Tag Archives: Calybute Downing

EXPLORING CPP 10A214: A New Candidate for the Layfield Hand, Part 2

By Hillary Nunn with Rebecca Laroche

In my last posting, I reported on a possible new match for the Layfield hand that appears in CPP 10A214. It looked so promising that my collaborator Rebecca Laroche and I immediately began exploring how a new identity for Layfield would change our understanding of the manuscript. If Edward Layfield, Archdeacon of Essex, was behind Hand 2, rather than Edward Layfield (rector of Wakes Colne) or Edmund Layfield (the first candidate we considered) what would that mean?

A great deal, it turns out. Both letters bearing Edward Layfield’s signature carry the date 1660, and he is identified with the title Archdeacon of Essex in both. If this Edward is linked to the CPP manuscript, his associations with the Church of England, both before and after the Civil War, would indicate that the book ended up in a Royalist home. That would be significant, since Calybute Downing, the manuscript’s first compiler, ended up siding with the Parliamentarian cause.

The Edward Layfield who became Archdeacon of Essex was nephew to Archbishop Laud, and Joseph Maskell identifies him as vicar of the church at Allhallows Barking on London’s eastern edge (147). We know he fits the CPP manuscript’s story in a significant way: in 1637, he was married to a woman named Ann. According to Maskell’s nineteenth century history of Allhallows Barking, the couple’s daughter, Elizabeth, was baptized in 1637 (68).[1]

In 1642, after dissent from a faction of puritans within the congregation, Layfield was “taken into custody as a Royalist and voted unfit to hold any ecclesiastical preferment.” According to the editorializing Maskell, no charges of “moral or intellectual unfitness” were required; “it was sufficient that he was … a friend of the King, and a relative of the Archbishop.” Other churchgoers petitioned on Layfield’s behalf, to no avail. During the Interregnum, he was “confined in most of the gaols about London, and on one occasion, with other clergy, taken on board ship, clapped under the hatches” and purportedly threatened with being sold into slavery (148).

If the manuscript’s Layfield is the archdeacon, though, then we have to wonder what happened to his wife and family during his time in prison. We know the archdeacon’s estate was confiscated, but we cannot immediately tell where his wife Anne lived during his imprisonment. Church records indicate that she died in 1678, and her archdeacon husband died two years later.

How does this all come back to recipes? Well, if the Anne Layfield who owned the CPP manuscript in 1640 is the archdeacon’s wife, the book’s history becomes even more remarkable. How would she have gotten the book from Calybute Downing, who died in 1644 while firmly aligned with the Parliamentarians? How would the book have crossed this political divide to end up in a Royalist household? Or did the book follow a friendlier path, moving among friends whose political and religious divisions lay a few years in the future? With luck, more archival research will eventually help us find out.

[1]Maskell, Joseph. Collections in Illustration of the Parochial History and Antiquities of Ancient Parish of Allhallows Barking in the City of London. London, 1864.

Exploring CPP 10a214: Anne Layfield Reading Bishop Andrewes

By Rebecca Laroche with Hillary Nunn

In our June entry on the College of Physicians of Philadelphia Layfield manuscript, I introduced the pages written in Anne Layfield’s own hand, the devotional pages that begin the Layfield half of the book. These devotions were unusual for this collection which otherwise consisted of recipes but such pages commonly appear in recipe collections in general. A quick bibliographic Text Creation Partnership search reveals that these pages are copied directly out of Humphrey Moseley’s translation of Bishop Lancelot Andrewes’s (1555–1626) Latin writings, The Private Devotions of the Right Reverend Father in God Lancelot Andrewes, which by some bibliographic sources seems to be first published in the very small print duodecimo in 1647.

Lancelot Andrewes (1555–1626), overseer of the King James Bible Translation, was a highly regarded figure during the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I.

Bishop Andrewes, c. 1660
Bishop Andrewes, c. 1660

Bishop of the Church of England, he went with James I in 1617 to preach to the Scots about the importance of the Episcopacy.[1] His works underwent many translations after his death, and it would seem that Anne Layfield had one of the earliest print translations of the “Horologe of Prayer,” taken from the first pages of Moseley’s translation.

Looking at the print text itself, it is clear why Layfield would copy out the extensive “Horologe” into her quarto notebook. In the duodecimo format, each page contains one or two passages, and the Horologe takes up 15 pages.

The Historical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Manuscript 10a214, fol. 238. Personal photo included with permission.
The Historical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Manuscript 10a214, fol. 238. Personal photo included with permission.

