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Letter from Lord Romilly to Henry Sidgwick

Offering a photograph of a Greek manuscript of the Athanasian Creed in St Mark's Library, Venice to the College, with explanation of its source; copy of a letter by Rawdon Brown on 'the remaining seven photographs'.

Sidgwick, Henry (1838-1900), philosopher

W. Aldis Wright: Philological papers, etc.

This is a miscellaneous collection of letters, printed papers, and memoranda relating to a number of Wright’s philological and literary interests, including English dialects and the works of Shakespeare.

Wright, William Aldis (1831-1914), literary and biblical scholar

Letter from Carl Horstmann to W. Aldis Wright

10 Aldenham Street, St Pancras, London.—Professor Körting wishes to know which stanzas are contained in the fragment of the Chanson de Roland at Trinity (MS R.3.4), as he intends to publish a critical edition of the poem.



Dear Sir.

Professor Körting, of Münster, wishes me to give him information about a fragment of the old Anglonorman Chanson de Roland, contained in a Ms. of Trinity College Cambridge {1}. I only got his letter after I left Cambridge, and so I am not able to look after the Ms. myself. But, as I should like to comply with the wish of my friend, I take the liberty to ask you for the information required, as perhaps you know the Ms. of so important a poem in the library of your college—Mr. Körting cannot give the exact number of the Ms., nor can I find a Catalogue of the Mss. of Trin. Coll. here. I should feel much obliged to you if you would be so kind to tell me of which and of how many tirades or stanzas the fragment consists, compared with the text published by Müller or Kölbing {2}, and if you would copy just a few stanzas, especially the first and last of the fragment, so as to be able to form an adequate judgement of the age, language and dialect of the poem. Prof. Körting intends publishing a critical edition from the several Mss. known of this oldest frensh† poem and is in need of the information required; he would be very thankful indeed, if you could help him. I answered to his letter that I should apply to you, as the only means I knew of ascertaining what he wanted to know. I shall be in London till this day week.

Yours truly
Dr C Horstmann.

London | 10 Aldenham Street. | St. Pancras.


This letter must have been written during the period when Körting was at Münster, i.e. 1876-1892, and after the publication of Kölbing’s edition of the Chanson de Roland (see below). The sheet bears some notes in pencil by Aldis Wright.

{1} R.3.4, 15th c.

{2} Theodor Müller’s edition of the Oxford MS. of the Chanson de Roland (Bodleian Library, MS Digby 23, part 2) was published at Göttingen in 1863. Eugen Kölbing’s edition of the Venice IV MS. was published at Heilbronn in 1877.

† Sic.

Letter from Francis H. Groome to Robert H. Groome (incomplete?)

5 Argyle Park Terrace, (Edinburgh).—Gives the results of his investigations into Captain Ward.



5 Argyle Park Terrace

My dear Father,

Many thanks to you & Alice for your ballad-collecting labours. You seem to have found a perfect mine of wealth. Yesterday afternoon, being very wet, I devoted to trying to learn who Captain Ward was. I went over the Calendar of State Papers, Howell’s State Trials, & several other mighty works, but all in vain. Pirates there were in abundance, & ship despatched against them, & dozens of Wards, & Captains in their number—Captain Luke & Capt. Caesar Ward, both in the closing years of Elizabeth’s reign. At last I had recourse to Lowndes & other books on bibliography, & there I did learn that Andrew Barker wrote The Adventures of Captains Warde and Danseker, the famous Pyrates (Lond. 1609), on which Daborne based his tragedy The Christian turned Turke (Lond. 1612). Watt gives Wanseker for Danseker in his title of Barker’s book, as does Allibone; but they all agree in Danseker in the tragedy. I am writing without my notes, which I stupidly left behind me at the Philosophical Institute, but I am certain of the names & dates: Andrew Barker (1609) & Daborne (1612). So Ward I imagine flourished about 1608. Danseker looks like Danziger, ‘a native of Danzig’, but neither of him could I find anything. Who was Wake? There was a Sir Isaac Wake, an ambassador, but he could hardly be the man. Possi-bly he is due solely to exigencies of rhyme, Drake-Wake, like namby-pamby. And Lord Henerỳ? Is he Lord Howard of Effingham? I forgot to look up his Christian name. Neither Barker nor Daborne are in the Advocates. Perhaps you could get somebody at Cambridge to look them up.


Sent to Aldis Wright with Add. MS b. 74/8/1. The letter may be incomplete, as there is no concluding greeting or signature.

Letter from Robert H. Groome to W. Aldis Wright

Monk Soham Rectory, Wickham Market, Suffolk.—Returns Crowfoot’s letter, and comments on it. Is planning to print an old ballad, which he heard recited by a local labourer. Encloses a related letter from Frank. Has received some poems from FitzGerald.

(With an envelope.)



Monk Soham Rectory, Wickham Market, Suffolk
Nov. 14th 1877.

My dear Wright

Many thanks for sending me Crowfoots interesting letter {1}, which I return herewith.

