The Tollemache Book of Secrets. A Descriptive Index and complete Facsimile with and introduction and transcriptions, together with Catherine Tollemache's Receipts of Pastery, Confectionary &c.

GRIFFITHS Jeremy; & EDWARDS A.S.G. (2002.)


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Full facsimiles of both manuscripts. Quarter tan morocco, blue cloth sides with Tollemache arms in gilt on upper cover, gilt lettering on spine. The Roxburghe Club.

A remarkable manuscript written at the turn of fifteenth century, the Book of Secrets is a miscellany of practical instructions assembled for the use of the Tollemache household at Helmingham and is written predominantly in Middle English. Amongst many other directions for domestic tasks and pastimes such as gardening, lacemaking, carving, mixing medicines for humans and hawks, dyes, conjuring charms and prognostications, restoring dove-cotes and shirt-making, it includes the earliest known treatise in English on angling, written before the similar text on the subject in The Boke of St Albans (1496).

A substantial part of it is taken up with gardening which includes a unique text by Nicholas Bollard on growing and grafting fruit trees, instructions of planting herbs, and a set of drawings of 'knots' and other diagrams for beds and borders The drawings are among the earliest of their kind and have been used by the present Lady Tollemache to restore the garden at Helmingham Hall.

There is little of culinary interest in the Book of Secrets which is made up for by the reproduction of Catherine Tollemache's Receipts of Pastery... which dates from around the beginning of the seventeenth century. Superb jam, marmalade, fruit and pastry recipes are easy to follow from the Middle English transcriptions.

Both manuscripts have been preserved in the famous library at Helmingham Hall, the Book of Secrets having been sold in 1970 and bought back from the U.S.A. in 1987 by the present Lord Tollemache who has commissioned this facsimile and edition as his presentation to the Roxburghe Club. The book will appeal to historians and literary scholars, and all who love the sports and pastimes, the landscape, houses and gardens of the English countryside.

Stock Code: 220768

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