Layfield’s exquisite italic spread out over four pages allows the reader to see the entire prayer schema, which maps scripture onto diurnal cycles from morning through night, with the relevant biblical passages. Layfield’s format also puts the Biblical references in the margins, whereas the print text has them embedded within the devotions themselves. Layfield’s rearrangement of the knowledge increases the accessibility to the key points of each prayer, thus the print text helps us to see why this passage would be copied out even if Anne Layfield owned the book itself.

The other way that this relationship between manuscript and print illuminates the composition of the collection, moreover, is in the date it provides. Before now, we had  only the date of Anne Layfield’s ownership inscription, 1640.  If pages 240–236 are copied out in 1647, not only are they transcribed long after Layfield acquires the notebook held in Philadelphia, but they also are written three years after the death of Calybute Downing, the recorded compiler of the other half of the document. If Calybute Downing, therefore, had anything to do directly with the origins of the book, as the recipe entries that end “per me Cal. Downing” imply, then this later date would position the Downing half as being written before the majority of the entries in the do-si-do Layfield section or as being copied from an unknown earlier manuscript composed by Downing.

What is more, between Anne Layfield’s contributions to the collection in 1640 and in 1647, in late 1641 or early 1642 Calybute Downing published anonymously An Appeale to Everye Impartiall, Judicious and Godly Reader, arguing for a presbyterian reform of church organization, marking the side he would take in the emerging conflict. By the end of 1642, he had become chaplain in the Lord of Essex’s army for the Parliamentarian cause.[2]

One can imagine that with growing tensions around the bishopric in Civil War England, publishing translations of the work of Andrewes, a man who in his lifetime was representative of the Episcopacy, would have a similar political import. In not only purchasing such a book, but also in copying it down in the later 1640s, Anne Layfield may be signifying her own position in the divide.

Throughout these explorations, we have been noting the various religio-political affiliations of the individuals connected to the Layfield-Downing Manuscript. Seemingly extraneous to the recipe book itself, these devotions add another layer to the text’s complexity, as they reveal the importance of the date of composition. Even as the book is dated 1640 by her, the devotional materials tell us that it was still in Anne Layfield’s possession late in the Civil War. These dates help mark its compilation across a time of religious conflict between at least two households that would come to position themselves relative to that conflict.

For more information on CPP 10a214 and other posts in this series, go here.

[1].P. E. McCullough, “Lancelot Andrewes,” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography [Online].
[2]. Barbara Donagan, “Calybute Downing,” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography [Online].




Exploring CPP 10a214: The Layfield Hand

By Rebecca Laroche with Hillary Nunn

Since March 2013, Hillary Nunn and I have been using this forum to test out our various theories about one mid-seventeenth-century manuscript held at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia owned by Anne Layfield and dated 1640. So far, we’ve closely examined recipes from the first part of the book (pages 1 through 72), which were written in a clear humanist italic and reportedly compiled by a “Cal. Downing” (06/08/13).Hillary Nunn’s last post pointed to the other dominant hand in the collection, which I will describe further.

We first see the hand in the title of the document, “Medicinae Liber” (“Book of Medicines”) which appears on the front page of the Downing portion. Reading through that section, this handwriting does not appear again until page 74.

The Downing and title-writing hand (hereafter Hand 2) exchange a few pages, then at 79, Hand 2 takes over.It is at this point we catch a glimpse of how this hand connects with the manuscript owner Anne Layfield.On page 79, the recipe is titled “An admirable receite to make a water that /will cure any old sore, giuen to my deare wife /by the Lady Ashborneham as a great treasure/ tryed by her Ladyships sister who got both great /creditt, & rewards for cures done with it”

2012-10-15 DearWifeCpp[1] and another “The rare water to cure all soares made /by my Deare wife” (82).  The attribution of the next recipe for a balsam does not appear in its title, as it is long (6 lines of script), but rather at the end of the directions as “Probatum by Mistress / Anne Layfielde”: [2]

Probatum Anne LayfieldNow the surmise that Anne Layfield is the owner of the recipe book and the same “dear wife” of the previous recipes comes through a close analysis of another part of the collection (pages 207 to 241), almost all of which exists in Hand 2 and is upside down (because of a do-si-do compilation) relative to the Downing portion.

