Tag Archives: English Civil War

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: A New Candidate for the Layfield Hand, Part 1

By Hillary Nunn with Rebecca Laroche

The more Rebecca Laroche and I work with the College of Physicians manuscript, the more enmeshed we become with the religious politics of the mid-seventeenth century. Rebecca’s most recent post, on the transcription of the “Horologe” from Lancelot Andrewes’ Private Devotions, not only provides additional evidence for dating the manuscript in the 1640s, it connects the Layfield hand even more securely to the world of the church.

This new context makes our latest discovery even more exciting: we have a new idea of the person behind Hand 2, thanks to a new writing sample from the archives.

Looking for potential “E. Layfield”s while at the Folger Shakespeare Library, I stumbled across the following image of a signature from the State Papers Online.[1]

The L and y immediately caught my eye: our Layfielde, I thought, had those:
Probatum Anne Layfield

But the match isn’t perfect. For one thing, the f is substantially different in this signature, as is the e. And then, of course, there’s the spelling. As much as we know early modern people often used variant spellings of their own names, the new signature’s ei is repeated in another of Edward Layfield’s signatures of the period:
I immediately knew that I needed an expert opinion. Besides, this new signature belonged to Edward Layfield, Archdeacon of Essex, and Edward Layfield, rector of Wakes Colne from 1640 to 1666, had seemed our most likely candidate. The signatures, moreover, carried the date 1660, and our recipe manuscript’s inscription says the book belonged to a Layfield – Anne – in 1640. But the similarities made it well worth pursuing.

I consulted with Heather Wolfe and Sarah Powell at the Folger, and their verdict was a resounding maybe. The idea that the newly-found signatures belonged to the same person as the CPP manuscript’s Hand 2, they told me, was “plausible, but not provable.” They noted that the distinctive h in the letters’ archdeacon does not commonly appear in the CPP manuscript, but they also pointed out that the two new Edward Layfield signatures were different from one another as well, with substantially difference ds. in Layfield. Could Mr. Layfield’s handwriting be changing in his later years?

While this verdict from the experts surely didn’t give permission for the “eureka!” I’d been stifling, it wasn’t a reason to stop this new line of pursuit, either. So we’ll be taking it further, to see what difference it makes if we consider Edward, not Edmund, as behind the Layfield hand. Church politics will most certainly be involved. More of that to come in the next posting.


[1] Both the Edward Layfield signatures come from The National Archives of the UK, as reproduced in State Papers Online. This first image is For University Promotions or Degrees: Certificate by Edw. Layfield, Archdeacon of Essex, and three others, in favour of the petitioner’s orthodoxy and loyalty (SP 29/9 f.130), and the second is Certificate of Edw. Layfield, Archdeacon of Essex, and two others, in behalf of Rich. Beresford (SP 29/10 f.86).

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].