SPL Hand Coloured Rare Book Collection Featuring Norman R Bobins

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The Escutcheons of the Twenty-Five Barons who were appointed to enforce the observance of Magna Carta, together with the will of King John and The Arms of the witnesses thereto...

From the outset, the opposition barons had been aware of the danger that, once King John had left Runnymede, he would renege on the Charter on the grounds that it constituted an illegitimate infringement of his authority. The barons came up with a novel solution to the problem in the famous clause 61, the security clause. In this, King John conceded that ‘the barons shall choose any twenty-five barons of the realm as they wish, who with all their might are to observe, maintain and cause to be observed the peace and liberties which we have granted’. Any infringement of the charter’s terms by the king or his officials was to be notified to any four of the committee; and, if within forty days no remedy or redress had been offered, then the king was to empower the full committee to ‘distrain and distress us in every way they can, namely by seizing castles, lands, and possessions’ until he made amends. In this remarkable clause, then, the charter introduced the novelty of obliging the king to sanction and institute armed action against none other than himself. The means by which they sought to achieve this was the use of the common law doctrine of distraint, the means by which debts were collected from debtors and malefactors obliged to answer for their actions in court.

19th Century
19th Century

44 vellum leaves (and two blanks) with beautifully rendered hand-painted heraldic arms, hand-written Gothic type, and decoration in the style of a Medieval illuminated manuscript, although this is a product of a later era (probably the nineteenth century). Beautifully and expertly bound by Denis Gouey in full sheepskin over wooden boards, with sterling silver metal edges, clasp, and centrepiece mounted decoration within which is set a polished stone (malachite), creating a binding evocative of monastic craftsmanship as well as one of extraordinary beauty. 8vo (7.25" x 5" or 18 x 13 cm). This is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind book that is a work of art in its own right. Book or library plate on recto of the front flyleaf with the motto: 'Vernon Semper Viret.' Coloured plates in order: 1. Decorative title page. 2. William de Albini...Baron of Belvoir. 3. Roger Bigot...Earl of Norfolk & Suffolk. 4. Hugh Bigot...heir to the Earldoms of Norfolk & Suffolk. 5. Henry de Bohun...Earl of Hereford. 6. Richard de Clare...Earl of Clare & Hertford. 7. Gilbert de Clare...heir to the Earldoms of Clare & Hertford. 8. John Fitz-Robert...Baron. 9. Robert Fitz-Walter...Lord of Dunmow 10. William de Fortibus...Earl of Albemarle. 11. William de Hardell...Lord Mayor of London. 12. William de Huntingfield...Sheriff of Norfolk & Suffolk. 13. Geoffrey de Mandeville...Earl of Essex & Gloucestershire. 14. William de Lanvallei...Lord of Stanway Castle. 15. William Malet...Sheriff of Somerset & Dorset. 16. John de Lacy...Lord of Pontefract Castle. 17. William Marshall...heir to the Earldom of Pembroke. 18. Roger de Montbegon...Lord of Hornsby Castle. 19. Richard de Montfichet...Baron. 20. William de Mowbray...Lord of Axholme Castle. 21. Richard de Percy...Baron. 22. Sayer de Quincey...Earl of Winchester. 23. Robert de Roos...Lord of Hamlake Castle. 24. Geoffrey de Say...Baron. 25. Robert de Vere...heir to the Earldom of Oxford. 26. Eustace de Vescy...Lord of Alnwick Castle. 27. "Regis Johannis Testamentia." 28. A page of text. 29. As above. 30. "The Will of King John." 31. A page of text. 32. "Arms of ye witneses to ye will of King John." 33. James de Cuallo...Bishop of Vercelli. 34. Peter de Rupibus...Bishop of Winchester. 35. Richard Poore...Bishop of Chichester. 36. Sylvester de Evesham...Bishop of Worcester. 37. Armerie de Sancto Mauro...grandmaster of Templars in England. 38. John de Monemue (Monmouth). 39. William Marshall...Earl of Pembroke. 40. Ranulf Blundevill(e)...Earl of Chester. 41. William...Earl of Fferrers & Derby. 42. William de Briouze. 43. Walter de Lacy. 44. Savezy de Mauleon. 45. Fulke de Breaute (Brent).