On 16th October 1555, Bishop Hugh Latimer, one of the three Oxford martyrs, was burned at the stake for his Protestant beliefs during the reign of the Catholic Queen Mary I. His writings, however, live on. Not only were numerous editions of his sermons published during the reign of Mary’s Protestant successor Elizabeth I, but editions printed during Latimer’s lifetime have also survived.
The National Library of Wales was recently presented with a volume of Latimer’s sermons by Clive and Patricia Coleclough of Wrexham, in memory of Mr. Emrys Thomas of Caergwrle. The book had been in the possession of Mrs. Coleclough’s family for about a century, having been bought at a bookshop in Llanrwst; unfortunately the shop no longer exists, so how it came to Wales remains a mystery.
The volume consists of a sermon preached in London on 18th January 1548 and published that year, and another seven sermons preached before King Edward VI in 1549, again published that year; originally these were printed as three separate publications. The first sermon has the arms of the Duchess of Suffolk, to whom Latimer was chaplain, on the verso of the title page. The volume is in its original 16th-century binding, with a Tudor rose and crown and the letters WB on the covers, no doubt the initials of the owner who commissioned the binding.
This is the only known copy of this edition in Wales. It will now be preserved in our collections for future generations.
Rare Books Librarian