Mary Elizabeth Coleridge’s Handwritten Poetry Collection – December 2016


Note written by Lucy Violet Holdsworth to accompany Mary Coleridge’s handwritten collection of poems, later to be published as ‘Fancy’s Following’. (Miscellaneous Manuscripts 56)














Mary Elizabeth Coleridge was born on 23 September 1861, and she grew up surrounded by literary and artistic talent. She was the great-grand-niece of Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge and her family friends included Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Anthony Trollope, John Ruskin, and Robert Browning. During her lifetime, she became best known for her essays, reviews and her five published novels. These included ‘The King with Two Faces’ which she received the substantial sum of £900 for in 1897.

However, posthumously it is her poetry which has taken centre stage. Our first Treasure of the Month for 2017 is a fair copy of Mary Coleridge’s first poetry collection, ‘Fancy’s Following’, which was handwritten by the poet for her friend, Lucy Violet Holdsworth.


Page taken from Mary Coleridge’s handwritten collection of poems, later to be published as ‘Fancy’s Following’. (Miscellaneous Manuscripts. 56)






Page taken from Mary Coleridge’s handwritten collection of poems, later to be published as ‘Fancy’s Following’. (Miscellaneous Manuscripts. 56)

The copy was made before it was later issued privately by Daniel Press in 1896, and in fact, it was this small white book which led to the publication. Holdsworth’s cousin, Monica Bridges (nee. Waterhouse) was married to the Robert Seymour Bridges, Britain’s poet laureate from 1913 – 1930. Holdsworth planned for the book to be left out for Bridges to take notice and when he did, he asked to meet Mary to encourage her to publish her work. Coleridge agreed, but with the stipulation that it was published under the pseudonym ‘Anodos’ in order not to disgrace her family name by acknowledging she was the author. It wasn’t until four months after her death in 1907 that a book of two hundred and thirty-seven of her poems was finally published under her real name, and by that time, it proved so popular that it was reprinted four times in just six months.


The score for ‘The Blue Bird’, a poem by Mary Coleridge set to Music by Charles Villiers Stanford. (Stanford Collection, Op.119.3.)


‘A Blue Bird’, which appeared in ‘Fancy’s Following’, was one of eight of Mary Coleridge’s poems which was set to music by Charles Villiers Stanford. The score can be found in our Stanford (Charles Villiers) Collection, and you can listen to a performance of it below.

Education Outreach: Use your Loaf

A group of Year 9 (13-14 year old) students from Bedlingtonshire High School in Northumberland took part in a two day event inspired by a 17th century recipe from our Special Collections.  As part of this ‘Use Your Loaf’ project, they baked and sampled bread from a recipe that, as far as we know, had not been used in over 300 years!

Misc Manuscripts 17th C recipe

Misc Manuscripts 17th C recipe

Jane Lorraine’s recipe book, which was compiled between 1684-6, was adapted by the Food Technology students who transcribed the recipe for cake bread (similar to our modern day fruit loaf), interpreting the older spellings, letter formations, annotations and weights to create a recipe they could work with.

Next they visited the Chemistry Outreach Lab to gain an understanding of the science behind the chemical reaction of yeast and the impact that heat has on the effectiveness of yeast.

Students at NU

Students at NU

The following day they returned to have a go at baking both modern day bread and their newly discovered 17th century bread in NU Food – surprisingly finding more similarities than differences.  The students remarked that the 17th century bread was indeed edible (as Library staff who sampled the bread baked by the education outreach staff will testify – (in itself a miracle if anyone knows our baking abilities!).  They also did some food tasting and experienced the difference salt makes to the taste of bread before finding out about current University research on the benefits of various herbs and spices.

The primary purpose of the pilot was to work with the School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development and the School of Chemistry on an outreach project with a widening participation school, which showcased the potential and breadth of University education to students from families with limited experience of higher education.  One student remarked of the University that “it is a big interesting place” with many others commenting on how “it was different” and how they got to do “something we don’t usually do”, whilst a significant number remarked on how the visit made them more likely to consider applying to University.  One student summed it up succinctly when asked what they would change about the visit:  “nothing, it was brilliant”.

17th C bread

17th C bread

We hope to condense the pilot into a one day event which can be offered to other schools and to open up the project to other interested parties through the development of a libguide.  Hopefully, more forgotten recipes that have not been baked for centuries will be revisited and eaten again.

Jane Loraine’s Recipe Book – a more in-depth look – Oct 2011

Page 32 from Jane Lorraine's Recipe Book on how to make 'Carraway Cakes', 'Sugar Plait' and other recipes
Page 32 from Jane Lorraine’s Recipe Book on how to make ‘Carraway Cakes’, ‘Sugar Plait’ and other recipes (Miscellaneous Manuscripts, Misc. MSS. 5)

This additional treasure of the month has been provided by Catherine Alexander, a student in the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics, who has recently completed a summer research project based around a seventeenth-century recipe book, held in Special Collections.

This is a seventeenth century cook book manuscript, written by Jane Loraine, who lived in Northumberland. She is likely to have been the wife of Nicholas Loraine, son of Ambrose Loraine of Hartburn, and probably a member of the Fenwick family. The cook book is firmly rooted in Northumberland, and there are extensive records of the Loraine family in Kirkharle. Reference to individuals also demonstrates a local community; in this recipe Mrs Charleton’s surname locates her in Charlton, near Bellingham in North Tynedale. There are 67 recipes attributed to 41 individuals in this cook book, only 13 of whom are men.