I am afraid the “spinam agens” or “spine-ache” will not hold water; since I suppose that the word is formed from its primal nouns in “-agium” {2}, like so many of our Latinized Words.

But the analogy between it and Rickets is curious and possibly the solution.

Rickets commonly leave some malformation, especially humptiness, so that the Somersetshire word “Spinnick” is quite in keeping.

I am always interested with such hints as that about nets and net; but I dare not put too much weight upon them.

I think that the cry of Simon Peter has a deeper feeling than the mere distinction, which is drawn between a part, and a perfect, fulfilment of the command.

Yet I would not say this to my dear old friend; since every tentacle, which lays hold on a reverent mind has its great value—especially for him.

And now I want your help, si licet, on another point.

I have unearthed, as I believe, a veritable old ballad, taken down last week from the mouth of the reciter, an old labourer of this parish.

It will appear, most likely, in Suffolk N. and Q, and so it was sent to Frank, at Edinburgh, who is, as you may remember, Mr Editor. I told him my views, and he has tried to verify them; and now wants more light, as you will see by his letter {3}.

But has the Ballad been ever in print? Much, as regards the interest of re-printing it, turns on this?

It has the veritable go of an old Ballad about it.

Can you give any light, or find up some Ballad-monger who can?

Only if it is a find, we must have the first prize in our Suffolk N. and Q.

I have got several more songs from our Bard {4}; one very pretty, but for the most part of an ordinary type—of the Billy Taylor type {5} rather.

You will greatly oblige us by any kind help in the matter.

Yours sincerely
Robert H. Groome

But “O the Hobby-horse”. Will you be willing to write a note concerning “Spinnage” for us? If so, pray do.

[Direction on envelope:] W. Aldis Wright Esq: | Trinity College | Cambridge [Redirected to:] Jerusalem Chamber | Westminster | London


The envelope was postmarked at Cambridge on 15 Nov. 1877, and at London, E.C., on the same day. Two postage stamps have been peeled off.

{1} Add. MS b. 74/8/2.

{2} Closing inverted commas supplied.

{3} FitzGerald.

{4} Add. MS b. 74/8/3.

{5} Perhaps a reference to the translations of William Taylor of Norwich (1765-1836).

Letter from Thomas Colpitts to James Lambert(?)

Streatlam Castle, (Co. Durham).—Sends a payment for rent, and asks how they should go about recovering the debt owed by McLellan.

(The word ‘apurpose’ has been underlined.)



Rev[eren]d Sir

Agreeable to your acco[un]t sent me p[er] Mr Farrer I now inclose you a Dr[a]ft on Smith and Co for the last half year rent due to Trinity College at Lady day last £108:11:2. which you will please to acknowledge the Rece[ip]t of as soon as convenient. which will oblige

R[everen]d Sir
Your very ob[edien]t hum[b]l[e] Serv[an]t
Thomas Colpitts

Streatlam Castle.
Apr: 30. 1793.

PS. I sent your L[ette]r {1} to Mr Maclellan by apurpose {2} Messenger, who deliver’d it into his own hands. He return’d no answer to me, and I am afraid none to your self; as you w[oul]d have acquainted me with it. Shall be obliged to you for your advice, respecting our proceedings, to recover the money according to Law.

[Docketed:] Colpitts—desires Instructions how to proceed on Pensions | Ap. 30. 1793 | Ansd M.L. May 2.


This letter, which was evidently removed by Aldis Wright from the College archives, was probably directed to James Lambert, senior bursar of Trinity from 1789 to 1801. The missing letters of words abbreviated by superscript letters or special marks have been supplied in square brackets.

{1} MS ‘Lre’ with a tittle above.

{2} Underlined in red pencil, probably by Aldis Wright. Cf. Trinity Muniments, Box 39, Gainford, Nos. 59-60.

Letter from Basil R. Airy to W. Aldis Wright

St John’s Vicarage, Torquay.—Sends a notebook compiled by his father, containing Keysoe words and phrases and other material relating to that place. Is sending his second boy (Reginald) to ‘try for something’ at Trinity next week.

(Sent with a notebook containing Add. MS b. 74/5/13.)



St John’s Vicarage, Torquay.
Oct. 28. 1895.

Dear Mr Vice-Master,

I have not forgotten my promise to send you the Keysoe “words and phrases” collected by my father {1}.

I am sorry to find that they are not nearly as numerous as I supposed.

I might have copied them for you, there is in the note-book which contains them a short history of the endowment of Keysoe, &c, which may interest you, as also a map of the glebe and other farms at the end made with my father’s accustomed neatness & precision. There were a great many loose papers of note in the book, from which I conclude that my father intended to write a history of Keysoe. I have left a few there, which might be of interest—the various spellings, the inscription on the Font, and some of the early Views. Where the loose papers are, marks the place where the “words and phrases” begin.

Please use the book as you like, and if it is of any use to you, do not trouble to return it.

