Easter week

Just a note to say that the Library will remain open during the week running up to Easter!

Feel free to drop in between the usual opening hours to work or to look at any books on the main shelves, although the archives will not be available to view during this period.

As usual, if there are any queries regarding the Library, please contact .


Book Repairs

Tuesday has seen more much-needed work on book repairs from Ruth, Jill, Peggy and Sue from The Arts Society Wantage. The volunteers, who are trained by an independent specialist conservator, analyse a variety of different materials, including original nineteenth-century tracts which are often the only copies currently in existence. They work with the most intimate details of books (including distinguishing between reparable and non-reparable tears!) to make sure that they are fit to be read by generations to come.


They work with many of the library’s rare and antique books as well as a number of original letters and manuscripts from Dr. Pusey and other vital figures from the Oxford Movement, such as the extensive Liddon Bound Volumes collection (available on request from the Pusey House Librarian).




Bartleet sees red

An interesting bit of marginalia has turned up, courtesy of L. B. Bartleet, who takes exception to Illingworth’s Personality: Human and Divine, one of the extensive Bampton Lectures. A rather intrusive collection of red-inked notes on the title page reads, in part, ‘The notes in red on almost every page of this work seem to me to bear indisputable testimony to this being nothing more nor less than an expansion of my own meditations’ – in short, an accusation of plagiarism.

bartleet hates illingworth

Bartleet, whose archives (including the ‘meditations’ in question) can be viewed at Pusey House, keeps his promise and exhaustively annotates the whole of the book with his insistence of Illingworth’s plagiarism. Whilst also an amusing piece of Oxford marginalia, it is perhaps the first time I have considered writing ‘extensive condemnation of contents on title page’ in a holdings record…


A Candid Examination

Amongst the newest assortment of curiosities discovered in the Lower Library is a surprisingly appropriate bookmark in A Candid Examination of Theism by George John Romanes:

exam 2

The note reads ‘11.30 will be quite soon enough: for if the candidate has done all he can before then, he must wait.’ Whether the book’s reader really was in the process of invigilating examinations, or whether he or she simply took the word ‘Examination’ a bit too literally is up for question, but for anyone interested, this book along with its unusual bookmark can be viewed in the Lower Library. It can be found on SOLO here:

exam 1


The Lower Library has uncovered a copy of John Minter Morgan’s Letters to a Clergyman on Institutions for Ameliorating the Condition of the People (1846), given to Dr. Pusey.

minter 1 new

Minter was an author and philanthropist who founded the National Orphan Home in 1849 and is notable for having been distinctly Christian in his projects. Minter’s other works include The Revolt of the Bees, which gives his views on education. For those interested, the book can be found in the Lower Library under the call number 11.21 b5.

minter 2


The Bampton Lectures

A copy of the 1878 Bampton lectures has the inscription ‘Presented to Her Majesty The Queen [almost certainly Victoria] by her humble & faithful subject, The Author.’ The ‘Author’ in question was Charles Henry Hamilton Wright, an Irish Anglican clergyman who delivered his lecture at Oxford, on the subject of Zechariah and his Prophecies. Given the book’s presence in the library one can only assume the Queen found little to interest her in its pages, but for those interested in the Bampton lectures an extensive collection can be found on the Pusey House Library shelves!



Mother Marian (Marian Rebecca Hughes) (1817-1912)

A copy of an 1841 edition of Thomas Aquinas’s Commentary on the Four Gospels (first volume) turns out to have belonged to none other than Mother Marian:

Marian Hughes

The inscription dates from 1842, when Mother Marian would have been 25 years old, and is written from Shenington, her birthplace in Gloucestershire. A year earlier, Marian had become the first female since the Reformation to take religious vows, inspired by an essay of Edward Bouverie Pusey’s she had read in 1839. She took her vows privately before Pusey early in the morning of Trinity Sunday before receiving holy communion. At a time when there were no Anglican sisterhoods, this move demonstrated the strength of character and force of will for which Marian later became renowned.


A pencil note in the same books also reads, ‘This copy came from the Convent of the Holy + Undivided Trinity, Southleigh, when that Society dispersed its books. It is of interest as bearing the name of the foundress.’ Marian officially founded the Society of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, later noted for its austerity, in Oxford in 1851, and based it on the character of the French Ursulines. She remained Mother Superior of the convent until her death in May 1912, aged 95. During her life, as well as after her death, she was celebrated for her altruism, such as her work during the cholera epidemic of 1854 and commitment to helping the poor. She and the other members of her sisterhood also ran schools and an orphanage. Further information and the Mother Marian archives can be accessed at Pusey House Library.