FROM THE LIBRARY OF THE COUNTESS OF HUNTINGDON’S CHAPLAIN

Parecbolae sive excerpta e corpore statutorum Universitatis Oxoniensis. Accedunt articuli religionis XXXIX in Ecclesia Anglicana recepti nec non juramenta fidelitatis et suprematus. In usum juventutis academicae.

Oxford, e theatro Sheldoniano, 1740.

8vo, pp. [24], viii, 232; woodcut of Sheldonian Theatre to title; closed tear (without loss) to 2B3, printed slip pasted over original text on p. 229; overall very good in contemporary sheep; upper joint split but holding firm, some wear to extremities and a little rubbing to boards; ‘E lib: Tho: Wills ex Aula Mag: Oxford’ inscribed in ink at head of title.

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Parecbolae sive excerpta e corpore statutorum Universitatis Oxoniensis. Accedunt articuli religionis XXXIX in Ecclesia Anglicana recepti nec non juramenta fidelitatis et suprematus. In usum juventutis academicae.

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Later edition of this essential student guide to the University of Oxford’s statutes, this copy formerly in the possession of the charismatic Cornish dissenting preacher Thomas Wills (1740–1802) when a student at Magdalen Hall.

First published in 1670, and regularly reissued thereafter, the Parecbolae covers, inter alia, matriculation, scholarships, lecturers, examinations for BA, MA, and in music, civil law, medicine, and theology, graduation, university governance, office holders (including the University’s printers), and the rules of the Bodleian library. It details numerous prohibitions to keep students on the straight and narrow: against leggings and long hair; against visiting the city’s brothels, pubs, and tobacco shops; and against gambling, hunting, playing football, breaking windows, getting into fights, and keeping weapons.

Provenance: Thomas Wills studied at Magdalen Hall between 1757 and 1760. In 1772 he met the religious leader Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon, marrying her favourite niece, preaching at the evangelical churches of her Connexion, and becoming her chaplain. ‘A large man with a deep voice and a majestic style, he excelled in outdoor preaching’ (ODNB). The chapel at Spa Fields, despite its capacity of seven thousand, became too small to hold the crowds that came to hear him: ‘people packed the aisles, crowded the pulpit, and spilled onto the road’ (ibid.). Though Wills later fell out with the Countess, he draped his pulpit in black for an entire month after her death.

ESTC T58687.

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