In this section, the compiler, the doting husband of the recipe from page 79, indicates his social network and his medical concerns. As with Calybute Downing, this compiler also ascribes recipes to himself with a “probatum per me” (223), but only with the calligraphic initials ESL:

ESLThe elongated descender of the L, similar to that in “Anne Layfielde,” shows the connection between the attributions, and suggests that Anne Layfield and the “deare wife” may be one and the same. A London marriage recorded between an Edmond Layfield and an Ann King in October of 1640 (the year of the manuscript) affirms this theory. [1]

Other evidence that the “ESL” in question is named Edmund Layfield lies latent in Hillary Nunn’s post in which she reported that the death of George Wilmer (possible husband of the Mistress Wilmer of Bowe in the attribution) was witnessed by Edmund Layfield of St. Leonard-of-Bromley.

This preacher was also the author of two sermons printed in the 1630s, the first of which had as a dedicatee another widow Wilmer of Bowe [2], and the second named an Elizabeth Toppesfield, daughter of Susan Ferrers and wife of William Toppesfield, Esquire. [3]  Testimony to this same social connection can be found in the section compiled by Hand 2, as it contains “Mistris Toppisfields Diett drinke” (231).  Remembering Calybute Downing’s Hackney appointment, we begin to uncover the circulation of recipes within a network of Protestants inhabiting the London area in the 1630s and 1640s. That this network, in the previous generation, may have included Catholics and, in the next decade, may have held both Parliamentarians and Royalists is the subject of our further analysis and research.

All images appear courtesy of The Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

[1] familysearch.org. (Accessed 01/02/2104).
[2] Edmund Layfielde, The Mappe of Mans Mortality and Vanity (London, 1630).
[3] Edmund Layfielde, The Sovles Solace (London, 1633).

Exploring CPP 10a214: The Elusive Compiler

By Rebecca Laroche with Hillary Nunn

Up until now, Hillary Nunn and I have been conducting our explorations (20/06/2013, 21/05/2013, 09/04/2013, 12/03/2013, 20/02/2013) under the working hypothesis that one of the compilers of the College of Physicians manuscript 10a214 was a mid-17th century divine named Calybute Downing (1606–1644).  This hypothesis mainly grew from a simple phrase “probatum per me Cal. Downing” (24) at the end of one of the early recipes in the collection and the inclusion of many recipes attributed to one Elizabeth Downing, the name of Calybute’s mother. There was also a reference to Hackney (20/06/2013), where Downing was once minister.  A recent all-too-brief research trip to London has complicated this hypothesis and raised several questions…

With our working hypothesis in mind, I conducted a preliminary search in the online catalogs for autograph evidence of Calybute Downing and was excited to find that the British Library did indeed hold a letter from the minister to a Mrs Barkley.[1] With only two days for library research, I immediately called up the collection in which it was held–and was thankful to find it available.

Imagine my anticipation of its arrival from the vault.  Imagine my disappointment when neither hand (the signature being different than the body) in the letter, which was an extended assurance of grace from a minister to one of the faithful in doubt, matched the hand of the Downing recipes in the manuscript.

A few scholars of recipes may recognize this disappointment.  Many a mention of historically significant figures are confounded by the presence of secretaries and the accommodation of one collection of recipes into another through copying and gifting.[2]  I have come up with two possibilities (and would welcome other suggestions) that explain these non-matching hands:

  1. The Calybute Downing of the recipes is not the divine, but instead his father of the same name, who would have been married to Elizabeth and who was alive in 1640, the one date in the manuscript.  This hypothesis could mean an earlier compilation, but would face some difficulties in explaining the Hackney reference.
  2. The recipe book and the letter could have been compiled by two different secretaries. The Downing signature in the letter is markedly different than the body, which is a very difficult secretary hand, whereas the recipe book is in an incredibly clear italic.If the Downing recipes were copied out in anticipation of making them a gift for use, their relative legibility would be essential. As a correspondence to be considered closely and slowly, the letter’s cramped hand would not be as much of an issue.

Clearly, as I write this, I am becoming more convinced of the second hypothesis, but:

  • if Calybute Downing was prone to hiring secretaries, in whose hand were the original recipes that the secretary then copied out?
  • was the original manuscript made by Elizabeth herself, or by yet another member of the household?

Given the proximity of some of the entries to print sources (18/10/2012, 21/05/2013), it seems unlikely that all of these were transmitted orally. However, the inclusion of a “by me” in the recipes implies Calybute’s presence, if not in the immediate transcription, at least in one of the earlier written record of the recipes.

Obviously, further research is needed!

[1] British Library Add MS 28558 A-R

 [2] See Elaine Leong’s essay on “starter” manuscripts, “Collecting Knowledge for the Family:  Recipes, Gender, and Practical Knowledge in the Early Modern English Household,” Centaurus 55.2 (May 2013): 81–103.

This is the sixth of a series of monthly posts on this topic.