Recipe: To maike mackrowns page 31
fol. 24V

25 Mackrowns Mrs Charletons       this
Take 4 new Laid eggs beat them a quarter of an houre in a glased earthen pot put to them ten spoun fulls of rose water beat it a quarter of an houre longer then put six spounfuls more of rose water beat it a quarter or an hour Longer then put one pound of lose sugar down weight finely beaten beat it halfe an houre Longer then put in halfe a pound of London flower beat it till it is well mixt butter your cofins deep in a good spounfull set them in as fast as you can let your oven be as hot as for white bread it must be A clay oven

The manuscript, in folio format, is 78 pages long and contains 665 recipes. The page numbering, added later, shows missing pages.

The annotation beside the recipe title: ‘this‘, shows use of the book and the selection process for the contents page.

Page 31 from Jane Lorraine's Recipe Book on how to make 'Macrowns'
Page 31 from Jane Lorraine’s Recipe Book on how to make ‘Macrowns’ (Miscellaneous Manuscripts, Misc. MSS. 5)

This manuscript is typical in its medical emphasis and over half of the recipes are medical, while only a quarter are culinary. These food recipes focus on cakes, creams and preserves, while the medical receipts cover a range of illnesses, focusing on common concerns such as consumption, and women’s health, particularly childbirth. There are also some recipes for beauty treatments and perfumes. Nine percent of the recipes represent the overlap between food and health, in the waters and wines which function as drinks as well as preventative medicines and cures.

Page 66 from Jane Lorraine's Recipe Book showing multiple recipes for a common cold or cough
Page 66 from Jane Lorraine’s Recipe Book showing multiple recipes for a common cold or cough (Miscellaneous Manuscripts, Misc. MSS. 5)

This hybridity has an impact on the domestic roles of women, as they commanded authority on medical as well as culinary issues.

Many parallels and similarities can be seen with other cook book manuscripts and printed texts at this time, and this manuscript is part of a widespread communication of ideas and advice. This genre was popular in the seventeenth century and gave women a literary voice.

Page 65 from Jane Lorraine's Recipe Book showing multiple recipes for a consumption
Page 65 from Jane Lorraine’s Recipe Book showing multiple recipes for a consumption (Miscellaneous Manuscripts, Misc. MSS. 5)

Collaboration is also typical within the recipe book format, and this can be seen through reference to individuals as well as in the six different handwritings identifiable in the text. The secretary hand which dominates 70% of the text can be associated with Jane Loraine, through the 13 signatures given. Many of these are dated between 1684-6.

See the full digitised version of Jane Loraine’s recipe book available on CollectionsCaptured.

Further information and transcriptions have been provided by the School of English and are available online.

Page from Opera chirurgica by John Arderne (c.1380) – May 2011

Page from Opera chirurgica showing marginalia illustrations and illuminated lettering
Page from Opera chirurgica (Pybus (Professor Frederick) Collection, Pybus, Pyb. C.v.5)

Pybus Collection: Pyb C.v.5

John Arderne (1307-1380) practised as a surgeon in Newark and London and earned himself great renown particularly for his medical works, written in Latin despite his lack of a university education. Arderne was typical of medical practitioners in the Fourteenth Century – embracing medical advances, pioneering new methods and referencing the likes of Hippocrates, Galen and Avicenna yet harking back to the Anglo-Saxons’ astrological approaches to medicine.

Page from Opera chirurgica showing marginalia illustrations
Page from Opera chirurgica showing marginalia illustrations (Pybus (Professor Frederick) Collection, Pybus, Pyb. C.v.5)

Arderne’s manuscripts were commonly illustrated, both to show techniques and remedies, and to aid the reader in navigating a potentially confusing text. This manuscript, written in Latin but including some passages in French near the beginning, has been illustrated with pictures of operations, instruments, plants, blazons, &c.

The manuscript was formerly part of the private collection of Professor Pybus (1883-1975) who donated his history of medicine books, engravings, portraits, busts, bleeding bowls and research notes to the University Library in 1965. The manuscript now bears his presentation bookplate but there is further evidence of provenance: it has been inscribed by W. Harrysson, Silvester Rowlestone, Sarah Ridall, Mary [Riddall?], Richard Pearson, Mster [sic] Rutter and Christopher Wainman.

Roughly contemporaneous with Arderne’ manuscripts, is Chaucer’ Canterbury Tales, the Prologue of which contains the following depiction of a physician grounded in astronomy, led by ancient classical texts, dressed in taffeta and silk, with a penchant for gold:

With us ther was a Doctour of Phisike;
In all this world ne was ther non him like
To speke of phisike and of surgerie,
For he was grounded in astronomie.
He kept his patient a ful gret del
In houres by his magike naturel:
Wel coude he fortunen the ascendant
Of his images for his patient.
    He knew the cause of every maladie,
Were it of cold, or hote, or moist, or drie,
And wher engendred, and of what humour:
He was a veray parfite practisour.
The cause yknowe, and of his harm the rote,
Anon he gave to the sike man his bote.
Ful redy hadde he his apothecaries
To send him dragges and his lettuaries,
For eche of hem made other for to winne:
His friendship n’s not newe to beginner.
Wewl knew he the old Esculapius,
And Dioscorides and eke Rufus,
Old Hippocras, Hali, and Gallien,
Serapion, Rafis, and Avicen,
Averrois, Damascene, and Constantin,
Bernard, and Gatisden, and Gilbertin.
Of his diete mesurable was he,
For it was of no superfluitee,
But of gret nourishing, and digestible:
His studie was but little on the Bible.
In sanguine and in perse he clad was alle
Lined with taffeta and with sendalle.
And yet he was but esy of dispence;
He kepte that he wan in the pestilence;
For gold in phisike is a cordial,
Therfore he loved gold in special.

Extract from The Poetical Works of Geoff. Chaucer …
(Edinburgh: At the Apollo Press by the Martins, 1782) Vol. 1.
(White (Robert) Collection W821.17 CHA)