Tag Archives: Thomas Goad

Library History: An Online Exhibition

A couple of months ago we curated an exhibition featuring items highlighting various aspects of the history of King’s College Library over the centuries. Below you will find some of the exhibits.

From the late sixteenth century until the current library opened in 1828, King’s Library occupied five of the side chapels on the south side of the famous Chapel. For most of this period it was a chained library. This book is one of a few to have survived with the original chains intact.

Pierre Bersuire, Dictionarii seu repertorii moralis
Venice: Gaspare Bindoni, 1589 (D.13.3)

Theatre was one of John Maynard Keynes’ particular areas of interest and his book collection includes many plays. He founded the Cambridge Arts Theatre in 1936. This is a reprint of the second quarto of Romeo and Juliet that was published in 1599. All modern editions are based on this version, which is considered to be the most complete and reliable text of the play.

William Shakespeare, The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedie, of Romeo and Juliet
London: Printed [by William Stansby] for John Smethwicke, [1622] (Keynes.C.6.4)

In 1638 Thomas Goad, a Kingsman and the son of Provost Roger Goad, who had been responsible for restoring the Library in the side chapels in King’s after a period of neglect, made provision in his will for the annual profit from some land he owned at Milton (near Cambridge) to be used in perpetuity to purchase divinity books for the Library. This was listed each year thereafter in the bursar’s account books as ‘Library Money’, and was spent on books and the upkeep of the bookcases and building.

Bursar’s book for 1697–98 (KCAR/4/1/4/106)

This is one of the books listed on the inventory of books bought in 1697–98: paid ‘to Mr. Bugg for his book’. In this case the book appears to have been bought directly from the author.

Francis Bugg, The Pilgrim’s Progress, from Quakerism, to Christianity
London: W. Kettleby, 1698 (D.13.3)

The volume below records donors of books to King’s College Library from about 1600 to about 1710, with details of the volumes they donated. On this page we see details of donations from three Provosts of King’s: Roger Goad, William Smith and Fogge Newton. The volume seems to have left King’s at some point in the 18th century, but was returned in 1784 as a note on the front flyleaf explains:

‘This book was given by the Revd Dr Farmer in 1784. He had found it at a Booksellers, & purchased it that it might be returned to the College. Wm Cooke’

Nomina eorum qu[i bibliothecam] Regalem sua munifice[ntia] locupletarunt [Donors’ Book]

Finally, three historic bindings from the Thackeray Collection:

TOP LEFT: Calf armorial binding with the arms of Percy Clinton Sydney Smythe, 6th Viscount Strangford (1780-1855) (Thackeray.141)
TOP RIGHT: 16th-century manuscript waste binding consisting of a contemporary vellum sheet (stab-sewn) featuring part of the Psalms in textura quadrata with initials illuminated in red and blue (Thackeray.182)
BOTTOM: 19th-century blue goat skin stamped in gold (Thackeray.136)


Something Fishy

Among the more curious items in the Keynes Bequest is a book entitled Vox Piscis; or, The Book-Fish; Contayning Three Treatises Which Were Found in the Belly of a Cod-Fish in Cambridge Market, on Midsummer Eve Last, Anno Domini 1626 (1627). The title says it all. The circumstances surrounding this catch are detailed in the preface of the book, where we are told that “a codfish being brought to the fish-market of Cambridge and there cut up, … in the depth of the mawe of the fish was found wrapped in a peice of canvase, a booke in decimo sexto, containing in it three treatises bound up in one” (p. 8). The preface was written by the clergyman Thomas Goad (1576-1638), who became a Fellow of King’s College in 1596. In his will, he bequeathed his land in Milton to the College, “to the intent that the whole yearlie profitt thereof bee faithfullie emploied yearlie for ever in divinitie bookes for the librarie”. Many of these books bear the inscription “Legavit Thomas Goad”.

Vox Piscis 1b

The voice of the fish: title page and frontispiece of Vox Piscis; or, The Book-Fish (Keynes.D.4.15). It is unclear how the book ended up in the fish’s stomach.

Joseph Mede (1586-1639), theologian and Fellow of Christ’s College, helped clean the bundle and decipher the content of the treatises. They were attributed to John Frith (1503-33), the Protestant reformer who was imprisoned in Oxford in a “darke cave, where salt-fish was then kept” (p. 19) and burned at the stake in London on 4 July 1533. Frith received his B.A. degree from King’s, so the book bears a close connection with the College. Incidentally, his tutor at Cambridge, Stephen Gardiner, later played a role in condemning him to death. That’s Cambridge supervisions for you. The Keynes Bequest has two other copies of Frith’s works: A Pistle to the Christen Reader (Antwerp, 1529) and A Boke Made by Iohn Fryth, Prysoner in the Tower of London (Antwerp, 1548), a reply to Sir Thomas More.

Vox Piscis 2b

The second plate of Vox Piscis, wanting in King’s College copy; this is from the copy in the Cambridge University Library.

If you think this already sounds like something out of Pinocchio, there is more to come. Inside the book is preserved a newspaper cutting with the date “Feb 10 1912” pencilled in by a former owner. The short article recounts how a pocket knife was found inside a silver hake by Thomas Hughes, a salesman at the Wholesale Fish Market in Manchester. It then describes the knife, “one of a superior quality” bearing the makers’ name on each blade, “Newman and Field”, before inviting the owner to come forward and have it returned to them.

Vox Piscis 3

“Knife found in a fish”: newspaper cutting preserved inside the book.

Carrying such items is now probably illegal following the introduction of the Offensive Weapons Act in 1996, but if a knife that matches this description has been missing from your kitchen for the last century, now may be a good time to claim it back.