Bible and prayer book dating back to 1679 fetches nearly £2,000 at Fernhurst auction

A copy of The Book of Common Prayer dating back to 1679 fetched £1,700 at an auction in Fenhurst on January 23.

The book, which was printed just 17 years after the Church of England’s final revisions, was passed down through generations of the Marryat family, of Fenhurst, and featured several inscriptions related to past owners.

The book was printed in London by John Bill, Christopher Barker, Thomas Newcomb, and Henry Hills, Printers to the King’s most Excellent Majesty (Charles II), and came in an elaborate and decorative ‘cottage roof’ binding, complete with the original spine.

A bookplate for Joseph Marryat, with an accompanying Coat of Arms, adorns the inside cover, while highly decorative engravings illustrate the book. It also contained a copy of The Bible, The Complete Book of Psalms, and The Apocrypha.

It’s a really family heirloom, reflective of each individual generation of owners. In fact, a hand-inscribed page found among the Book of Psalms relates the story of the birth of one of the owner’s children. It starts with the words “My son John” on July 27 1701, who was baptised by a Mr Killinghall and registered in Ealing Parish, Middlesex, and continues with the birth of Margaret in 1702. Afterwards, the page details a “son born alive” who “expired soon after”, presumably in 1703, since the next birth is dated in 1704. This one is a son, William, also baptised by Mr Killinghall, but registered in Christ Church, Southwark, Surrey.

Another daughter, Miriam, arrived in 1705, while a final son, Shorter, followed in 1706.

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