My Colleague Dorothy Africa and I were reviewing some books in need of conservation treatment, and we happened upon this gem. The main volume is special enough: it’s a second edition of the First Part of the Institutes of the Lawes of England, by Sir Edward Coke – aka “Coke upon Littleton.” Published in London in 1629, our copy is heavily annotated, and was obviously well loved – and well worn – by its former owners.
But the fun does not stop there! Bound into the front of the volume is a thick sheaf of manuscript materials which were probably compiled by Thomas Littleton, Esq. (1824-1878) of Cornwall. Our nineteenth-century Littleton copied extracts from genealogical works and county histories, newspaper clippings, correspondence, indentures, and copies of wills by members of the Littleton family of Cornwall. Most striking of all is a magnificent large hand-colored genealogy of the Littleton family, written on vellum, of which only a portion is shown below. Today, this book invites a modern-day scholar to dig into it anew and bring Thomas Littleton the Younger’s historical research into the light of day.