), of Lymme Hall (about 2 miles from High Legh), eldest son and heir of Edward (1580–1639) and Eleanor, née Leycester (1582–1660), and to Sir Peter Leycester / Leicester (1614–1678), an antiquarian and historian (on whom see ODNB), of Nether Tabley (about 5 miles from High Legh).
Sir Peter Liecester (drawing from painting dated 1665)
The Bible appears in Sir Peter’s library catalogue Cheshire Record Office, DLT/B88, page 1). Under the a heading "Divinity-bookes in the largest ffolio" is a list of the books, and in the right-hand column a list of shelfmarks, from "D. num: 2" to "D. num: 9." (the "D" presumably for "Divinity").
"D. num: 8.", the penultimate and longest entry on the page, describes:

"Part of a greate Latine Bible in Manuscript:
a fayre character with greate Gold-
Letters (about the tyme of Henry VI, as I
coniecture, it was Writ) contayninge
the Proverbs & all the Prophets."

He died at his Hall at Nether Tabley on 11 October 1678 and was buried at Great Budworth, Cheshire, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Robert (1643–1684), who presumably inherited the Bible.

Long after writing this post I discovered that Christopher de Hamel had covered much the same ground in his “The Bohun Bible Leaves”, Script & Print: Bulletin of the Bibliographical Society of Australia & New Zealand, 32 (2008), pp.49–63.

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