I am sending my second boy {2}, now at Westminster, to try for something at Trinity next week. I can’t say how earnest my wish is that he may obtain something. I have a great yearning that my line of the family shall go on at Trinity, but alas! I can’t afford to continue it, unless the boy gets something. He is the last chance. My other boy {3} failed to get anything at Cambridge (he was not good enough to try at Trinity) but got a good Exhibition at Exeter, Oxford; he is, I believe, the first of his family to deviate from Cambridge since Henry Airy (Ayray) was Provost of Queens in 1598. He was not a direct Ancestor, but a collateral of our ancestors.

With much regard, | believe me Yours very truly
Basil R: Airy


{1} William Airy, vicar of Keysoe, Beds., 1836-7.

{2} Reginald. He was admitted at Trinity as a sizar on 1 October the following year.

{3} William Shepley. He was elected to a college exhibition at Exeter College, Oxford, on 12 May 1894.

Letter from J. L. Wright to W. Aldis Wright

Grendon House, (Northants.).—Has found the plant known in his neighbourhood as ‘clench’ in Anne Pratt’s Wild Flowers, where it is called the corn crowfoot. Discusses its character.



Grendon House
Tuesday Evening

My dear Sir,

After a good search this evening I have found in the 1st volume of Wild Flowers by Anne Pratt {1}, what in this neighbourhood we call Clench, or Corn Crowfoot as it is described here, it is quite different to the Creeping Crowfoot which you often see land almost as it were tied together with when badly farmed, this roots very near the surface & is easily hoed up when young, it grows about a foot high & bears a small yellow flower about half the size of the Buttercup, but its most striking feature & one which you cannot mistake it by are its very large & prickly seed-vessels which succeed the flower, & which if allowed to ripen and shed in the land takes some years to get rid of, Lime just fresh from the kiln liberally applied is the best and cheapest remedy when land gets infested with it,

Believe me | yrs faithfully
J. L. Wright

W. Aldis Wright Esqre


The information in this letter was embodied in the following note by Aldis Wright printed in Notes and Queries on 12 Nov. 1887 (p. 387):

‘CLENCH.—A few weeks since I found this word in use at Grendon, Northamptonshire, to describe a common weed which is the especial enemy of the farmer. It is not mentioned in Miss Baker’s “Northamptonshire Glossary,” or in Britten and Holland’s “English Plant Names,” pub-lished by the English Dialect Society; but the kindness of a friend has enabled me to identify it with the corn crowfoot (Ranunculus arvensis of Linnæus), which is known by many opprobrious names.’

{1} First published by SPCK in two volumes, 1852-3, and frequently reprinted.

Letter from S. Wilton Rix to W. Aldis Wright

Beccles.—Responds to Wright’s article on the word ‘bouter’ in Notes and Queries, referring to domestic arrangements at his grandfather’s kitchen at Snettingham and his uncle's farmhouse at Redenhall.



2 July 1887

My dear doctor

I observe your “Bouter” note in N & Q {1}.

Are you sure that the word is “no longer used”?.

It appears, in divers shapes, (as I dare say you know as well as I do) in the dictionaries {2}.


Bolter—a sieve to separate meal from bran

Bolting-hutch }
Bunting-hutch } a chest or trough to sift meal in

Bolter—a sieve to separate meal from bran or husks or finer from coarser parts

Bolting-hutch—a tub[?] {3} for bolted flour.
Bolting-mill—a machine for sifting meal.
Bolting-tub—a tub to sift meal in.

A bolter I always understood was a common, if not essential, appendage to a corn-mill. In its domestic form it became a ‘hutch’—and its top might serve as a table. Hence, naturally enough, ‘bolter-table’, or bolter,—boulter—bouter in that sense.

In the scene described by Mr Crabbe I take the men stood in the scullery waiting till the female servants at the bouter had finished their repast, either for want of room or from motives of delicacy & politeness!.

I well remember the bolting hutch in my grandfather’s kitchen at Snettingham—where it was confined to its primary use. In my uncle’s farm house at ‘Pied bridge’, Redenhall, {4} the arrangements were more bucolic. Dinner was served in the spacious kitchen—for the family at a plain walnut-tree table in the centre, & for ye farm men on a long heavy oak table placed under a side window. This was about 1812.

I do not think the maid-servants dined with the men,—I sho[ul]d say, after them. [There follows a plan of the room in question.]

All this is merely an excuse for bothering you with a letter, because we are anxious to know—if you can spare five minutes to tell us—that your convalescence is complete or progressing quite satisfactorily,—your left thumb all right & prison fare no longer requisite.

Excuse bad writing.

Ever very truly yours
S. Wilton Rix

W. Aldis Wright Esq LLD.


Black-edged paper. The missing letters of a word abbreviated by a superscript letter have been supplied in square brackets.

{1} Notes and Queries, 2 July 1887, pp. 5-6. The note concerns a passage in the Life of Crabbe (cf. Everyman ed., pp. 137-8).

{2} The arrangement of the succeeding list has been adjusted slightly.

{3} The square brackets are in the MS.

{4} Comma supplied.

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