Blomefield, Francis : The History of the City and County of Norwich, Containing it's Original Rise, and Increase, it's antient and present Government... the Foundation of the Cathedral...., a Description of the Streets, Walls, River, remarkable Houses, an


 

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, Printed at Fersfield, 1741, 1st Edition. Hardcover, Folio, [iv] 903 [1] + platespp. Contemporary blind panelled calf, double gilt ruled border to boards, boards a little rubbed, six raised bands on spine with contrasting spine label bearing gilt titles, joints cracked but boards firm on cords, some wear to edges and corners, short closed tear to ffep, title page printed in red and black, list of subscribers present, illustrated with 6 plates (of 8?) and a few engraved illustrations to text, plate facing p.479 with repaired tear just touching edge of image, wormtrack to lower margin of pp.851-858 not affecting text. ESTC T226404 and Upcott, p. 945-7

Francis Blomefield was born in Fersfield in 1705, becoming Rector there just twenty-four years later in 1729. The young Blomefield had begun collecting monumental inscriptions from churches he visited in Norfolk, Suffolk, and later Cambridgeshire in about 1719 and while at Caius College, Cambridge he started to keep genealogical and heraldic notes relating to local families and transcribed historical manuscripts in the library. After graduating he had intended writing a history of the antiquities of Cambridgeshire but his plans changed when, in 1732, he was given access to an enormous collection of materials relating to the history of Norfolk which had been amassed, before his death in 1729, by Peter Le Neve. Blomefield planned to use these materials as the basis of a county history, and issued proposals in June 1733 for 'An Essay towards a Topographical History of Norfolk', which recieved sufficient interest for Blomefield to proceed. Unable to find a printer locally and unwilling to use a London tradesman, Blomefield set up his own press in Fersfield in order to print the work. Blomefield seriously underestimated the scale of the work he had embarked upon. Originally planned as two quarto volumes to be published in monthly parts, by the time of his death sixteen years later, Blomefield had almost completed three large folio volumes, but had only covered 40 per cent of the county. This second volume, his 900 folio page history of Norwich, published between April 1741 and May 1745, represents his crowning achievement, and was the part with which he had least assistance. Only three UK institutional copies located (Birmingham University Library, Cambridge University Special collections & Norwich Cathedral). Upcott calls for 8 plates but this copy, like the Cambridge copy has just six, with the city plan and the monument of Bishop Hall in Heigham Church not present.

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