Camden Fourth Series

Research Article

III The Letter-Book of Thomas Bentham, Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield

Rosemary O'Day and Joel Berlatsky

The letter-book of Thomas Bentham, Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield (1560–79), is to be found in National Library of Wales MS. 4919D. The volume was purchased in May 1923, being one of some 500 volumes sold by Captain Ivor McClure on his removal from London to Malvern. Mr (later Sir) John Ballinger travelled up to London to examine the library on behalf of the National Library of Wales. Personal letters between the Librarian, Mr Ballinger, and Captain McClure survive for this period but provide no clue as to the origins of the library in general or of this volume in particular. The correspondence, moreover, does not indicate how the sale was made. The National Library of Wales Librarian's Report to the half yearly meeting of the court of Governors, held on 30 October 1923, makes no mention whatsoever of this purchase. It is known that at least three other rare books were bought from the same collection—a seventeenth-century Ethiopia psalter; the Divinae Institutiones of Lactantius (Latin, fifteenth century); and Roman Inscribed and Sculptured Stones (nineteenth century).